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When the storm comes, most build walls while others build windmills!

Saptarshi Pal's picture

This Chinese proverb is my recent favorite! In my previous blog, I drew a very pessimistic picture of the future due to the financial crisis. Of course it is a crisis and its negative, but here I will talk about some quintessential optimists, who are in search of the silver lining.

I will present an example from a town near my city. The financial crisis has undoubtedly affected remote corners of the world. However, I have been noticing a growing tendency in India (especially among the government bodies) to put the blame for any problem, irrespective of the logic, on the ongoing financial crisis! This is supposedly the “in” reason for each and every problem that we face these days. This municipal corporation (local government body) was contemplating postponing the repair of the local roads due to the above-mentioned reason. When this news reached a construction expert, he teamed up with a plastic recycling unit (whom I had mentioned in my first blog) to present a much cheaper and more durable alternative to repair the roads using recycled plastic! Currently, work is going on as an experiment on a 1-km stretch and I have received news that it has been so successful that other towns will soon adopt it!

In a recent trip to New York for NFTE’s 16th Annual Entrepreneurship Spirits Award, I was recharged as I witnessed how youth across the globe are taking up ventures to convert this stumbling block (the crisis) into a stepping stone to launch their enterprises.

In a conversation with an entrepreneur from South Africa, I was amazed to hear about the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that he had to face to launch his enterprise, which has made him confident that he will be able find an innovative solution if his business is again threatened by the ongoing crisis –“hammer breaks glass but forges steel” as he puts it! In a similar conversation, an entrepreneur from China explained that she expects the current crisis to create a lot of opportunities for China (and also result in a new world order), like the oil shocks of the 70’s gave a boost to Japan’s fuel-efficient auto industry. Without the oil shocks, the environment would have been in a much worse situation!!

In my previous blog, I mentioned a friend who has got neither a job nor a place in any educational institution. Well, he told me that he has decided to take the plunge and start his own retail shop. He did not want circumstances to take control of his life!

Most people like to stay in the comforts of a stable job, but sometimes life demands that you leave the comfortable fortress for the journey on the high seas—to push us towards the “road not taken” so that we are able to realize our full potential.