Discover more from Learning by Proxy with Vivek Srinivasan
You need to learn to change the life of one person before you can change the lives of millions.
Big Dream - I want to change the education system!
But where do you start?
Small Dream - I want to make it easier for that one kid to learn physics.
When Salman Khan - of the Khan Academy fame - started putting his YouTube videos together, he just wanted to make it easier for his niece to learn science and maths. Eventually, Bill Gates invested in the company.
When Foodiebay started, a couple of guys just wanted to make the menu of their food court available online, so colleagues working in the building could decide what they wanted to eat for lunch. This company is called Zomato today.
When Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning started Tesla, they just wanted to make an electric car that could cross the speed threshold of 100 Miles per hour. They bought a Lotus and went to work on it.
When you tell a story looking backwards, it is easy to change the narrative. It is easy to make it seem like success was a foregone conclusion and that there was no doubt in their mind. That they always knew.
Jeff Bezos always knew that he wanted to expand to other categories and become ‘the everything store’. If only you could have asked the Jeff Bezos who was sitting on the basement floor in 1995 and packing books, he would have had a different story to tell.
Elon Musk founded and sold PayPal because he always knew that he needed money to build a space startup and PayPal was merely a conduit to raise the money. He did not even found PayPal, he merely joined PayPal through an acquisition made at a very early stage. He did not even found Tesla, he joined in as an investor.
Don’t believe retrospective narratives. They are only meant to make the narrator look good.
Before the British started writing Indian history, the year 1857 was known as the year of ‘The Great Uprising’, not ‘The Revolt of 1857’. It was not a revolt; a company had no business trying to run a nation.
Everyone starts with a small dream, those who tell you otherwise are utilising this cool trick of the retrospective narrative.
Small dreams are a good place to get started. Rather, they are the only place to get started. A business, or any pursuit, involves overcoming challenges. The larger the pursuit, the more numerous the challenges.
Therefore, there are more reasons to give up on the dream.
Small dreams by comparison are easier to go after. The only excuse you would often be left with is that you are just too lazy to do it. Pick up a small dream and achieve it, it will give you a sense of accomplishment, which will motivate you towards the next one. Maybe a slightly bigger dream, but achievable.
You need to change the life of one before you can change the lives of a million
So dream small.