Sky’s the limit when toying with the future

Most people like to pick up interesting gadgets and gifts from their travels. I tend to go overboard.
Once I carried two 15-pound, vine-ripened watermelons, another time a dozen delicious fresh pineapples, through airports ’til my arms felt stretched to the floor.
My take-home items since then are lighter.
Recently, I brought back a plastic water bottle full of clear liquid–want to guess? It has dark gray stuff at the bottom–guess again.
If you recognized the writing on the bottle as Hebrew, what would you think it is? If I asked you to taste it, but only a tiny bit, would you do it?
I tried this with quite a number of people. We had fun and did some guessing about risk-taking, leader-follower behaviours, and creativity.
Many children are cautious about tasting things they expect to dislike. That’s probably good. But when I told my young friends it would taste terrible, they took it as a dare and responded courageously.
After their own experience, they watched with glee as their adult family members “took the test” reluctantly.
I also tried it with middle management groups in several client companies. Quite a few said “No thanks”–not much risk-taking there!
I even tried it with a group on a leadership seminar. They were extremely cautious at first but eventually 50 percent tasted it. The pattern was No-no-no-no-yes (someone who had tried it previously but didn’t tell) and then yes-yes-yes-no-yes.
Does that suggest more following than leading? I think so.
For fun and to stimulate creativity, I gave it to a group and asked them to come up with 10 money-making uses in a limited time. That went from pouring out the content and turning the bottle into a decorative sculpture, through precipitating the liquid and making food supplements from the rest, to mixing up the contents and adding hot peppers for the ultimate spice bomb taco dip.
After all that, what is it?
Dead Sea water. It really does taste extreme–very strong, not just salty. It contains lots of minerals. In Israel, this is a lucrative resource for cosmetics, industrial extraction/application, and spas.
The dark stuff at the bottom is black mud that makes great body masks. It smoothes and heals the skin.
Nothing lives in the Dead Sea so the water is safe though awful to taste.
I brought it with me to get it analyzed. Who knows–maybe someone could simulate it and make a mint with it in Northwestern Ontario. We have many beautiful spots, fresh air, and other prerequisites for people to de-stress and rejuvenate themselves in a spa or resort.
We just don’t have the population volume here to make that pay off–yet.
This column usually addresses what people can do to create positive futures. Risk-taking, leadership, creativity, speculation, and playfulness are useful qualifies for getting there–in big and small ways.

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