“We have, in short, somehow become convinced that we need to tackle the whole problem, all at once. But the truth is that we don’t. We only need to find the stickiness."
- Malcom Gladwell
It’s an old adage- we have to eat the elephant one bite at a time. But we so often forget it, and we so often aim for huge goals without understanding how to get there.
The best way to solve big problems- unemployment in rural America, destroyed markets in central Asia, global poverty- is to find the right leverage points and surgically attack them one by one. Those sticky points will snowball into huge success.
The problem is, telling folks just that doesn’t often get them excited. We always search for the revolutionary, the most broadly impactful, the easiest to champion and snag headlines, and end up repackaging classic principals with new words, laundering away the original principal all along the way.
Every one of these ‘new’ and ‘revolutionary’ ideas has a root in something known, something foundational in human history. Lean startup, the ‘tipping point’, or whatever idea we find novel- they all start at the same principal; small, mobile, targeted efforts are the ones that drive even the most broad and widespread successes.
Next time you get a little down, like I often do, remember that the best and most impactful efforts all started at one leverage point. The goal is to find that point- helping millions starts with helping one.