One percent. Some would say an insignificant number, but I believe it is worth substantially more. One percent of the distance to the sun is 234 times the radius of the earth. One percent of a day is 14 minutes. One percent of an average human life is just over half a year. One percent is enough people to brighten your day or even influence even an election, significantly changing the course of events.
History has repeatedly shown us that one percent of a group of people can affect the other ninety-nine. The few can affect the many, but how? Part of the explanation for this is that leaders always believe they can change the society they live in if they commit and motivate people to work together to accomplish that change.
To do this, authentic leaders have a way of thinking that allows them to see how they can change everything for the better. They think through a prism that enables them to gauge the potential in everyone and everything. “How can everyone benefit?”, “What can I give?”, “Did my peers and I do our best?” are questions authentic leaders constantly asks themselves that allow them to bring about those changes. They are embedded into their line of thought like automatic reflexes, turning every encounter into opportunity. Furthermore, the fruit of their leadership comes from the belief that anything is possible, which drives them to see their goal accomplished one percent at a time.
“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only things that ever has.”
– Margaret Meade
Personally, I always try to surround myself with people who are better than me to challenge and improve my ideas. Nobody is the best at everything, but everyone is good at something. Each Godfather has his godfather (Romanian proverb), so while it is important to be the best I can be, I always look for people from whom I can learn something. This mentality has allowed me to get to know beautiful minds which enable me to have productive arguments that challenge what I think I know, in the final scope of expanding my point of view and achieving enlightenment.
As a result, I believe that if one percent of the people I know cooperatively committed to change, it would have a positive impact similar to an avalanche. A mere one percent has the potential to create something beautiful, as an association that so many people can benefit from can be. I know this because it already has.
From the effects of this group, many of my friends have improved their lives. Four of my friends are in a relationship, another two have told me their social life had improved significantly, two new students to Montreal had an easier time integrating, around 100 students from diverse backgrounds had fun dancing to traditional Romanian music, while my being in Montreal has also gained a deeper sense of purpose.
Furthermore, success attracts new successes, and as the group continues to grow, the impact of what it can do will be greater. More people putting their heads together is always better than one, and more people acting together in the interest of the community is truly incredible. With projects, students are welcome to develop their idea with the support of the Union, whether it is a backgammon club, Romanian language lessons, traditional dancing activities, sports activities or competitive teams, computer science team, and why not even a robotics club or a student-run café? Opportunities and activities for all students will keep appearing. Some of these are exchange programs with students in Romania, volunteering for causes such as Habitat for Humanity, or internships. These are just a few simple ideas that can change the lives of many people if leaders commit to making the impact.
Subsequently, as the need for change becomes more imminent along with the need for leaders. The one percent that looks at failure as an opportunity to learn; jumping from failure to failure until they reach success. The one percent that lets go of their ego and takes responsibility for a group. The few who affect the many and motivate the change so desperately needed. The people that look at hardships as stepping stones on a journey; breaking boulders into pebbles and solving problems one percent at a time.
Probably the major setback that prevents people from becoming leaders is the fear of failure. To help conquer this feeling, the Romanian proverb, “Încercarea moarte n-are,” which loosely translates to “trying has no death,” contrasts the possible outcome of events to the worst case scenario, illustrating that, no matter what happens, it cannot be bad as long as you try. In complementation, Chris Bradford tells us, “There is no failure except in no longer trying” and outlines that the only time you gain nothing is if you do nothing. The perfect example of this is Thomas Edison, a young engineer who tried ten thousand times to create a working light bulb. After this feat, he said, “I have not failed. I have just found ten thousand ways that didn’t work.” In light of this, it follows that leaders are the few who take a leap of faith and follow their desire for success, regarding so-called failures as opportunities from which to learn and improve.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
– John Quincy Adams
My dream is for the community to be successful and use this organization as a tool that gives students the opportunity to grow as students, people, leaders, and educated citizens in society. The potential is fantastic, and many people can benefit significantly, just like the ones that already have. Nonetheless, for this to happen, more people need to take responsibility and just do it; take the leap of faith, believe in themselves and strive for success. Most importantly, there will be continuity in these remarkable activities if students realize that small things have a big impact. A small group of committed people can change many lives, make time spent in university more enjoyable, create connections, and generate great opportunities.
In the future, I hope that this change develops continuously. On top of more people becoming involved, I would love to see a study/reading space with literature and Romanian-themed decoration and quotes, more traditional dances at parties like the Freshmen’s Ball (Balul Bobocilor), as well as community activities like sports games and barbecues where students enjoy themselves. Other ideas include a soccer team that participates in local competitions, tutoring programs for various courses, personal development seminars to grow leaders, workshops for entrepreneurs thinking of a start-up. These are just another few ideas that a small group people can put into operation and give this group of students the potential to develop as far as an active business community.
While I have presented some of my thoughts, I would love even more if others challenge them also and develop their ideas. The flexibility of the organization embraces all initiatives of students who wish to organize activities and projects that improve the community. Therefore, if people overcome their worries and take responsibility as leaders, there will be a variety of unique, enjoyable activities and exciting projects. Moreover, everyone is good at something, and it is always exciting to see what someone has to offer. All it takes is one percent of the community to make a difference.
“Leadership is about laying the groundwork for others’ success and then standing back and letting them shine.”
– Chris Hadfield
Everyone is good at something, and it is up to us to find what that is. Nevertheless, leaders make this search easier by understanding people and pointing them in the right direction to achieve shared and personal goals, thus laying the groundwork for others’ success. If one percent can produce such a large impact and pave the path for the success of the community, what can more do? I am excited to find out, are you?