Many people don’t use toilet paper. For some, it’s a cultural thing. For others, it’s economics. As a matter of fact, more than four billion people don’t use toilet paper.
Many people in Asia, Africa, and even in Europe don’t particularly like toilet paper. For some of them using toilet paper is downright disgusting.
In Japan, people prefer to use the bidets in their toilets as the means to cleanse themselves. In other countries, they wash themselves with water after they finish. Using toilet paper to many people is not sanitary.
Some people, however, just can’t afford toilet paper or it isn’t simply available. Aside from being poor, some live in rural isolated areas not readily reachable by toilet paper marketers. Some also make do with very rustic restroom facilities that don’t make it really feasible to use toilet paper.
The earliest use of paper for cleaning after oneself at a toilet traces back to China in 589 AD. Widespread use in succeeding Chinese dynasties followed, notably among wealthier people. Many people, however, also preferred alternatives such as water, cloth, or leaves to cleanse themselves. Paper was just one of many popular means after toilet use.
It was in the 19th century that Joseph Gayetty invented and introduced the commercial toilet paper which many of us are familiar with today. Today, more than seven (7) billion rolls of toilet paper are sold yearly in the United States alone. For those of us who have grown accustomed to it, toilet paper has become an item we can’t imagine living without.
When we face facts that don’t agree with our mindsets, we either respond or withdraw. We all have our beliefs and when we face facts that go against them, we feel forced to respond. Many times we’d rather not confront those facts, choosing instead to remain in our comfort zones.
We all have comfort zones. Comfort zones are situations where we feel in control and secure with whatever beliefs and values we have.
Comfort zones can manifest themselves physically such as in the dens or bedrooms of our residences where family members find privacy or in associations such as church communities where individual members feel belonged and faithful to a common deity.
Comfort zones are more of states of mind than something physical; the physical being more of a reinforcement of what we want to think and believe. They are where we find realities in alignment with our beliefs. They are our heavens on earth.
When we are in our comfort zones, the last thing we want is something challenging its justification to exist. We call such things disruptions, which can range from the mere annoyance to a tidal wave of opposing views.
A fact that more than half the world’s population does not use toilet paper disrupts the comfort zones of those who do. Many toilet paper users may laugh at the fact and forget about it, but for some who have travelled to places where toilet paper is not readily visible, it can be a jolt.
People who have used toilet paper all their lives wouldn’t readily welcome the idea of not using it wherever they may be. Never mind what other people say that it isn’t sanitary or that it is getting more expensive or unavailable to buy, the toilet paper advocates have always used it and they can’t do without it.
How we respond to disruptions to our comfort zones determines how we lead our lives and what we can expect in return.
We either elude or fight for our comfort zones. For instance, if we travelled to a country where toilet paper isn’t popular (and where the toilets may be nothing more than a hole in the ground), we either surrender to the situation and do what the local people are doing or we push back and insist that the item be made available no matter what the cost. Either option can be stressful which is what happens when we experience disruption to our comfort zones.
As much as possible, we rather not like to leave our comfort zones. But for those who do, there are advantages, one of which is the thrill of discovery of and insight into new ideas.
The cleansing habits of the Japanese, for example, have provided many visitors to their country a perspective into their sanitary routines. Most Japanese practice cleanliness and organisation at a very high standard. Many have learned the benefits of Japanese housekeeping.
For the courageous among us who immerse themselves in the rural corners of the world where toilet paper is unavailable and unaffordable, we can come to appreciate the challenges of logistics in bringing basic commodities productively to far-flung places and the untapped markets of consumers willing to avail of them.
We don’t have to abandon our comfort zones to become successful people; we just have to at least understand what it’s like from another one’s point of view. It does require stepping out of our comfort zones but in return we may learn something new that we could cultivate for own benefit.
There will always be disruptions; it’s just a matter of how we respond to them.