Inspiration – Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller was a remarkable philosopher, inventor, architect and writer.

There’s a story from his early years which became a life-changing turning point. His reputation at the time wasn’t the best. He was a well-known wastrel who enjoyed parties, and going out.

One day in 1927 when he was 32, his 6-year old daughter, Alexandra, was sick, and he left the house to go to a football game. He promised to return soon, and bring his daughter a small game flag for her birthday, but he didn’t return home for three days.

When he returned, his wife told him that Alexandra was much worse, and had been asking for him.

When Fuller picked Alexandra up, she asked him if he had brought her the flag. He had to admit that he hadn’t, and the disappointment for her was so great that she gave up her fragile hold on life and died in his arms.

Fuller felt so bad, he walked out of the house, and decided to drown himself in Lake Michigan. Standing on the bank of the lake he heard a voice. The voice said he had no right to end his life, it was not his to end, and he hadn’t fulfilled his purpose yet.

Fuller decided to ‘experiment’ and discover what one penniless individual could do to benefit all humanity.

First he stopped talking for two years! He realized words had great power and often got him into trouble. He vowed not to speak until he was sure of the affect and meaning of any word uttered.

He believed there was a supreme being who wants to make people successful and provide everything that they need to live a full life. He tried to discover what ‘rules’ God used in setting up the universe, and went on to develop what he called the ‘Generalized Principles’ of the universe.

During his remarkable ‘experiment’, over the next fifty-four years, he…

  • Was awarded 25 U.S. patents
  • Authored 28 books
  • Received 47 honorary doctorates in the arts, science, engineering and the humanities
  • Received dozens of major architectural and design awards including, among many others, the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects and the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Created work which found itself into the permanent collections of museums around the world
  • Circled the globe 57 times, reaching millions through his public lectures and interviews.

It’s remarkable the catalyst that can propel us into achieving more than we ever thought possible. It’s a sad story in a way, but in another it shows the possibilities available. It shows how one man overcame the past and perform incredible achievements.

If you feel insignificant and without the means to make a difference in the world, remember this one man’s story. It is possible to soar to great heights many only dream of.