What do you do on the day that your life or your business asks you a question to which you have no answer? What do you do when you come to the end of the road, before you have arrived at your desired destination or you arrive at a safe that contains treasure but you have no keys with which to unlock it? What do you do when you know with absolute certyty what you want to achieve, but you do not know how to achieve it?
Simply put, what do you do on the day that life demands of you a solution and you have none, and you desire to enter into the big league but the door is closed? Efficacy is the ability to make things happen, but what do you do when you want to make things happen but you do not know how?
Sometimes life is like a cryptic puzzle which offers a great prize to the winner. The prize is known, but the solution is no where to be found. No matter how philosophical or complex humanity may become, there comes a time when each one of us faces a problem that defies solution. This is the time in which the loser's dream goes up in smoke, but the winner's star begins to shine ever so bright.
The winner sees problems, including the difficult ones that defy solution, as opportunities. The loser on the other hand sees problems as threats. The winner asks himself the question, what opportunities lie in this challenge and how can I derive maximum benefit from the situation. Faced with identical circumstances the loser asks himself, "How can I avoid this threat?" The winner engages challenges, but the loser disengages from them. The winner is that person who will relentlessly seek for ways to make things happen regardless of the situation. To him set backs are temporary inconveniences. To make things happen it is imperative that we remain located with the desire to find a solution. So how do winners make things happen?
In 1849 the world faced a problem that defied solution. The challenge was how to build a bridge over the Niagara Falls. The engineers knew what needed to be done, but no one knew how to do it? They knew that to build the bridge they first needed to get a line over the canyon from one side to the other. The problem was that it was deemed to be technically impossible at the time. They could not use boats because the boats would fall over the gorge. The plane had not been invented. The commonest method at that time was the bow and arrow method of throwing the line across the bridge. However the distance was too long at the Niagara Falls.
The solution came from one efficacious engineer called Charles Ellet. Charles had seen boys fly kites over long distances. He sponsored a kite flying contest and offered a handsome prize to the first boy who would fly his kite across the gorge and let it go low enough to allow someone on the other side to grab the string. Sure enough one boy dropped off the incredible stunt. Thus the kite was used to pull first the cord, then a rope, and then steel cables. By repeating this process, the foundations upon which the suspension bridge was built were laid. Things had been made to happen. What lessons did Charles bequeath upon us?
Firstly and most importantly, Ellet taught us that things can be made to happen. Anything is achievable to the one who dedicates itself to it. While every engineer was expounding on why it was impossible to build the bridge, he was actively seeking for a way to do it.
Secondly, Ellet's success is a lesson in the value of co-operative effort and synergy. Ellet knew what needed to be done but he did not know how to do it. The kite boy knew how to fly kites, but did not know how to build bridges. By combining their efforts and expertise they together triumphed. This is the great lesson. Achievement is rarely a solo flight. Winners do not just seek for ways to make things happen, they also seek for people who can make things happen. In the face of problems that defy solutions life punishes the lone ranger and favors the team player.
The unwise seek to do all things by themselves, and arrogate all the glory to themselves.
Unfortunately, they often fail. The wise know that problems that defy solution only persist in the absence of adequate knowledge and effort. Knowledge and effort are the keys to making things happen. All winners like Ellet are smart enough to know that they can not know everything that is potentially knowable. Sometimes the knowledge to unlock your path to glory lies in the expertise that someone else has. Where possible winners do things themselves but often they win by working through people. It is forgivable not to know how to make things happen, but it is a curse not to make an effort to find someone who knows how. When a problem persists often it is because the answer lies beyond your current area of expertise, but not necessarily beyond everyone's expertise. The solution may not even be found in your industry but in methods used in a completely different industry. The link between kites and bridge construction is not obvious and that is where other people like me come in.
Winners look beyond the common boundaries in their pursuit of answers, and they are also willing to look for and pay people who have the skills that they do not have. This week make a catalog of challenges that have been defying solutions and seek not just for ways of making things happen, but also for people who can make them happen. Go ahead and make your success happen.