What Would MacGyver Do?

Our guest blog this week comes from our physio friend Cinema, who has a pretty great blog of their own, cinemasays.wordpress.com, one of the 21 physical therapy blogs we think you should be reading. Catch up with them on Twitter @Cinema_Air. Thanks for this post!

MacGyver has been an icon of resourcefulness ever since he first hit TV decades ago. While we may not be able to cobble together lifesaving devices using toothpicks and chewing gum, there are some worthwhile lessons to be learned from Angus (can you believe MacGyver’s first name is Angus?? Me neither…). Let’s look at 2 filters of MacGyver wisdom; the first one is from a company that makes soap: Method.

Method grew from “a very dirty San Francisco flat” into a very successful brand and company. Their mascot was, and still is, MacGyver. “What Would MacGyver Do?” is one of their core values. Here’s how they described it:

This fresh perspective has served us well. No matter how large we grow, this value reminds us to embrace the scrappy attitude and irreverence that got us where we are. This value is about resourcefulness, knocking on the big door, and punching above your weight. After all, part of what has always defined us is our ability to outmaneuver major competitors despite having just a fraction of their manpower and infrastructure.

Also from Method:

How we treat each other to bring this value…

bring solutions

be resourceful

“can do/will do”

what do you think?

knock on the big door

The 2nd filter of MacGyver wisdom comes from the creator of MacGyver: Lee Zlotoff. His 3 lessons are universally applicable and can be distilled directly from the television series:

1. “Avoid conflict because conflict more often than not just leads to more conflict and doesn’t necessarily resolve the problem.” MacGyver never used a gun (which forced him to be very resourceful). He also managed to save the day without creating enemies or causing new ones.

2. “How can we make what we have what we need?” This one is also about resourcefulness mixed with the added bonus of sustainability. Not only does MacGyver manage to fashion devices that save the day, but he also makes these things out of materials available right in front of him! He turns what he has into what he needs to get the job done. Is there a better definition of resourcefulness??

3. “Humor & Humility” When trying to solve some of the most difficult problems, it helps to have a dose of humor (who doesn’t enjoy a good laugh? It might even provide a solution!) & humility. Overconfidence and extreme certainty could easily get you into uncomfortable situations facing undesirable outcomes – humility could just be your lifeline to sunshine. Coach Rick Pitino said it best:

Humility is the true key to success. Successful people lose their way at times. They often embrace and overindulge from the fruits of success. Humility halts this arrogance and self-indulging trap. Humble people share the credit and wealth, remaining focused and hungry to continue the journey of success.

MacGyver’s lessons apply across the board to individuals as well as companies and organizations. The next time you’re in a bind with limited resources, ask yourself:

What would MacGyver do?



The Unmistakable Creative Podcast – Lee Zlotoff

The Method Method: seven obsessions that helped our scrappy start-up turn an industry upside down


The boundaries of the unthinkable are exceptionally elastic.