“I must do something” always solves more problems than “Something must be done.”
I have seen a lot of talented and accomplished people in my lifetime. I have seen far fewer extremely brilliant people. They are around for sure. At Princeton, we had a classmate who could do the math in his head…not the 7 X 6= 42 type of math, but the kind where we had to have a calculator to make sure he was right. Then there was the 15-year-old who was taking graduate level physics who would help us math daisies with our calculus.
Yes… there are brilliant people around for sure but many of the accomplished people, the very talented people, the people who make things happen and change the world, are normal people in all respects except for one; they have the ability to focus and work hard. While others are playing games or sitting around talking, they are working with a competitive fever to solve the problem, write the paper, finish the lab, or get extra work beyond the standard curriculum.
These people are special but they are not untouchable because each and every one of us can be that way. Why do we depend on others to solve the world’s problems? When we read the news and see great progress made in anything, why do we assume that it has been done by some other group of elite people who have some unusual skill or luck or brilliance? In most cases, it is someone like you and me that just decided to get focused on a problem and worked on it until they found a solution. Thank goodness for those people. Thank goodness that we can each be one of those people.
In the late 1990s, there were a series or wars and natural disasters that left thousands without food or water on the African continent. It seemed inconceivable to me that our world could not solve that problem. There were massive efforts but they always seemed to be too little too late. If food came in large quantities, trucks were required to take it to distribution points. Sometimes the roads were impassable. If you dropped food on pallets from overhead, some people were actually crushed by the food drop. Wherever you had food in gathered in mass quantities, there was always the opportunity for some entity to control it in such a way that those that needed it most, were denied the supplies.
Though I was heavily involved with running my business, I decided that I would try to develop a delivery system that accomplished three things:
- Food and supplies could be air dropped in such a way that nobody would get hurt.
- The delivery mechanism had to be able to hit the ground without damaging the contents.
- The supplies needed to be individually packed and dropped so that when the air drop occurred, it would be impossible for anyone to hoard all of them or to keep the common suffering person from getting one.
I started with various Styrofoam boxes with different shapes and fin arrangements to try to get the slowest descent possible. We tested them by dropping them from the top of our 72 foot tall slide tower at Water Mania. This testing process happened in between our normal management duties with my secretary and me doing most of the work.
Nothing seemed to work until we came upon the open cell polyurethane material which worked like a charm. We were so confident with the results that I hired a helicopter and did a video shoot in our parking lot, dropping the cubes from 500 feet using various shapes and weights. Not only could these cubes deliver the contents safely to the ground, they could be used afterwards to build igloo type shelters and much more.
I edited the video and tried to get someone from the military or Red Cross to take a look at it. I just did not have the right contacts and got nowhere fast. Eventually the idea just died. However, I still think that it is a viable solution to a serious problem. The video is below.
The HighFive Your Life principle is that you and I have within us the ability to solve problems beyond those we encounter in our daily work and family lives. Do not be afraid to take on a challenge. Do not be afraid because what you lack in immediate knowledge can, to a large degree, be overcome by hard work and focus and knowing where to go to get the knowledge you lack. It is the introduction of new thoughts and vision that can be the catalyst for solving problems that seem to be unsolvable. It happens every day and in many cases, the solutions are found by people or teams of people with ordinary intelligence but extraordinary ability to focus and work hard.
HighFive Your Life Principle: You and I have within us the ability to solve problems beyond those we encounter in our daily work and family lives. Do not be afraid to take on a challenge.
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