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The Power of Resourcefulness: A Guide to Peeing in the Shower

in Do What You Love, Money Basics

There’s a viral television ad campaign going on in Brazil right now.  It’s the brainchild of SOS Mata Atlantica, a non-profit organization with the mission of preserving Brazil’s amazing rainforests.

Here’s the gist:  Pee in the Shower…  Save the Atlantic Rainforest. No really, they even broke down the numbers (1,157 gallons/year for each household).

But they weren’t content on just throwing that unique message out there.  They’re apparently utilizing multiple mediums to drill the message home, including a cartoon television ad.  They’ve managed to take something relatively boring (preserving water) and spin it into something that has garnered world-wide attention.

Although the video below is in Portuguese, no translation is needed to see the ingenuity here:

After watching the video for the first time, one word came to mind:  Resourcefulness.

They found a topic that was just a tad taboo, but not completely tasteless.  They mixed in a couple pop culture references to make it memorable.  Lastly, they combined the cartoon-medium and child narration to broaden the appeal to younger generations, while at the same time driving home the ultimate message to the adults (preservation for future generations).

It’s so good, I actually just got done peeing in the shower for fun.

All kidding aside, the ad-campaign inspired me to take a reflective look at the power of resourcefulness in all areas of my life.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized the impact that it had on nearly every aspect of my finances.

For example:

  • Resourcefulness is an irresistible quality for potential employers. In fact, it’s the number one trait I tried to emphasize when I was job-hunting AND the number one trait I looked for when I’ve had to hire someone.  It’s just this sort of resourcefulness that enabled Courtney to obtain an on-the-spot job offer at much-desired school here in New Zealand.  (And we’re both maxing out all of our resources in order to try and obtain a visa in time to take the offer)!
  • Resourcefulness is absolutely essential for survival of the self-employed.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask any entrepreneur or freelancer you know.  It’s one of the few common traits in nearly every single self-made success story.  My definition of the word entrepreneur is “one who when confronted with a problem, can not only find a solution, but deliver measurable value in the process.”  That’s the very essence of resourcefulness.
  • Resourcefulness fosters a “repair before replace” mentality.  You know the type of people.  The ones who can fix anything with a roll of duct tape, a small section of pvc pipe, and half a pack of dental floss.  I’m not one of them… I suck at that stuff.  But I’m constantly admiring those that are committed to increasing self-sufficiency.    Although at times it’s better to replace, the key is to rewire yourself so that repairing is default.  This will save you a ton of money in the long-run (and build your resourcefulness even further).
  • Resourcefulness is a bargain hunters best friend.  You don’t have to spend every Saturday at garage sales and flea markets to benefit from this.  The skills I’ve built while constantly hunting for bargain airfare and lodging will pay dividends for the rest of my life.  With the immense amount of information that’s available on the internet today, developing the ability to shift through the noise and find the underlying value has never been more important.
  • Resourcefulness is fundamental to successful negotiating.   The best negotiators are able to size up both sides of a given situation and piece together the real desires of each party.  They’re able to brainstorm unique solutions and present them in a way that emphasizes the mutual benefits while minimizing each sides compromises.  The more resourceful I’ve become, the more comfortable I’ve felt when entering into the negotiating process.

The bottom line is this:

Resourcefulness unlocks opportunities that otherwise would cease to exist.

That’s really the underlying commonality that links all the above examples together.  It’s worked wonders for the non-profit above.  Heck, it’s worked wonders in my own financial life.  But I know the impact doesn’t just stop there…

How about you?  What role has resourcefulness played in your life? What other examples can you think of where it has a profound effect on your finances?  Do you pee in the shower?  Let everyone know by leaving your comment below!

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

ChristianPF August 6, 2009 at 8:34 AM

I saw this crazy video the other day and I couldn’t believe it! It amazes me how different cultures around the world are – you would never see this running in the US!
.-= ChristianPF´s last blog ..Make money writing for Hubpages =-.

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Kosmo @ The Casual Observer August 6, 2009 at 8:42 AM

I’m a team coordinator for an IT team at a large corporation. From time to time, I interview candidates to join the team. Problem solving (resourcefulness) is the number one skill I look for. In my experience, it’s easier to take a resourceful person and teach them the particular technical skills than to take someone with the technical skills and teach them resourcefullness. Also, resourcefulness is a persistent skill, whereas programming skills needs to be constantly retooled, anyway.

I hereby declare the first day of the fourth month of the year to be International Pee in the Shower Day.
.-= Kosmo @ The Casual Observer´s last blog ..Beginner’s Guide to Fiction Writing =-.

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Baker August 6, 2009 at 9:20 AM

Yeah, we are on the exact same lines with the employment/hiring situation. I agree completely.

Everyday is international pee in the shower day in New Zealand! It’s a sport, here.

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Kevin M August 6, 2009 at 10:58 AM

I’ll admit it…I pee in the shower….who knew I was helping to save the planet too? Bonus.

