This is about the Big Picture.
There is an interesting aspect associated with Breakthroughs. Breakthroughs are always in front of us, staring at us, waiting to be discovered. Unfortunately, we do not see them.
Let me give you 'The story of the tiny frog.'
There was once a group of tiny frogs who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. A big crowd gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer the competition. The race began.
Honestly, no one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower.
They kept saying, “Oh! Way too difficult. They will never make it to the top.” “Not a chance, they will not succeed. It’s too high.’
The tiny frogs began collapsing one by one, even while there were those who were climbing higher and higher. The crowd continued to yell, “it’s too difficult, no one will ever make it.” More tiny frogs got tired and gave up.
But one tiny frog continued higher and higher and higher. This one will just not give up! In the end all the others had given up climbing the tower, except for this one tiny frog who after a big effort was the only one to reach the top!
Then all the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one had managed to do it? One of the contestants asked the tiny frog who had won that how he had found the strength to reach the goal. The tiny frog did not answer.
The winner was deaf!
Breakthroughs are about seeing opportunities where everyone sees problems, obstacles, limitations or boundaries. Fortunately, we have enough people who see all of this so there in lies the possibility to discover a Breakthrough. However, unfortunately we aren't deaf or blind. We start seeing them too.
There are some very interesting real life parallels to the Frog Story. I'll just note down a few..
A gentleman named Frank Howser designs and constructs displays and booths for trade shows. A few years ago, two young guys asked Frank, if he could design something for their little start up company so they would look 'flashy' at a trade show. They couldn't pay him so they offered him stock in their start up business. Advised by people around him (who saw red) Frank declined the offer. Someone else chose to turn deaf to those around him and took it up. The two young men were Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. The little company was Apple Computer. That someone else made a lot of money.
Richard and Maurice McDonald sold their hamburger stand, concept, and name to a fifty-on year old salesman named Ray Croc. The rest is history.
A man named Lewis Crandal sold half of his tore for a mere $1200 to his partner Mr. Woolworth.
The first group of people in the above examples NEVER saw the opportunities that existed right in from of them. The second group did and acted on them.
Turning DEAF is not to be equated to 'don't hear, don't listen, don't see' etc. Rather listen, see, hear, feel the reality and defy the mindset.
One last incident: In 1972, in USA, the Democratic convention nominated George McGovern to run for president against Richard Nixon. During the convention McGovern dumped his vice-presidential candidate Eagleton. A young sixteen year old entrepreneur saw a one time opportunity and bought up five thousand suddenly obsolete McGovern-Eagleton buttons and stickers. He paid about five cents apiece for them. Post Nixon's victory once the mudslinging began in the Democratic circles, he resold these as historical and rare political memorabilia for $25 per item.
Obviously the young man's one time windfall profit did not result in any industry breakthrough. But this is an excellent example of an attitude that is needed to see an opportunity where others do not. The young man, by the way, was Bill Gates
Major Breakthroughs are always in front of us and are always discovered with the correct mind-set. It's an attitude, an attitude to look for opportunities and possibilities. People who generate breakthroughs are opportunity focussed (not problem focused), those who don't aren't. It's no rocket science. It's really simple.