Ken Robinson on Passion – Free EBook

to the Oh good morning how are you now trying to test it wasn’t it how many of you go to church by the way dear it’s interesting isn’t it I was brought up in Liverpool and my brother’s here now there are seven of us in the family and we used to go to church in a place called the Foursquare temple which was just up the street from where we lived and the reason we went there was the nearest church to our house that was the extent of our theological commitment it was the the nearest church to the house and we thought why would you go past that church to do it another one it’s like going past Tesco’s yet to Waitrose we thought and I used to go there say there were seven of us but when I was a kid I was extraordinarily cute it’s hard to convey this ready until I was four what thank you man thank you remember that was meant to be quicker to remember half price if you’re late no till I was four my dad was convinced that I was going to be a football player in fact my brother John who was here right now became a football player and so did my brother Neal they were both taken on by Everson and but until I was four I was I was the fit one at you you weren’t born at the time so it did give me an advantage I have to say but it’s a small genetic head start and then yeah my dad just took me to the park and and I would find my way home eventually the law was different then and and eventually he was convinced that I was the one I was very fast muscular very attractive as a child and and then in 1954 there was this polio epidemic do you embrace anybody major epidemic you can read all about it and I got it I got polio at the age of four and that pretty much put an end to my career with Everton as I couldn’t walk properly and was actually paralyzed for eight months so it’s a ruled out my chance of getting in the team it wouldn’t now by the way I think I think there’d be some excitement about to put the name forward for Everton at the moment but my dad was Derek you know obviously devastated as was my mother you know and I mean I’m recovered you know I was in hospital for eight months and then and I recovered and I came out of hospital looking extremely cute I was wearing two calipers I was I had a wheelchair crutches long curly hair blonde hair and a lisp come on Helen people approach me spontaneously in the street to give me money they did that was that was that cute and in fact my brother and I used to exploit that not John but my brother Ian and I by mingling among the football crowds in Liverpool where I would strategically fall over in front of somebody which would double the donation normally Ian is yet to pay me my part achieve this this particular scam but we stood to the church and it was the Foursquare temple which turns out to be a an American evangelical church you look it up and it was actually the old Methodist chapel in our street but it was founded by a woman called Aimee Semple McPherson and if you’ve ever heard of it you should check her out if you haven’t she was a one of the first superstar evangelicals she was American and she used to fill out church every Sunday three times a day with about 3,000 people and I mean all the old movie stars went to see and she sent out these missionaries across the planet to bring the Forsberg gospel to underprivileged families all around the world and one of them turned up in our street which is why we went there rather than to Tesco’s and I used to like going we used to have they eventually I stayed on when my brother stopped going because I couldn’t have a good reason not to and I didn’t like to let people down you know and I got on with them all right and they let me take communion a sort of communion you know a an evangelical type communion we used to they didn’t have wine you know if you’re if you’re a Catholic so if you’re madly inborn Catholics if you go to communion you can often get a decent clarity you know it’s worth turning up you know you might get a decent vintage just a tip don’t go up all of it that’s just a thought you know it tends to dissipate the congregation if you finish the entire cup but I can hang on to the Prius begging for more of it it’s not not a good sign not a clear signal of your Redemption frankly but 10 and also in place so we didn’t have red wine we had Ribena and in place of unleavened bread we had nimble that little squares of nimble white little bread so I form a pretty dim view of the saviours Constitution as a child frankly take this this is my blood really this is my body are you certain no you need help that’s all I can tell you below you need urgent medical attendants but I kept going anyways and eventually we moved from the area and I stopped going but I kept going because I didn’t want to let them down but it became a bit of a drag after a while the turning point for me was when I was told I had a chat with one of the the teachers in the class and Sunday school and she got to the point where she said that if you’re not saved you won’t go to heaven you don’t go to church you don’t go to heaven I said really and I was desperate trying to be saved as a kid you know you’re lying in bed because I was told all I had to do was ask so I kept asking and the line was engaged but as far as I could tell but the turning point was that I said well hang on I just thought I thought I got my dad doesn’t go to church is he going to heaven and I remember the teacher fumbled for a bit you know came out with a form of words and I said yes yes but I mean a lot of conditional clauses in there and even at the age of 11 I was suspicious of you know of the subjunctive sir so I said yeah but is he going or not and she said well if he doesn’t go to church we’d not say no he won’t go to heaven I said and therefore one so we go to hell she said after the long night had worn on at this point but so I made up my mind at that point I thought this is either nonsense or I’m going with him if it’s good enough and I want to be there you