Duct Tape

When something breaks, duct taping it back together is the easy way out. The end result is worse than it was originally, though at least it's functional again.

But if you duct tape and patch over everything that breaks, you'll be left with a world of half-fixes that are liable to come apart.

Alternatively, you can find the right kind of glue (or thread, or screw...) and mend the object in a way that attempts to restore it to its original condition, hiding the damage as best you can. This approach sets you up for the long term, if you can put in the effort today.

And then there's Kintsugi.

Kintsugi is the Japanese concept of making pottery better in the process of repairing it.

By letting the history of the item's damage and repair shine through – literally, by mixing valuable metal into your adhesive – you're left with an object that has a beautiful story to tell:

A blue pottery bowl with gold flowers and gold seams where it was repaired
Ruthann Hurwitz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You've probably guessed the metaphor by now: This concept applies to much more than just physical goods.

Every time something cracks – a mug, a plan, a relationship – we have an opportunity to make it better.

See also: Wrong Notes

Subscribe

Weekly thoughts on creating systems to sustainably grow your impact on the world.
Email address
Subscribe