When I think of a Disneyland Solution, I think of how they do it at Disneyland. They don’t post a sign that says “Keep off the grass” or “don’t stand here”. Instead, they use clever bits of engineering to make it difficult or uncomfortable to do the undesired behavior. Accomplishes the same thing, but with a lot less friction. So, I’m always looking around in my life at ways to implement a Disneyland Solution to any problem.
There’s a joke that’s been sticking in my mind for days now and I think there’s a good reason. An elementary school was having some difficulty with their older girls. Some of them had recently started using lipstick and they liked to show off by leaving kiss prints on the bathroom mirror.
This caught on and pretty soon the mirror was nearly covered with lip prints every day. The principal made several efforts to make them stop, but nothing she did helped. The janitor told her he had an idea and to bring the whole group of girls into the bathroom. They get everyone in there and of course the mirror is all covered with lip prints.
The principal says “Girls, I just want you to see how much extra work you are creating for Mr. Johnson, the janitor. This is what he has to do to clean all this mess off the mirror.” Then the janitor takes a long handled brush, calmly dips it in the nearest toilet and begins scrubbing the mirror. They never had a single lip print on the mirror again.
This story, in it’s own yucky way is a very elegant solution to a problem. It creates a permanent solution to a long-standing problem with a minimum of effort.
I’ll share with you a couple of elegant solutions I have come up with in in my own life. When our middle son, Matt was a baby, he had a pacifier in his mouth ALL the time. It was driving my husband crazy, so we came up with our own “Disneyland Solution”. We gradually narrowed it down to just one pacifier. Then we took that last pacifier and fastened it around the neck of the biggest, bulkiest stuffed animal we could find. Then we just waited for him to get tired of lugging it around. In less than a week – problem solved!
Then, a few years later, we were worried about this same kid because he was having problems with his reading. Disneyland Solution: I went to the library, picked up a bunch of books I thought he would like. Then I casually dumped them in the backseat of the car with the following pronouncement “Don’t touch them, they’re your brother’s”. Problem solved! He nearly ripped the covers off in his haste to see what they were all about. The Disneyland Solution!
Think about all the pesky little problems we have in our lives. How can we come up with some “Disneyland Solutions” to solve some of these these problems? As Earl Nightingale says, “Ideas are our most valuable resource. They’re free, everyone has them and some of them are excellent.”
One of my big problems is running late in the morning, mainly because I like to get into the shower and zone out. So I came up with a Disneyland solution. A couple of them actually. To shorten my showers, I set a timer for 15 minutes (yes, that’s a SHORT shower for me!), then I set out a load of laundry. When the time goes off, one of the kids puts the laundry in the washer, which makes me want to get out of the shower FAST as the water turns really cold. I’ve been on time for work every day for about two weeks!
I also tend to waste time on the computer in the mornings. So I offered my son $1 for every time he catches me on the computer in the morning. I got that idea from our pastor. He was tired of yelling at his four kids, so he told them that every time he yelled at them, they got to fine him a dollar. Four kids and a pastor’s salary, that’s a good incentive! It’s silly, but it really works. It’s just a trigger to make you more aware of your daily behavior.
I actually use that one a lot. If the kids don’t make their bed, they have to pay a dollar – to their brother who has made it for them. Try it, it works!
Let’s hear some of your Disneyland Solutions!