Change. It unfolds afresh, never noticed but repeatedly demanded, time and time again.
Most desire it, some even lust after it, and are willing to do just about anything to attain it, except to realise that they can actually be the change themselves.
Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller was an exception to this norm – with principles on being the catalyst of change, he left behind a lifetime of legacies, perhaps the most popular of all being the inscription on his gravestone, “Call Me Trim Tab”.
A trim tab is a nautical device that acts as a small rudder to turn the larger rudder of giant ships, providing the ship with immense advantage in terms of steering and direction. And Bucky’s imparting message to the world, “Call me Trim Tab”, highlights just that – of how a small intervention can cause a profound and extreme transformation. And although this powerful metaphor continues to be used worldwide for effective leadership and team-building skills, that is not where it’s significance lies – its significance lies less within the big picture, but more within the individual himself.
Many never stop to think about being the change, simply because that they have been exposed to the misconception that in order to be the change, one must have to have done great things. As human beings, it is only instinct when we do not feel worthy of being this change – we think that there is always someone who has done bigger, better and greater things than us. But life is not a competition. Life is our own journey, lived according to our own beliefs. The only rivalry is our past, and the only person that we should conquer is ourselves.
We naturally expect big changes to come at great effort, assuming that there must be a proportionality between the cost and outcome. But changes are not necessarily great things. They can occur anywhere and in everything that we can ever dream of.
Without a boat, the trim tab on its own will just be a piece of plain metal; but when placed strategically on the rudder, it causes a remarkable change. Just like the trim tab, when placed under the correct circumstances, those who believe in themselves will be able to release their full potential, becoming agents for change. And as time passes, these change-makers will proceed with even bigger transformation, changing organisations, companies, and even societies, no matter what situation life puts them in.
Bringing out change with minimum effort, or in other words, doing more with less, Bucky’s “Call me Trim Tab” principle rings true to this very day. Start small – start by believing in your ability to make a difference. You will be surprised to see how much you can achieve, all because you started by changing yourself.