Today I have a great story to share about a 19-year-old called Boyan Slat who is taking on one of the world’s toughest environmental challenges – to clean up the huge amount of plastic in our oceans.

He’s not the first person to have thought about doing this, but he is maybe the first to have backed himself enough to research and develop a feasible way of doing it. What we can learn from him is the way someone powerfully pushes through the inertia of lazyness when they have an idea like this; when they go for it with passion in an organised and practical way.

Some people have great ideas but very few have the courage to do something about it and bring their ideas to fruition. How many times have you heard someone say; “wouldn’t it be great if…?”

I hope today’s blog inspires you to take more action to turn your own ideas into reality…

Success is 1% Inspiration and 99% Perspiration

By Tom Hasker, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

‘Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration’ according to Henry Ford.

The same goes for the likes of Thomas Edison, Soichiro Honda and Albert Einstein – all people who had a vision and were compelled to follow it regardless of the hardships inherent in that journey.

To make a significant impact as these pioneers did takes an enormous amount of personal conviction and courage because it is so different to the path that the majority of people usually travel. Slat put on hold a degree course in Aeronautical Engineering and his social life from the age of 19 to follow the compelling vision he has for the future of our seas. I would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall when he told his parents, friends and family that this was his plan. I have no idea how they reacted, but I’ve heard it said that it was difficult for Bryan Adams to tell his dad “I’m going to be Bryan Adams.” and for Walt Disney to say to his father, “My future success will be found in this cartoon mouse.”

You may be thinking by now, “Ok, so lots of people have great ideas, but only a few are lucky enough to make them work. So what? That’s just the way it is and my ideas are definitely never going to work, so I’ll just give up and keep plugging away at what I’m doing now.”

Well, this article is about how one young person is making a difference on a global scale and tackling a problem that effects every single person on the planet!! If he can do that at the age of 19, what are you capable of achieving given all the experience and knowledge you’ve gained over the years? You have far more potential than you realise and the way to harness it is to bring together the right people who share similar ideas and aspirations as yourself.

Every single person who’s achieved great things has done so not just because of their vision, ideas or tenacity, but predominantly because they brought together enough of the right people in line with their passion.

lighthouse (dennis jarvis)

Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, Canada, courtesy of Dennis Jarvis @ Flickr

Key Lessons We Can Learn From Boyan Slat…

First, Know What You Want…

While diving, Slat saw ‘more plastic bags in the ocean than fish’. This experience gave birth to a vision which changed his whole direction in life.

Second, Find The People Who Can Help You Get What You Want

Everyone mentioned in this article had a strong team of people to support them, to share resources and to mastermind ideas with. Adams had a band, Disney his animators, Honda his engineers, Einstein masterminded solutions with his peers while Ford and Edison had each other to collaborate with as they were good friends in a mastermind group called the Vagabonds.

Third, Never Give Up

I once saw a billboard that said; ‘You never fail until you give up.’ Some tell me the operative word in this sentence is ‘fail’, but I focus on the word ‘until’. Because ‘until’ you give up, you can never fail!! Never. You might not have the riches or the recognition you yet deserve, but you will succeed if you have the right people around you and you work out what the best way forward is. That might mean all manner of things, including cutting your losses, but it does mean that you will find a way or make one…!

So, question time!

1. What change would you love to see in the world around you? 
(Perhaps less crime, a good upbringing for children or more respect for the environment?)

2. Who is someone who is already contributing to make that change that could inspire you and what do you admire about them? 

(If no one comes to mind, are there any historical figures or even people you know making a difference in a small way? If not, there’s always Google as a last resort!)

3. What little thing could you do differently to live more like them? 

(Set more goals, meet with more like-minded people, read inspiring material, or…)

Would you value support to build you vision and a network of people around you?