Embrace Inconvenience

posted in: Uncategorized | 15

March 7th, 2012


During the early 1990s, people were crazed about two things: grunge music and coffee. Now this isn’t something I’ve thoroughly researched, but I imagine even the folks at the University of Cambridge felt this way at least about coffee. You see, the researchers in the computer laboratories had a dilemma, or rather an inconvenience. There was one kitchen, and as you’d guess, only one pot of coffee. In a seven story building, this could cost a great deal of time and energy just to check to see if the coffee is ready. (And think of all the stairs!)


Because the sole coffee pot had to fuel the bellies of many hardworking academics, it had to always be available, hot and fresh and full. So before even the birth of the Internet, these crafty magicians wired up and created the first webcam. Yes, that’s right. The first webcam was created out of an inconvenience for coffee.


We must be inconvenienced in order to find out what is a neccessity, which is why the wise folks say that necessity is the mother of all invention. We create greatness when we embrace inconvenience.


G. K. Chesterton explains that an inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. So, create an adventure. Embrace inconvenience. Or in the very least you just may create something we all now need.


Sources: 1, 2, 3

15 Responses

  1. Love that GK Chesterton quote. I’m forced to take a hard look at times in my life when I quit too early because it was inconvenient for me. Tyler over at Advanced Riskology said something along the same lines when he talked about adventure not being something you can look at from a distance without getting your hands dirty, like group adventure trips. Great post! You got me thinking of what my next adventure needs to be and how I can learn from it!

  2. Thanks for the ultra fast comment there Adam! It blows my mind to think the Internet is what, some 20 years old? This is our time to embrace inconvenience and figure out what it is we ought to create!

  3. I feel like in every job I have had this is what happens in the work place. We will do whatever it takes to make our lives simpler and sometimes we will even cut corners to do it. Every once in awhile something genius comes out of it.

    At my old job (you may remember), I was inconvenienced by having to open a million tabs to find out certain information. A couple of us came together and we created a database where we could find all the information we needed on one page. Now it’ simple and we are no longer inconvenienced.

    I like this clever post. Always pulling out the wisdom in a sneaky way.

    • Meg, too bad even with that innovation no one seems to care… Sometimes the inconvenience is what people want. For us, we are better off with our escape!

  4. Hey,
    I’ve just read an article about employees that come up with all the creative ways to avoid doing the job they are paid for.
    Maybe one coffee maker and lot’s of stairs is a perfect strategy kill time at boring job. Maybe the solution was not needed in the first place.

    • Derek, now you’re on to something. Perhaps employers would be better suited paying everyone by project rather than by hour. We may see a rise in productivity too.

  5. that’s brilliant!! i love it!
    it also somewhat reminds me of a fact i retained from college.. that the first thing ever that you could order online was….
    imagine a group of tech geeks all sitting around in front of their computers and deciding they wanted to order pizza.. so they made it technically possible. i LOVE it 😀

  6. […] Embrace Inconvenience – A great quote from G.K. Chesterton and a great point about inconveniences leading to bigger, better things. […]

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  8. David,
    well said. “Embrace the inconvenience”. Here in France we can’t seem to find a few creature comforts of home. It’s put us in quite a pickle. Simple things like cheddar cheese, good deodorant and baking powder are all hard things to find. The inconvenience of it all has forced us not to create although i almost tried to make my own deodorant, but to overcome and adapt which i suppose is the next best thing to inventing something 😉

    • Annie, you have my interest on the create your own deodorant. I am curious about this challenge…

  9. I like the way you say embrace the inconvenience.

    It’s a paradox, just like how constraints free you up.

    • In a strange way, sometimes parameters create more freedoms. Inconvenience can too.

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