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Baker August 6, 2009 at 11:00 AM

Saving the Brazilian Rainforest, actually!

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Wojciech August 6, 2009 at 12:10 PM

Okay, so I pointed this out on Twitter the other day, but I’m a numbers guy, so obviously I went at this (interesting) ad campaign with an analytical mindset.

A standard showerhead will use 5 to 8 gallons per minute of water. Low-flow heads can restrict that to about 1-2 gallons per minute.

Let’s say you’re quick – 30 seconds is a pretty good time window for getting it all out there. Let’s also assume that you’re not doing anything else while you pee (logistically, that’s just odd and dare I say – dangerous and potentially gross).

So while you pee, you’re using up somewhere between 1/2 and 4 gallons of water.

What happens if you just use the toilet like we have been for years? About 1.6 gallons used in the U.S.

So it may not only be not worth the effort, it can actually be counter-productive!

All right, so I know this post wasn’t about peeing in the shower (or was it?) but I thought I’d just throw that in there.

Being resourceful is an awesome trait for all the reasons you describe! I’m sure you’re getting plenty of practice as you move around down under. :)
.-= Wojciech´s last blog ..Is Cash Dead? 10 Places You’ll Still Need It =-.

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Baker August 11, 2009 at 9:34 PM

You lost me at “low-flow heads”… just kidding! I have to admit I didn’t really run the numbers. The only thing I would say is that they’re assuming that you DO have some downtime in the shower. A.K.A. it’s not a military style in-and-out shower.

However, maybe they should be campaign for quick, efficient showers instead of peeing in them. I’m not sure the cartoon would be as catchy ;-0!

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Rob O. August 13, 2009 at 10:34 AM

“Let’s also assume that you’re not doing anything else while you pee…”

On the contrary – this is a multitasking opportunity at its finest and most efficient!

Ok, ok, maybe it’s a bit gross, but ya hafta admit that it’s better than peeing in the bath…
.-= Rob O.´s last blog ..Living On the Edge =-.

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Wojciech @ Fiscal Fizzle August 13, 2009 at 7:15 PM

Yes, I will admit that it’s better than peeing in the bath. I think most things would be …. LOL :)
.-= Wojciech @ Fiscal Fizzle´s last blog ..The Foolproof Method for Responsible Credit Card Use =-.

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Frank Fitton August 6, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Kudos to these guys!

Resourcefulness to the utmost. Its definitely something that needs to be incorporated into all mediums. This post really has me thinking of ways to apply this to everything I do.
.-= Frank Fitton´s last blog ..Peer to Peer Lending Provides Nice Alternative to Banks =-.

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MoneyEnergy August 6, 2009 at 4:22 PM

If the numbers really do “wash out”:), then peeing in the shower (just peeing!) could indeed save money, time and water once the stigma of the idea itself was lost. But I’d want to see more numbers data (even though we all know how creatively statistics can be manipulated) just to have a better idea. Hopefully the world won’t think “OMG, peeing in the shower = Brazilians” – it could have been anyone’s idea; it’s just that they’re marketing it first. Besides, they’ve got the goods the rest of the world needs, so maybe the world should listen:) – ok, enough of a ramble!:) Great post.
.-= MoneyEnergy´s last blog ..Still A Good Time for Canadians To Purchase US Dollars While The Loonie Is High =-.

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Jessica Griffin August 7, 2009 at 6:31 AM

You are absolutely right about the add. When i first read your post the very idea of it made me uncomfortable. But the way it conveys the actual message has been done in a very innovative manner.

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Torrey August 7, 2009 at 1:52 PM

This is a brilliant article. My father in law is a guy who can do just about anything. Being resourceful can help your personal life (paying off debt with limited income) and in the businessworld.
.-= Torrey´s last blog ..The Art of Giving: How to Do It And Better Yourself in the Process =-.

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Baker August 11, 2009 at 9:32 PM

Thanks, Torrey. I agree… the applications of this trait are just so versatile!

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The Baglady August 7, 2009 at 7:55 PM

Hi Adam,

Peeing in the shower a couple times is okay, but you gotta make sure you clean it. My super cheap ex that I wrote about in my blog did this. His story is here: http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2007/09/18/my-super-cheap-ex-boyfriend/

The problem was that he didn’t really clean his tub, and the urea or something built up and then a pink moldy film developed. That’s just nasty.
.-= The Baglady´s last blog ..Why not promote new home sales by burning down old homes? =-.

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Early Retirement Extreme August 9, 2009 at 12:36 AM

People! Go pee on your compost pile instead. It’s concentrated nitrogen, so it speeds up the decomposition.
.-= Early Retirement Extreme´s last blog ..Highlander and the lattice work of mental models =-.

