$27 that forever changed the world

by | February 20, 2012

In early 1970, a man named Muhammad was a Bangladeshi economist at Chittagong University.

After a devastating cyclone, bloody war of independence with Pakistan, and severe famine, Bangladesh was suffering deeply.

Muhammad was heartbroken over the poverty he saw, knowing his academic economics were doing nothing to alleviate it.

In 1974 he visited a village to learn directly from the people how to help.

He discovered that women creating handcrafts were paying local moneylenders interest rates as high as 10 percent per week.

He began loaning these women money from his own pocket, starting with just $27.

From that initial $27 investment, Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus built Grameen Bank, which today has 2,565 branches with 22,124 staff serving 8.35 million borrowers (96% women) in 81,379 villages.

The microcredit pioneer lends out more than a billion dollars a year in loans averaging less than $200.

The bank has lifted millions of illiterate peasants out of the depths of poverty by helping them create small but thriving businesses.

The world is fundamentally, dramatically, and forever changed because one man acted on a prompting to lend twenty-seven bucks to impoverished women making handcrafts.

How many times have we received promptings to help others, start a business, make a difference — and not acted on those promptings?

What could those ideas have become? Who could they have helped, no matter how insignificant our actions may have seemed in the moment?

The greatest opportunities don’t appear as lucrative contracts on our desk, but as subtle flashes of insight in our mind.

But they can’t unfold if we don’t act on them.

As Roy H. Williams wrote,

“Every door of opportunity begins as a window in your mind.

“Look through that window of imagination and glimpse a world that could be, someday. Keep looking… Be patient… And watch it grow into a door of Opportunity through which you might pass into an entirely different future.

“Opportunity never knocks. But it hangs thick in the air all around you. You breathe it unthinking, and dissipate it with your sighs.”

This week — like every week of your life — you’re going to have at least one idea of how you can create greater value in the world.

An idea for a business. A book. An invention. A service project.

A thought that you should call a friend. A prompting to read to a child. A feeling to break your routine.

A pressing reminder of an idea you’ve already had.

Your challenge is simple: Write it down immediately, then do something about it. Take one action and see what unfolds.

Or don’t act on it. And continue on like nothing ever happened.

And indeed, nothing new, surprising, different, or better will ever happen in your life without action.

Your marvelous door of opportunity awaits the simple key of action.

Will you turn it?

(For tools to gain confidence in living your purpose, click here to download my free toolkit now.)


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