In this day and age where time moves so quickly that it breaks the sound barrier, there are a few things we strive for both personally and professionally: productivity and efficiency.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a web developer, those two qualities reign supreme. No one likes to “waste time.” The older we get, the less room we make for silliness and play, and before we know it, we get to a place where we haven’t giggled at something for days on end. And when you think about it, that’s kind of sad!
We spend all this time working and increasing that ever-elusive sense of productivity to meet someone else’s goal: your boss’, your child’s, your spouse’s.
Eventually, you become one big ball of performance anxiety, stress, and pressure. But what if you just said, “screw it”? What if you took an hour out of your day to do or make something pointless? Well, that’s exactly what inventor Simone Giertz wants us to try.
Simone went viral a few years back when she posted a video of herself using a toothbrush helmet robot that she created. It doesn’t work. In fact, it’s pretty useless. But that robot changed her life.
Growing up, Simone was an excellent student who suffered from severe performance anxiety. She beat herself up for Bs on tests and dreaded class presentations because her hands would shake. At a certain point, the pressure she put on herself to achieve perfection started to weigh her down.
That’s when she fell in love with hardware and engineering. Finally, after living under the pressure of her own perfectionist thumb, she allowed herself to play. Since she posted that initial video three years ago, here are some of the hilarious, impressive, but totally pointless robots she’s built.
A car that doubles as a computer mouse.
A head-centric orbit machine.
A robot that serves soup.
A manicure machine.
She finds annoying everyday problems and comes up with solutions we all want but certainly don’t need. That’s what really set her free from her own expectations and the expectations of those around her.
Instead of buckling under the pressure of perfecting an idea that’d save the world, she created her own little niche, which turned into a path to self-discovery. At the end of that path was a job she wouldn’t trade for the world.
Her advice? Follow her lead and create something useless. Write a bit of code that no one will use because it solves a totally mundane problem. Make something messy with your kids that you’ll ultimately throw away. If you have the same engineering know-how that Simone does, make a dang robot.
The key is learning something about yourself on the way there. The point is having fun and bringing a little joy to someone else around you. It’s getting out from under the pressure of constant productivity to live freely for a second. It’s living in the moment without worrying about all the other moments of your day.
Learn more about Simone’s journey into useless robot-building that ended up being the furthest thing from pointless in her TED talk down below and share her wonderful message. Most importantly, go make something!