• Pulse of Change
  • Posts
  • From Scarcity to Success: The Inspiring Story of Dido & Carthage

From Scarcity to Success: The Inspiring Story of Dido & Carthage

As the legend says, in 814 BC eighty ships showed up on the shores of North Africa (today’s Tunis). It was Dido, a Phoenician princess, who fled her homeland of Tyre to escape her tyrannical brother. With a loyal band of followers, she sailed across the Mediterranean Sea and landed on the shores of North Africa, hoping to start a new life. When she asked the local chief Larbas for permission to settle in that area, he only agreed to grant her as much land as could be covered by a single oxhide (a few square meters), expecting it to be a small area, indirectly rejecting her. Dido did not flinch; she accepted! She ingeniously cut the oxhide into thin strips and laid them end to end, encircling a large piece of land. Thus, Carthage was founded, and Dido's leadership, intelligence, and resourcefulness turned a seemingly impossible situation into the beginning of one of the most advanced empires of that time. The essence of leadership is taking something very humble and small and turning it into a miracle.

I learned about this amazing story last week from my friend Aziz while visiting Tunis, where the ruins of Carthage remain peppered across the country.

Claiming Carthage - picture by Mohawk Games

🌟 Is Having More Always Better?

Recent research from the University of Amsterdam shows that limitations can boost creativity. In a study, participants were given constrained tasks, such as creating art with only a few materials. The results were more innovative and higher in quality compared to those given abundant resources. The constraints forced individuals to think more deeply and explore unconventional approaches, leading to more creative solutions.

This suggests that leaders should embrace limitations to stimulate creative problem-solving within their teams. Many of us often think we need more resources, more of something, to start moving forward. When, in fact, focusing on what you already have and using those resources creatively can become your superpower.

πŸ’‘ Leadership Mindsets to Embrace Scarcity

πŸ”· Visionary Thinking: See the potential in humble beginnings and envision the transformative possibilities. Believe in the power of small, simple ideas to grow into significant, impactful outcomes.

πŸ”· Resourcefulness: Utilize limited resources creatively and efficiently. Find innovative ways to make the most out of what is available, turning constraints into opportunities for growth.

πŸ”· Empowerment and Encouragement: Inspire and empower others to believe in the potential of small efforts. Foster a supportive environment where team members feel encouraged to contribute their ideas and efforts, no matter how small they may seem.

πŸ”· Patience and Perseverance: Understand that turning something small into a miracle takes time and persistence. Stay committed to the vision, patiently working through challenges, and maintaining faith in the process.

πŸ”· Gratitude and Humility: Appreciate and value the small beginnings and the efforts of everyone involved. Maintain a humble attitude, recognizing that great things often come from modest origins and collective contributions.

πŸš€ Action Item

This week, identify a project or task in your life where you feel constrained by limited resources. Apply the following steps:

  1. Define the challenge clearly.

  2. List the resources you do have, no matter how small.

  3. Identify the most important resource(s) and brainstorm 3 ideas on how you can grow it by using the resources you already have.

  4. Choose one idea to implement and test it.

  5. Reflect on the process and outcomes. What did you learn about creative problem-solving and resourcefulness?

πŸ“š Book Recommendation: "Creative Confidence" by Tom Kelley and David Kelley

  1. Embrace Failure: Allow yourself to fail in order to succeed. Failure is a valuable part of the creative process and a stepping stone to innovation.

  2. Multidisciplinary Thinking: Engage with diverse perspectives to expand your thinking. Collaborating with people from different fields can lead to breakthrough ideas.

  3. Empathy and Observation: Understand the needs and desires of others by observing them in their natural environments. This approach can lead to meaningful and innovative solutions

By embracing creativity and resourcefulness, like Dido, you can turn even the smallest opportunities into great achievements. Remember, necessity is the mother of invention and creativity!