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April 25, 2023

Have you heard the story about the red paperclip?

Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald famously made a series of fourteen trades starting with just a red paperclip and ending with a two-story house! Here’s how he did it.

1. On July 14, 2005, MacDonald made his first trade, a red paperclip for a fish-shaped pen in Vancouver, British Columbia.
2. That same day, he traded the pen for a hand-sculpted door knob from Seattle, Washington.
3. On July 25, 2005, he made his way to Massachusetts to trade the doorknob for a Coleman camp stove with fuel.
4. On September 24, 2005, he went to California to trade the camp stove for a Honda generator.
5. On November 16, 2005, he traveled to New York and traded the generator for an “instant party” which included an empty keg, an IOU for filling the keg with the owner’s beer of choice, and a neon Budweiser sign.
6. On December 8, 2005, he traded the “instant party” to Michel Barrette, a Quebec comedian and radio personality, for a Ski-Doo snowmobile.
7. In the same week, he traded the snowmobile for a two-person trip to Yahk, British Columbia, scheduled for February 2006.
8. In January of 2006, he traded the second spot on the Yahk trip for a box truck.
9. In late February of 2006, he traded the box truck for a recording contract with Metalworks in Ontario.
10. In early April, he traded the contract to singer and song-writer Jody Gnant for one year’s rent in Phoenix, Arizona.
11. In late April, he traded the year’s rent in Phoenix for one afternoon with rock ‘n’ roll legend Alice Cooper.
12. In May, he traded the afternoon with Cooper for a KISS motorized snow globe.
13. In June, he traded the snow globe to American actor and film director Corbin Bernsen for a role in the film Donna on Demand.
14. Finally, in July of 2006, he made his final trade: the movie role for a two-story farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan in southeast Canada.

It’s crazy to me that this guy got from one tiny paper clip to a place to live! This story makes me think of the concept of leverage.

How do you take what you have and leverage it into something better?

Leverage can apply to any appreciating asset. Consider leverage when it comes to your finances. According to Dave Ramsey, “The average new car payment in the United States is hovering around $700. If you wisely invested $700 per month from age 25 to age 50, you’d have over a million dollars.” He then shared a funny meme that said, “There’s 8 billion people in the world, and not even one of them cares about what kind of car you drive.”

But there are other areas where the concept of leverage works. How are you leveraging your time or maximizing your influence to generate the greatest impact?

How are you leveraging your talent and resources to make the greatest impact in your organization, community, church, and world? 

When we are focused on being good stewards, we will be intentional about our time, our talent, and our treasure.

This week, consider how you might leverage even the smallest things you’ve been given into something better. You never know how far even the smallest red paperclip might take you.


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