We all had that great idea, but somehow it is still a pie in the sky. Why? Too difficult to achieve, too many people against it, no money, no time. Those are some of the reasons why the pie is still in the sky and not in our mouth. I understand. We all had times when people screamed at us “that’s impossible!!!” After that we leave, dropping all our hopes to the ground. Except there is one man.
That man was Robert Moses. The man who built New York City. Burning with ideas he was known as the master builder. For different building projects he spent over 21 billion US dollars. At one time he nearly bankrupted the city. But he successfully transformed his every idea into reality.
In a democratic state, he ruled the city for 30 years without ever having elected to an office. He was a man who understood power. He knew how to get it and how to use it. Commissions, police, Offices, legislatures, Courts, Billionaires, medias, Mayors, elected officials, all were under him. They cannot even change a light bulb without his approval.
But that’s not necessary for us. We don’t need all that. Maybe we will never be able to give an order to an elected official. But there is a small thing we can learn from him. It is that we need some authority and resources in our hand if we want to convert our ideas into reality. Most importantly, we should work hard to build those castles.
In an interview he said there are people who make plans and that’s the farthest they go. That’s the end of it. He said those plans end up in shelves. There are too many of those. They make plans and think their work is done. They never fight for it, never worked hard to make it a reality. What’s the point of making the plan in the first place?
Same goes to dreams. Dreaming is good but if we dream and don’t fight to make it a reality then what’s the point of dreaming?
Again and again Moses showed that having a plan is not enough. We also need to make it a reality.
Once you have an idea, I think the next step is to find capital. I mean, money and resources. After that you will need hands to transform those resources according to the plan. This is where labor comes in. Once you find enough people, the next step is a land or a place. You need a place where people can do the work and store resources. Basically you should mix and combine land, labor and capital.
I cannot eat a recipe. But if I get the right ingredients (capital) and cook it (labor) in my kitchen (land) according to the recipe, I can eat it. A plan, a dream, an idea is same like a recipe. We cannot eat a recipe.
Robert Moses interview on Building New York City (1959) (Youtube)
LONGINES CHRONOSCOPE WITH ROBERT MOSES (Youtube)
Caro R. A. The power broker: Robert Moses and the fall of New York. 1974.
Moses Response to Power Broker