Or does everything significant happen solely because of inevitable macro trends?
Answer: an individual can make a global difference if three preconditions are met:
- Non-zero probability of the desired goal. Genghis Khan couldn’t fly to the moon, because the required set of scientific discoveries and engineering work would not be achievable in his lifetime.
- Having the motivation and skills to achieve the change – both need to be previously developed via emotional and intellectual experiences respectively. Native Americans didn’t have the skills to defeat the conquistadors.
- Focused, intelligent, high intensity work towards the goal. Brexit wouldn’t happen if not for a social engineering campaign by a small group of competent people.
Question: But aren’t all these preconditions caused by those inevitable macro trends?
Answer: first one yes, second partly, third no. So no.
Why? Imagine that any of the individuals below didn’t exist, or replace them with a more typical contemporary. Would events have turned out the same?
- Lee Kuan Yew and the rise of Singapore
- Elon Musk and today’s booming space industry
- Mao Tse-Tung’s strategic mastery used to defeat his opponents and establish communism in China
- JP Morgan locking top bankers in his study, forcing them to solve the crisis looming over the US economy
- Charles de Gaulle manoeuvring to rebuild the prestige of France despite a disastrous war.
- Bill & Melinda Gates effectively saving hundreds of millions of lives.