Ted's Thirty Day Awakening
This morning Alexa stirred Ted from sleep with GABZ FM, a radio station out of Botswana. Even though the station’s tagline is “music unlimited” they were broadcasting a lecture by someone named David Block.
Ted did a quick search on Block followed by a search to confirm just where in Africa Botswana is located. Ted thought it was somewhere on the southern reaches of the African continent, but Botswana’s exact location escaped him. (Truth time: do you know where Botswana is located?)
Turns out . This morning (at least Ted’s morning) Professor Block was doing something he does quite often, he was lecturing on “The Power of Vision.” Once again, Alexa was delivering just the right broadcast at just the right time.
Ted wished there was an amazing algorithm behind Alexa’s wake up choices but, since the code was his, he knew Alexa was simply making a random selection each morning from a list of radio stations. Alexa was not looking at what had been going on in Ted’s life and somehow using that to select programs. Besides, there was no way to know that instead of its typical music program, the station would be broadcasting a lecture—and what a lecture!
Professor Block was talking about “the secrets I’ve learned. Secrets that really, really work.” He was talking to a hall filled with college students and was, as he said, “inspiring leaders of tomorrow.” He pointed out people who had accomplished amazing things during their lifetime. He spoke of Goddard and his vision of space flight. (Ted recalled a he did in the sixth grade about Goddard rocketry.) Professor Block talked about Disney (another of Ted’s favorite dreamers) and Edison (not a Ted favorite) and how they kept moving toward their goals no matter the obstacles that were placed before them. He spoke of seeing with new eyes and seeing things no one else is seeing.
“Vividness times Imagination equals Reality. You are stars born to shine,” he said. “Turn to the person next to you and say: You are a star born to shine.” Ted could hear the students repeating the words mixed with a little laughter. “Now say it with passion!”
Ted leaned in, not wanting to miss a single word. This man is amazing, why have I never heard of him before? Ted wondered. With all the access we have to information these days, how many voices am I still missing? How many moments spent laughing at goats that suddenly fall over or watching a cute cat video might be better spent listening to individuals like Professor Block?
“I want people to think differently.”
When the students began to applaud, Ted figured the lecture was over and was about to say “Alexa, off” when two voices began talking over the applause, giving a summary of the lecture and filling in more details about Professor Block. They did it in a way that reminded Ted of announcers during a sporting event—with the hushed tones typically heard while watching golf. The professor was taking questions from the students and the commentators were injecting thoughts during the “dead time” between questions. There was more than the typical gap between questions since after answering each question Professor block would say, “come up here and claim your prize.” (Ted never learned what prize the Professor was handing out.) The more he listened the more Ted appreciated this commentary. He could not recall a lecture being covered in this way. He began to imagine this as a standard for all lectures and presentations, adding another view and expanding on what the speaker has said.
“How are we looking at the world?”
“Always look up.”
“You are a star born to shine.”
With those simple statements, the Q&A session ended and GABZ FM went back to playing music. Ted sat there for a few more minutes replaying some of what he had just heard. He was amazed, yet again, at how the right things show up at just the right time—provided you slow down long enough to notice them.
Ted wrote professor Block’s statement “Go for the stars but whatever you do, do it well,” into his notebook and then watched this video on YouTube.