Monday, October 25, 2010

"Call me TrimTab"

That’s the inscription on Buckminster Fuller’s gravestone. Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller (July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983) was an American engineer, author, designer, inventor, and futurist.

He was also a great leader and is often quoted in leadership literature.

“Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Mary - the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there's a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab. It's a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it's going right by you that it's left you altogether. But if you're doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go. So I said, call me Trim Tab."

~ Buckminister Fuller

I have written about Buckminster Fuller before in a blog on Bucky’s Synergy Formula.

I feel empowered when I read his comparison to the individual.  We often asked ourselves: “What can I do, I am just one person?”  We are unique individuals with distinctive characteristics and talents.  We all can do a little and just by impacting those around us, can change the world.  There is a song we used to sing at camps: It only takes a spark to get a fire going... 
 In his own exceptional way, Bucky Fuller influenced the 20th century. According to one biography, he had trouble understanding geometry. In order to better understand abstraction like a dot on the blackboard, or a line with an arrow on the end meaning infinity, he would bring home objects like sticks from the woods and build triangles, squares, etc. Because of these experiments and his imaginary mind, he became familiar with many raw materials as well as how to use them. This earned him later a machinist certification, and eventually entrance into Harvard University.

After some personal misfortune, he embarked on an experiment on how a single individual could contribute to change the world and benefit all of humanity.

Most of us stop when we encounter some difficulties or failures. It is through the example of man like Buckminster Fuller that we feel motivated to pick ourselves up, and keep looking for our exclusive contribution to make the world a better place.

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