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The power to make a difference

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So many people feel disillusioned, so many people feel disappointed over the course of life they are living. The worst thing is that the people that feel disappointed are the very same people that have to be the solution providers, that have to make a difference to change the world.

The problem with humans is that we like the tried and tested paths; we do not like pushing our brains to the limit to come up with new opportunities. Each and every human has the power to make a difference and to completely change the world.

It would appear that we are happily stuck in the thinking that there is nothing new under the sun. But the reality is opposite. There are so many new things, countless opportunities under the sun only that our minds are bent on business as usual, hence opportunities fly past us. Professor PLO Lumumba once said we do not miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

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The thing is, as Jeffrey Fox writes, “nothing new under the sun is an excuse for not thinking. The expression diminishes the innovation, the innovative and the innovator. And the saying is dead wrong. Do not let this dismissive notion to stall you.”

There are many new ideas that can hit the market today if only we can push our brains to think beyond and make a difference. Every day new things are coming on the market being developed by those that never quit and strongly believe that there is a lot that the world has to offer. When many people just looked at bamboos as being of no economic value, Napoleon Dzombe thought otherwise, thus coming up with a company that produces tiles, mats, blinds and toothpicks from bamboos. When Davie Kampeni went into a supermarket and noted that all popcorn was imported, he hatched the idea to start supplying popcorn, then Gowa popcorn was born, creating employment to many people and offering farmers an opportunity to sell to him.

To make a difference entails looking at the very same common things we know with a different eye. The business of selling coffee in coffee shops had been a tradition for centuries up until Starbucks revolutionised the business. For many years, babies and toddlers were dropping drinking bottles until a mother invented the two-handled bottle.

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All life requires is a rethinking of how to make things better, how to reach out markets with good products and services. The first handheld mobile phone weighed 1.1 kilogrammes and was 23 centimetres long and had the talk time of 30 minutes, yet it took 10 hours to charge it. Now mobile phones are small, they weigh less and have a longer talk time. This evidences how we innovate on an innovation and make a difference.

Fox inspires us to move on as he says: “Your idea could be a small business. Go for it! Bring it forth! It may provide your moment in the sun.” To move forward it is essential to take off the corporate executive’s mentality which concentrates more on risk than innovation. Fox stresses that the corporate executive can hear the word ‘yes’ 99 times and hear the word ‘no’ but once, and not go ahead. The entrepreneur hears the word ‘no’ 99 times, and the word ‘yes’ but once, and goes ahead. To make a difference in life we need to have the entrepreneurial mentality in everything that we do.

Life is all about making a difference, doing things that most people would not dare to do. Robert Frost was right; it is the road not taken that matters most. Look for things that other people are failing to address properly and make a difference. There is a wonderful story to the establishment of Virgin Airlines. Entrepreneur Richard Branson explains how the idea materialised

Branson says: “The only airline that was offering cheap fares across the Atlantic in 1984 was People Express. I picked up the phone and tried to call them. Their number was engaged. It was impossible to get through on their reservations line all morning. I reasoned that either People Express was very poorly managed, in which case they would be an easy target for competition. It was that continual engaged tone on my telephone throughout Saturday more than anything else which triggered my belief that we could set up and run an airline.”

And to close, there are no better words than the words of Fox, “if you think you know a better way to give a customer what he wants or needs, you are probably correct. Brush off comments or advice such as ‘that’s been done before,’ or ‘that’s already been tried’. These thoughts are idea killers. Ignore the idea killers.”

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