Wednesday, October 25, 2006
The Power of Thinking Small
Most of us give up on our dreams before taking a single step toward them.
Not Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank.
Aspiring to eliminate world poverty, Yunus has done more to achieve that goal than almost any philanthropist alive today. Two weeks ago, he won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.
How is he going about achieving his dream? The same way most other successful gravity defiers do: by taking one small step after another.
Specifically, Yunus gives micro-loans, most of them less than $150, some as little as $9, to millions of rural villagers to start small businesses. He began his work during the Bangladesh famine of 1974, lending $27 to a group of women to make bamboo furniture. The women not only repaid the loan, but flourished. Inspired, Yunus expanded his lending.
Today the Grameen Bank has more than 2,000 branches, and the microcredit system is now in place in 43 countries.
In other words, despite my encouragement to dream big, it's important to acknowledge that sometimes thinking on too large a scale too soon induces defeatism.
But if we take one small step outside our normal routines and like the result, that first step often leads to another, and another. And at some point down the line, the possibilities explode wide open.
Photo Credit: Stuart Productions