know frankly now I would like to say that my views on religion matured beyond this point they happened frankly they happened and which is not to say I do not have a deep interest in spiritual things which I do but I’ve always been myself at a distance from organised religions I don’t recommending that I’m just saying this was the case well what happened was that some years later my mum ran into this teacher in the street I she wasn’t driving a car at a time shooter took us some time to pinpoint her in the middle of the road but she got her good wasn’t easy no but she ran into it and she said there’s a great woman at you she said to my mum how’s your Kenneth doing and she said it was great I was teaching the University of Warwick at the time and she said he’s great he’s a teacher work University she said you know he was always a great inspiration to us I’m a mum said who are Kenneth we caught the right one and she said yes he said because he kept coming to the church every Sunday we’d see him strutting down the street and I pulled on his crutches and there we’ll monster where we thought we’d have to close the church because of the slow are the low congregations and it was the sight of him turning up every week that kept the place open and I thought how ironic is that because I was lying in bed of a night praying for it to close and I’ve never quite got over this idea that we are all to some degree is the author of our own fate and they’d only look around properly we could reconstruct situations that we feel where the victim are but which we are actually personally creating and I think this is true in a spiritual sense as well and some were last year year and a half ago do you care when this was how important is it to that I get this state right I mean I can google it now if it matters take my word for it this happened September of 2009 Terry my wife and I is here today were at the there’s a fantastic event called the vancouver peace summit and the peace summit was about 2,000 people it was organized by the Dalai Lama Center in Vancouver and I had to moderate the opening session there about 2,000 people and the panel was amazing it was Pierre Omidyar General him he’s the founder of eBay which was a good idea wasn’t it I was really close I had D Bey you know like that close Pierre got eBay and matthieu ricard to know of him he’s a French the richer French cell biologists well he was original baby but originally from being honest but it became a French salvos but he became a Tibetan monk his father was a philosopher and he said these have all these people come into the house all the time when he was a kid is a very prominent philosopher his father and he said we know we had Samuel Beckett come to the house and Albert Camus this great raft of French intellectuals used to come to the house and have dinner with them and he said it was heavy you know they had John Paul Sartre came and seemed under Beauvoir he said we were in the thick of French intellectual life and as a kid he was invited to join the tables he said but he realized was something about it it never quite struck him until he saw a film or a news report of some Tibetan monks who showed up in Paris and he said they looked incandescent ly happy he said it was like seeing some of the prophets you know come back from ancient times and sitting over their robes and long hair he said they were exuding the sense of happiness he said whereas all these intellectuals going to tears were as neurotic as you could imagine anybody to be you know there were the smartest people in the Western tradition but they looked completely wrapped with uncertainty and anxiety and smoking themselves to death and you’re drinking vast amounts of booze and pronouncing on the principles of a good life and he said I wasn’t completely inclined to their view frankly so he went off to Tibet and joined the monastery and he’s been a monk now for over thirty years and he’s been a close associate of the Dalai Lama and also he was he’s taken part in all kinds of research into the effects of meditation on the brain you know that Alan I was actually very interested in the science of meditation so matthieu ricard is matyoo do the French for you Matthew is officially recognized now as the happiest person on earth honestly that must be a burden muscle it socially mostly you can’t show up anywhere and be miserable you know people get you under the trays description act I mean what’s this you know yeah run it down in the street and you have to smile and say this is great imma say that’s great unfold – – who’s Desmond Tutu his daughter who’s living in his tradition she’s also a cleric in South Africa doing wonderful work to do with women in South Africa I can’t toll a on the platform you know his work he wrote a book called the power of now fantastic book so that’s the panel plus the Dalai Lama that’s the panel and I’m having to moderate this conversation and introduce it one of my first problems was I had to introduce the Dalai Lama you know I mean Morgenthau thought she had a problem introducing me you know but frankly it’s a pushover I thought what you say about the Dalai Lama and then I thought I don’t need to say anything do I so anybody whose name starts with thee your home and dry aren’t you ready thank you you’ve managed to seek the definite article in genome I think frankly which Dalai Lama will I be introducing that would be the Dalai Lama anyway we had this the session was called world peace through personal peace that’s the theme about two thousand people and an hour to sort this one out and so we were just killing time to the final 20 minutes frankly what should we talk about now having sorted that on it and but the Dalai Lama said lots of wonderful things he does one of the things that that happened he said somebody asked him a question not in the session I was moderating but the one that followed it but it was being moderated by Mary Robinson all the sessions were moderated my people call