Routinely, I rise out of bed before the birds and watch the sunlight flood my office every morning. See, I love this time of day, but what I don’t love is being rudely rousted out of a deep sleep before my normal rise-and-shine time, and every day, for the past few months, I have been.

I sleep with the windows open, and at around 4 a.m. each and every morning, rain or shine, a very obnoxious bird has been screeching his mating call somewhere close-by at what seems like 130 decibels. Many times, I’ve wearily peered out the window in an attempt to glimpse firsthand what sounded like a pterodactyl-sized creature on some kind of steroids, but never would this clever little creature reveal himself.

I appreciate nature as much as the next person, but this large sound at this wee hour of the morning is not music to my ears. My fine-feathered foe once put me in such a highly agitated state that I thought about locating a “sportsman” in the neighborhood to take him out, but that was only wishful fantasizing. It’s been a few months now, though, and I’ve gotten pretty used to my tree-dwelling alarm; looking on the positive side, I could even thank him for the extra hour of work I am able to put in every day.

In fact, one day last week, I was pounding away on my laptop on the front porch swing, when lo and behold—that piercing sound again! And it was near! Imagine my surprise when, after peeking out from under the canopy, I saw perched on the telephone line above this teeny-weeny finch, smaller than my prized canary, warbling away what was really a beautiful anthem, at least when heard at that normal hour of the day. Oh my, the power of small!

We can all learn a lesson from this tiny finch: how many times in your life have you thought that you were “too small” to make a difference? How many times has this thought actually stopped you from doing something you knew in your heart was worthwhile? Perhaps it was something like changing careers, starting a new business, creating your own product, or even buying that dream home. If you’re at all like me, I’ll bet you’ve thought this plenty of times.

Instead, think about this: every great achievement in this world has its roots in a single thought in the mind of a single human being. There are no exceptions—the greatest inventions, the biggest corporations, and the tallest skyscrapers were all borne of the single idea of one individual.

So, what separates us from the Henry Fords and Bill Gates of this world? They possessed total self-belief and a firm conviction in their ideas to just build it, no matter the size, no matter the scope, and no matter the naysayers around them, all the while knowing full well that the road to achieving their goals was going to be paved with major setbacks and failures.

There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.
–Douglas Everett

You’ve heard many of the stories about icons like Ford and Gates and about people like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, and Gandhi. Their journeys were filled with great adversity, devastating setbacks, and heartbreaking failures, but still, because of the sheer level of their belief in themselves and in what they set out to achieve, they were able to leave a legacy that today affects every one of us, every hour of every day.

There are millions of everyday people who will never become household names but who have made magnificent differences in their lives and in the lives of those around them. Take, for instance, the single mother who is reluctantly forced onto the welfare rolls due to a deadbeat dad and pounds the pavement until she lands a job, determined to excel, and works her way up the ladder until she ends up with a wonderful career to the benefit of herself and her family. How about the foreign medical student whose family sacrifices everything in order to send him to a “free country” for his education and who, through sheer determination, graduates at the top of his class but decides not to chase the almighty big bucks that await him in the “land of promise” and instead returns to his native land so that he can help to alleviate the dire suffering of the people there. Consider the entrepreneur who takes a single idea and, no matter what obstacles he faces and the many sacrifices he has to make, creates a successful business with a product that impacts thousands, or even millions, of people.

I am privileged to know so many individuals who have accomplished great things only because of the great belief they had in themselves and in their ideas. As such, I firmly believe that every human being can accomplish great things. I can tell you with all the sincerity I possess that this great universe of ours awaits your simple and sincere decision so that it can begin to fill you with all the power you need to make your dream a reality. It’s a matter of truly making that decision and then opening yourself up to receiving that invisible assistance.

The Creator has not given you a longing to do that which you have no ability to do.
–Orison Swett Marden

Now, back to my miniscule, winged friend. On cue, and still prior to daylight, he shakes me out of my peaceful slumber. He knows nothing else, no other way. He just cranks it up at an enormous volume at nature’s call, oblivious to the fact he is impacting me on a major scale by doing the only thing he was designed to do—how we all should be, don’t you agree?

The power of small!

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

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Copyright © 2006, Rick Beneteau.