Pencils of a promise

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    23-Feb-2017

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Pencils Of A Promise: What We Can Learn About Adam Braun And His Amazing StoryAdam Braun was born in New York City to a Jewish family and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut.At the age of 20, Adam had everything he wanted. He was a student at Brown University, playing college basketball, a booming social life, and had a love interest. Then one night in his sophomore year he caught the movie Baraka, which would forever change how he viewed the world. The movie was a series of scenes shot all around the world blending beautiful scenery with stunning ceremonies and customs of indigenous cultures. The movie was as raw, real, and full of spiritual significance. It's in times like these where we feel a bit of emptiness. Is what we're doing now really our driving purpose? Will I be comfortable living my life without seeing what the world has to offer? Most people suppress these emotions and go on with their pre-ordained 9 to 5. Adam chose to test the waters, the waters at sea that is. Adam dropped everything and joined Semester at Sea, a cruise ship that goes around the world and is essentially a floating campus. After a near death ship wreck experience, he continued his travels, asking one child from each country what they wanted most in the world. When he got to India and asked a poor boy on the streets the same question, the boy responded "a pencil". The A-HA moment! The simplicity of the pencil, yet the tremendous power education brings. We can help to change the world monetarily, but the real change comes in sparking creative minds and giving children a potential for education and growth. Philanthropists and Humanitarians have amazing gifts, but their gift is in time spent and money. What happens when their time runs up, or the money swells? There is a special gift in education, in that it exponentially gives upon itself. Swiftly, Adam began planning his creation of one school and the location. He went to his local bank and deposited a mere $25 into starting a non-profit. A little less than one year later in September 2009, the first school in Laos was built. Fast forward to January 2015, Pencils of Promise has served over 31,000 students, built 266 schools, and provided 24.3 million education hours.So what can we learn from Adam and the Pencils of Promise? The first is that anyone can make a difference. He started with a mere $25, and eventually created 200+ schools. Often times we fail to take the first step towards our own personal noble cause because we don't think we are capable of making a difference. "I work too much" or "I don't have the money to invest in something" or "My help won't make a difference". One of my favorite quotes is from the book the Alchemist, stating that When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.Indeed, yet it won't happen unless you start the process. Stop fearing failure. Stop playing the "what if" game. Track towards the vision of your company, and be the person you see in that vision. Adam said, If you speak the language of the person you seek to become, that will move you in the direction that you want to be. Start speaking the language of the person you want to be.And embrace failure. You have to fail to succeed, and there will be many hardships on the way. Between wondering where the money would come from, to wondering whether he would gain enough stable support, Adam battled through because he refused to give up. He believes in the impossible. So many of us have disillusioned fears. We are afraid to take the first step in breaking these doors down. When Adam and Pencils of Promise show the handle of the door allowed us to move past it the whole time. Following your dream is like walking through a series of doors. You may not be able to see the end, but you have to continue moving forward and trust in the process. Surround yourself with qualified, motivated people. You, as your reading this, should be aware of the tremendous strengths you possess. You should also be aware of your weaknesses, and not be embarrassed about them. Part of creating a team is blending peoples strengths to make a powerful whole. One man or woman cannot do everything, and Adam did a splendid job of bringing on people who could compliment the team, and the passion to make a difference and take in the long hours. Maybe one person alone can't make the difference. But you can be the start of something great. What that something is relies entirely on you. You can seek to bring education to children in foreign countries, or you can seek to improve race relations. You can spread your religious faith around the world, or run a homeless shelter.Whatever it is, go for it. And don't give up on it. I believe in you.