Robinson really matter that’s the only qualification and he’s wearing his way through the alphabet at the moment he retired about five years time and we get to X’s but suddenly asked him a question Mayor Rahm said you’re holding the signal and what do you think of this and he thought you know from for about a minute you know he kind of leant forward we all mentally leant forward to towards him all $2,000 thinking this is going to be great it’s the Dalai Lama chat indiscretion and he paused and we waited for what we know is going to be something sensational and and then he said I don’t know well we were taken aback you know we thought what do you mean you don’t know Minya you’re the Dalai Lama I mean we don’t know but you’re supposed to know but what was wonderful about it was it was a real moment of permission for the whole room because his point was and he talked a bit about it later on is that he said what he said what is that I don’t know I haven’t thought about that and this point was that he doesn’t want to say you knows things he doesn’t know I just thought about it now I thought about a lot of stuff not that I was on a panel later on with him with a physicist wouldn’t Nobel Prize Lee he was talking in the brief he was speaking to Matthew and he said you know what would the Dalai Lama think of Pascale and Matthew said he would know anything about Pascale you know he’s he’s the world’s one of those leading scholars of Buddhism he doesn’t claim to know everything in the Western philosophical tradition or Western literature and I just thought it was wonderful of him said I don’t know because in our culture not to know is to be at fault socially isn’t it you people pretend to know lost things they don’t know because the worst thing to do is appear to be uninformed about something to not have an opinion you know now and use me to fuel that idea you know they bring people on for instant opinions about things they don’t know about and I feel this particularly because I work a lot in education an education is filled with people politically who pronounce on education who know nothing about it I can think of one example as we speak Michael Gove I’m thinking of any place and as you’re wondering what I’m talking about so I think that’s important that we should know the limits of our knowledge and understand what we don’t know and be willing to explore things we don’t know without feeling embarrassed not knowing about it but it also said something very interesting which connected to some work John my brother’s doing John is putting together our family tree at the moment in the woods one of the differences we were born into a big working-class family in Liverpool and one of the differences I think between working-class families and middle-class families of long standing is that for the mill or upper-middle class or a stroke attic families in this country is that people from working class backgrounds often know nothing about their own origins they don’t know much more than two generations back they might know their great-grandfather’s did you agree with me you know where as you go to country house and their ancestors are on the wall and people are brought up knowing where they came from or some version of it anyway and there’s a big thing that people are trying to check out their ancestry and John’s doing in France so he’s putting together Mitri it’s not much of a tree really it’s more like a shrub with a curious blight in the roots than there but I found some something very interesting which was seven of our eight great-grandparents you have eight seven of them were all born in the middle of 19th century within two miles of each other in the same part of local the same parish that’s how they met I mean that’s my version of how they met I mean you might take a different you say no no no the cosmos yeah so arrange things that these eight soulmates would converge in the same point of the space-time continuum and meet each other and fall in love and continue the process that led to me being here that’s one version of it that’s a possible reading it’s not the one I’m inclined to I think people just have lower standards then frankly you know I think good people ran into each other machine thought you will do no this is this is not too embarrassing I could spend my life with you without feeling socially ostracized I don’t think they were less happy for it either by the way but they weren’t besieged by images on the internet you know TMZ you know or Hello magazine you know they didn’t know that Angelina Jolie was an option really and waiting for Brad Pitt to show up in the shop you know there’s no you’ll do other thing is what something down an arm is have existed if you think about your lineage your um your personal lineage you sitting here now if you think of the number of people who had to meet each other down the centuries and the certain hands have had to come about for them to meet each other however they did that however they bumped into each other how many people had to do that in how many different circumstances and how many different settings through the long march of time till eventually your parents met and under whatever circumstances you were then conceived and then now here you are the Dalai Lama’s point is to be born at all is a miracle it’s a miracle that we’re here and congratulations bugger you made it where billions didn’t but here you are and you made it and you’re not here for long you know with the following wind you’ve got probably ninety Algiers which is the blink of an eye in cosmic terms and his comment was simply you didn’t say this in Vancouver he said it in a book he was writing about meditation but he said to be born at all as a miracle so what are you going to do with this life now that you have it what you’re going to do with it you’re going to waste it I’m going to do something interesting with it you’re going to do something that matters to you or not and this to me is where this idea of passion comes