In this world full of complex individuals, perhaps the most well-known contradiction of personality types are those who are either followers or doers.
When a person at the helm fails to accomplish whatever task is at hand, it's the doers who take initiative and take matters into their own hands to then finish the job.
Curious to hear examples of historic doers, Redditor throwaway121270 asked:
"What is the greatest 'f'k it, I'll do it myself' in history?"
This Canadian solider single-handedly changed the course of history.
How A Dutch Town Was Liberated
"Canadian Soldier Leo Major and his friend Willie Arsenault were scouting a Dutch town called Zwolle that had been captured by Germans in WW2. On this scouting trip, the two had decided to liberate Zwolle together, but were spotted and Arsenault was killed. Major, enraged, killed two Germans while the rest fled. On the outskirts of the town, Major intercepted a vehicle, disarming the soldiers there. He told a French speaking soldier that all the Canadian artillery would be firing on the town in the morning, and decidedly let the Nazi free to spread the rumour, even returning his weapon as a total alpha move."
"That night, Major decided to single handedly liberate the town. Arming himself with many weapons, he made explosions and noise, making it sound like the entire Canadian army was there. Several times that night, Major went back and forth from Zwolle to the Canadian base taking 8 to 10 German prisoners each time."
"At one point, Major located the Gestapo (high ranking Nazis) headquarters and raided it himself. He killed several SS officers and the rest fled. By morning, Major discovered that the Germans who had taken Zwolle had entirely retreated."
"I should also mention that Major was a sniper who had only one eye from a phosphorous grenade explosion years prior and remained in the military because he insisted he only needed one eye to aim his weapon and that to him, he 'looked like a pirate.'"
"The Dutch town of Zwolle was liberated. By a one-eyed sniper. He has several other legendary acts, but this to me was his best."
More On The "Bada** Canadian"
"Damn, I just did some more reading on this guy. He also was in the Normandy invasion on D-day and single handly captured an armored German vehicle that contained communication equipment and codes. AFTER he lost his eye but before this incident, this motherf'ker single handedly captured 100 German soldiers. He started with one, killed the soldier’s friend, then used his prisoner to force their commanding officer to surrender. As he was leading a group of his prisoners back to the Canadian front lines, SS spotted him and opened fire. Major gave 0 f**ks and continued on his merry way, dropped the first group off, ordered a tank to go kill the SS guys then after they got killed he personally marched the rest of his nearly 100 prisoners back to camp."
"Why? He was 'frozen and wet' when he saw the first 2 soldiers and wanted them 'to pay.' A general tried to give him the Distinguished Conduct medal for this and Major refused because said General was 'incompetent' and in no position to be giving medals. Shortly after he survived a land mine, and guys, this is still before Zwolle."
"As if his balls weren’t big enough already, after WW2 he returned to fight in the Korean War and receives ANOTHER Distinguished Conduct medal. While the Canadian forces were trying to capture a hill the Chinese currently was defending, Major led 18 men as an elite sniper/scout force to a hill in the middle of the Chinese forces and opened fire. His team were able to take the hill. A couple hours late, 14,000 Chinese reinforcements returned to take back the hill. Major refused, found cover for his men and was able to hold back the Chinese through the night."
"I vote for Major for most badass Canadian by a landslide."
Life would be different were it not for these brave and intuitive individuals.
"Otis invented pretty much what we consider the modern elevator."
"Nobody was convinced it was safe so he hoisted himself up extremely high and had somebody cut the cable with an axe to prove how confident he was that the elevator was safe regardless of almost worst case scenarios."
"In 1888, Almon Brown Strowger, an undertaker, noticed he was losing a lot of business to the other undertaker in town. He found out that the other undertaker's wife was a telephone operator and when she intercepted people asking to be connected to Strowger's funeral home, the operator would route the call to her husband's funeral home instead."
"Three years later, Strowger patented the automatic teller exchange, a system which allowed telephone users to make calls without the need for human operators, singlehandedly destroying an entire workforce."
Beginnings Of Internet Security
"Cliff Stoll (The Cuckoos Egg) noticed weird traffic on his university servers. No one believed him that there was any risk occurring. Ended up uncovering a major hacking attempt to steal missile designs and basically created internet security. (I think it was missile designs, it's been a long time)."
The Problem Solver
"Donald Knuth is one of the big names in computer science. Back in the 1960s he set out to write the definitive texts on computer programming and analysis of algorithms. The first three volumes came out and he started the fourth in the early/mid 1970s. He was unhappy with how the newer printing/editions were typeset and so he took a summer to 'solve' that problem."
"A decade later the fourth volume still had not been completed, but as a consolation prize we got TeX (later extended to the more commonly used LaTeX), without question the most comprehensive and powerful language for creating documents with heavy technical requirements; it is a strange mix of a markup language like HTML and a compiled language like C. It is completely free and has been for well over 30 years and is probably the most bug-free piece of software I've ever seen. Certainly for its size and scope, there's not much out there of comparable quality."
"There is literally no mathematics that cannot be properly typeset in TeX/LaTeX. Its default style is instantly recognizable to any working mathematician. It is used across nearly all STEM fields and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of journals that only accept manuscripts written in LaTeX."
"It wasn't until the early 2000s that drafts of the fourth volume started to appear. Nobody has seemed to mind."
Many lives were saved thanks to the fortitude of these fearless people on a mission.
Vandalism To Save The World
"John Snow (not that one, the father of epidemiology). No one believed him that the Cholera outbreak in what is now Soho was because of a contaminated water pump. He broke it. They arrested him for vandalism and held him until the outbreak suddenly ended..."
"Probably the time Nando Parrado and Roberto Canessa decided they couldn't wait around any longer and legged it for 10 days across the Andes with no warm clothes, climbing gear, or food except some scraps of their dead friends stuffed into a sock. They finally found someone out in the middle of nowhere, Sergio Catalan, who rode horseback all night and then took a bus to get some help. The mountain climbers had come from the wreckage of a crashed plane that everyone had been looking for for over 2 mos. They needed help for the other survivors who were injured and starving. They saved 14 of their friends."
While you may not intend to make a mark in history, you've probably made a lasting impression by stepping in and taking over after watching someone fall short of achieving a desired result.
Bless you for that.