The answer is no! So don’t be taken in by the all that individualism propaganda that avows this notion. Here are two reasons why it is false.
It seldom happens. OK. Seldom is an admission that it can happen. But the issue is not whether it can be done but how often it is done. Everyone can win the lottery but only one in multiple millions does win. Count the number of people you can recall who have changed the world. Now count the billions of people who have lived in the world. Pretty high odds, right! Anyway, none of the people you thought of actually changed the world. They only initiated an idea or action that had the potential for change. So, strike out seldom and substitute never.
And this brings up the second reason why this notion is essentially false. Tens, then hundreds, then thousands, then millions of people have to subscribe to an idea or action for it to become a big game changer. It takes a slew of people to make innovation a reality.
So, the real power to change lies in subscribing numbers. All permanent social change is a numbers game. The greater the number of people subscribing to the idea the greater the possibility that it will become a social norm. Social norms are created by overwhelming numerical weight.
True innovators often get very weary standing on the hillside shouting or dancing their notion of change. Sometimes they just quit. It is only in persistence that they are heard. Being heard means an acceleration of subscribing and collaborating numbers. And this is the key.
This is why collaboration is at the heart of all deliberate social change. The larger the group of people holding hands and shouting the same message the greater the possibility that they will be heard and heeded.
So, forget the individualism notion that the alone person can change the world. This is Lone Ranger nonsense. The alone person may come up with an innovative idea or behavior but it is only in collaborating numbers that change actually occurs. And this is why small groups can start change – because they band together in collaborative power. But they have to band for power and they have to shout to be heeded. Only the community creates deliberate change.