Published: 17th December 2018
Here's how something as small as a pencil can change your life
People are willing to fund your dream if it has the right social cause. If you can effectively communicate your vision and also, if it resonates with them, they are willing to part with their money
If you could have one thing in the world, what would it be? This was a question Adam Braun, the author of the book The Promise of a Pencil, asked one child from every country that he visited. Adam expected them to ask for the things he would have wanted as a child — a new car, an iPod or even a computer perhaps — but the answers he received were unexpected.
A little girl in Hawaii, when asked this question, said ‘to dance’, another girl in Beijing said ‘a book’, but the answer he got from a child in Agra, India changed his life. The little boy from Agra, when asked this question, paused for some time, retrospected and then, responded confidently ‘a pencil'. Even though many around him prompted him to ask for something more valuable, the boy insisted on a pencil.
Adam took out a pencil and gave it to him. The boy’s face lit up and he held on to it as if it was the most precious thing. The people around him explained that the little one had never been to school, but had seen other children using a pencil. Adam who had lived all his life in the USA was shocked that something as basic as an education, which he had taken for granted, was denied to many children in other parts of the world.
A pencil to him was only a writing instrument but for this little boy, it was the key to unlock his potential. It opened up a whole new world of possibilities for him. The little boy would never know that this simple and basic request would enable Adam to discover his true calling and spearhead a non-profit venture aptly called Pencils of Promise.
He would also never know that his request would trigger an idea that would snowball into a huge movement, attracting many volunteers worldwide and eventually, lead to the creation of around two hundred and fifty schools around the world. Adam’s journey helps us understand a few of life’s lessons. The Universe conspires to help you. The Universe wants you to succeed, it sends messages and communicates to you. All you need to understand is the language it speaks so that you can pick up the subtle hints and decipher bits of clues that are scattered along the path it lays down for you.
Whatever key decisions Adam took was by connecting the dots from seemingly unrelated bits of information. For example, Adam had interviewed a candidate named Jocelyn for the post of Manager, but he left for Laos undecided. After the interview, at Laos, a random internet password was Jocelyn, he went by the signs and decided to hire her, which turned out to be the right decision.
There is abundance. People are willing to fund your dream if it has the right social cause. If you can effectively communicate your vision and also, if it resonates with them, they are willing to part with their money. They need affirmation that it’s going to be used for the right cause. People want their money to make a difference in someone’s life. Define your goal, speak with clarity. You have to learn to tell your story in sixty seconds. Which is all you get to make a difference
Walk with a purpose and the world will be yours. The most powerful thing in the world is an idea whose time has come.