What a great comment:”The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” It is quite true, of course because those people who don’t think they can have any impact, simply don’t try.
This is true on so many levels. Within your own workplace for example. Were you once the one who was full of great ideas, who wanted to change things and really make a difference? Have you since been gradually worn down by the system and had all of that wonderful enthusiasm ground out of you?
Well, it probably has happened to us all at some time or other. But, do you know something? You can make a difference, right where you are and in whatever line of business you are presently engaged. As I often say to people at my workshops, you can still be an effective person even within an ineffective organisation and, if you hold on to your vision for a brighter future and you just keep chipping away, you can change things.
But it all begins with your own personal belief of what may be possible. You have to first believe you can change things. So how can you even begin when you may think that things are hopeless. Well, perhaps we may be able to take some encouragement from ordinary people who achieved extraordinary things.
It is amazing what ordinary people can achieve …
- Norman Ernest Borlaug (a poor farmer’s son who founded the Green Revolution and saved many millions of lives)
- Girolamo Cardano (a gambler who’s ideas are now the basis of marketing, insurance, weather forecasting, etc.)
- Rachel Carson (an unremarkable student, in financial difficulty, yet saved the world’s wildlife from DDT)
- Christopher Columbus (helped in his father’s wool shop, became a common sailor at 14, and the rest is history)
- Thomas Edison (a poor, mostly deaf child with little formal education, he turned to innovation to make money)
- Albert Einstein (a humble patent clerk, his ideas allow everything from nuclear power to global positioning)
- Michael Faraday (a self educated bookbinder who discovered the principles of electromagnetism)
- Milton Friedman (the son of immigrant dry goods sellers, his economic ideas guide almost every government to some degree)
- Mohandas Gandhi (an unremarkable lawyer who inspired the world through non-violent regime change)
- Louis Goldenberg (an ordinary engineer who improved the washing machine, an invention which freed the world’s women and helped end the global class system by removing the need for servants)
- Martin Luther (an ordinary monk, but he stood up and changed western civilization)
- Alfred Marshall (my hero: at university he started with physics, had a mental crisis, changed to philosophy, then economics. All he wanted to do was end poverty, and his economic ideas, like supply and demand and marginal utility, now influence every business and every government.)
- Malcolm McLean (a gas station attendant who invented shipping containers. These revolutionized the whole global economy)
- Louis Pasteur (the son of a poor tanner, he proved that germs exist and thus saved millions of lives)
You might think that these people were in some kind of different league to yourself, but that is only because of what they managed to achieve. In all other respects, they were very ordinary and unremarkable.
So let it sink in: ordinary people, just like you and me, can and do achieve extraordinary things. Are you crazy enough to believe that? I hope so because YOU are capable of changing the situation you are in, however bad it is and whether or not you have so far thought otherwise. Believe it my friend because everything begins with belief.