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Baker August 11, 2009 at 9:30 PM

Saves water and tastes good! ;-)

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Dave August 9, 2009 at 2:04 AM

HAHAHAHA!!! I have heard this many a times. I guess I will start implementing. Thanks for the tie in to resourcefulness. Great point…

Dave
LifeExcursion
.-= Dave´s last blog ..Enjoying FREE =-.

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Chase August 9, 2009 at 10:20 AM

this is great. I’ll admit, I was worried when you brought up the duct tape, cause I’m totally not one of those guys either. Working on my resourcefulness in other areas.
Good words.
.-= Chase´s last blog ..Eleven Resolutions to Seeing Wonder in the Ordinary =-.

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J.N.Urbanski August 11, 2009 at 10:38 AM

That’s it: I’m peeing in the shower from now on. Allegedly, it also helps with athlete’s foot too.
This is a great post, thanks. I’ve had to be resourceful because I don’t have a degree, but still made it to NYC from London and now have my own business. I’m new to this blog, but look forward to reading about your NZ pursuits.
.-= J.N.Urbanski´s last blog ..Chicks & Ammo =-.

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Baker August 11, 2009 at 9:29 PM

I love it! A small business owner and international traveler… sounds like we could have some great conversations!

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Millionaire Mommy Next Door (Jen) August 11, 2009 at 6:33 PM

Wow, creative way to address resourcefulness!

Frugality is the art of resourcefulness, I think. Wear it out, use it up, repurpose it! Take my t-shirts for example:
1. Get them free as promo giveaways.
2. When they’re new, bright and clean, wear them on casual days.
3. As they fade from frequent washings, wear them in the garden.
4. Launder a few months more and they get super-comfy-soft (and maybe a wee-bit see-through). Now turn them into cozy sleep shirts.
5. Once your spouse starts poking fun at your sleep shirt, it’s time to cut it into squares and use as lint-free cleaning rags. Use the rags to clean your tub (after peeing in it, of course).
.-= Millionaire Mommy Next Door (Jen)´s last blog ..How to Make a Million Dollars While Eating Lunch =-.

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Baker August 11, 2009 at 9:29 PM

That’s exactly the type of resourcefulness I’m talking about! You sound like you’ve done this sort of thing before ;-). Great stuff!

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Paula August 13, 2009 at 9:03 AM

Well…I’ve only peed in the shower a couple of times in my life but I’ll consider it more frequently now! :) Seriously, being resourceful is such an important skill. I learned a lot about resourcefulness (and persistence) while trying to refinance my house and get a grip on my finances. It’s a great attitude to bring to almost any situation. Thanks for a great post!
.-= Paula´s last blog ..Seven Easy Tips for Weight Control =-.

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Bill August 13, 2009 at 1:03 PM

I’ll admit I pee on my compost pile.

How does not flushing/using less water save a river? The water flows by, you take it out and use it, it goes into the sewer and is cleaned and returned to a river. There is no loss. The same amount of water would have just flowed on by.

Saving water is all relative. If you get your water from slowly refilling aquifer then it is very important. If it’s a river and the river is not in drought it means very little.

Saving water is also very localized. My saving water in Oregon will not help the people in Atlanta with their drought.

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steve in w ma August 19, 2009 at 1:46 PM

@ “In my experience, it’s easier to take a resourceful person and teach them the particular technical skills than to take someone with the technical skills and teach them resourcefullness. Also, resourcefulness is a persistent skill, whereas programming skills needs to be constantly retooled, anyway.”

You *cannot* “teach” resourcefulness to an adult who does not already possess it. However, what you can do is encourage persistence. Resourcefulness is partly the belief that you can solve something, and partly the result of simple persistence in staying with an issue long enough for a number of potential solutions or options to become apparent. If you double the time you allow yourself to dwell and tinker on a problem you will likely triple or quadruple the number of options you see. Out of all those options, you can pick one that seems the best bet and proceed.

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steve in w ma August 19, 2009 at 1:51 PM

@ “You lost me at “low-flow heads”… just kidding! I have to admit I didn’t really run the numbers. The only thing I would say is that they’re assuming that you DO have some downtime in the shower. A.K.A. it’s not a military style in-and-out shower.”

pee in the shower before you start the water. Then take your efficient shower and it washes all the pee down the drain.

if you’re a guy, leave a 1.5 l water bottle by the toilet and use that to pee in instead of the toilet. Reserve toilet for #2. Then pour bottle into toilet and flush.

That will cut your total toilet flushes by three at least.

–someone with experience

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ding dong August 20, 2009 at 4:01 PM

Ahh… The old trucker bottle. Then you put it in a Super Soaker and have a squirt gun fight with the pesky little neighbor kids.

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Steve August 30, 2009 at 9:06 PM

“It’s all pipes!” – George Costanza

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Robert September 18, 2009 at 3:16 PM

With a title like this, how could I not click on the link?

“It’s all pipes what’s the difference?!”
.-= Robert´s last blog ..Is Being a Germophobe Really Such a Bad Thing? =-.

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