in I published a book last year I think you’ve got a copy of it now if you have you paid for it I don’t see why I should summarize it if haven’t paid for it frankly a bit who has paid for it I’ll talk to you privately they will go to the pump no one things are struck me for a long time is that very many people very many people I’m not saying this is true of you I don’t know you know but you’ll know if it’s true or you’ll know if it’s true of people you know but very many people spend their entire lives doing things that aren’t really careful they just get through the week one way or another they you know endure their lives and wait for the weekend with no real sense of fulfillment a kind of general sense of tolerance for it or not and if you want evidence for that you’ve only got a look at the annual receipts of the pharmaceutical companies and the brewing companies you don’t have to look at the levels of crime and and of disengagement I think of this is the the other climate crisis you know we’ve become you see idea that there is a crisis in the world’s natural resources that there is I mean we needn’t go into that now but there was a group of geologists published a report two years ago I mean senior well-respected geologists and they refer now they believe that for the past 200 years geologically the planet is in a new period called the Anthropocene and they say that geologists would recognize in the geological record a distinct a new phase since the last ice age if you just look at the geological record they mean for the first time in history a geological age which is being caused by the activities of human beings the Anthropocene and he said you can see that in carbon deposits in the extinction of species in the changing constitution of the oceans and of the atmosphere human beings have made an indelible geological imprint on the planet and you know we don’t know frankly what the outcome of this is likely to be but I think there’s another climate crisis which is a crisis which is connected to it of human resources as opposed to natural resource are in addition to natural resources what I mean is that most people have no idea what they’re capable of no real sense of their talents or their abilities and met very many people therefore conclude they don’t have any that there’s nothing special about them and my convictions always been to the country that we’re all born with deep talents and abilities it if you’re a human being it comes with a kit I’m convinced that the most distinctive feature of human life is this power of imagination I don’t know how many of you got animals or dogs but including dog signs how you think I don’t know what an animal is animals or dogs but if you take a small baby into the garden preferably one that you know with with the permission of whoever the parent is if you run away with a small baby and at night and point at the moon the baby will look at the moon if you take your dog into the garden and point to the moon the dog will look at your finger with an expression of irritation in all probability and the difference is that human beings are born with expansive imaginations and a sense of reference and possibility that we get that we get that you can mean things you know biologically were probably evolving at the same rate as every other species on earth but culturally we’re in a completely different category I mean if you have a dog you know that culturally they’re not changing much are they are they not really I mean if you don’t have to do checking in with dogs deer to see what’s new so what’s the latest thing with you people you know what are you up to now pretty much what we’re always doing honestly is would you choose me while I urinate on this chair we’ve got past that Emily hello well speaking personality but with human beings there’s always something new where it was on to something because we have not just this power of imagination but what floats on which is the power of creativity the ability to produce things to make things to make new things and we’re all born with that like were born with the power of language and and the power of thought it comes with the kit but some people discover their unique and individual abilities and some don’t and those who don’t often to conclude they don’t have any um the wood that I also meet people who actually have found what they think is their natural place they their natural talents and they love what they do and the lives that flow from it they are to use that expression they’re in their element to be in the element it been around has two things at least one of them is you’re doing something for which you have a natural capacity that you get it one of the people that I include in the book is a guy called Terence Tao and I mention him because he’s particularly gifted in something I’m not good at which is mathematics Terence is a mathematician he works at UCLA in in Los Angeles when I say is a mathematician he’s actually probably the most accomplished mathematician on the planet he’s known as the Mozart of math there’s no s in mathematics in America’s you know you’d think it would be plural since was mathematics with me Barry Terence when he was three taught himself to read by watching Sesame Street so he has a rather curious accent constants at the age of four he was doing double-digit equations which I still can’t do at the age of eight he took a college entrance math exam and got 98% at the age of twenty got his PhD in pure mathematics at the age of thirty he was awarded the Fields Medal for mathematics which is equivalent a Nobel Prize it’s reasonable to say isn’t it that Terrance gets math tennis got a hang of this frankly it has a natural aptitude for it something else I include in the book was a woman called Ava Lawrence but if you’ve had over Lawrence Ava Lawrence I met on a plane and I don’t have told Terry about this yet but anyway as our in a public place I feel fairly secure now and it helps to talk doesn’t it actually truthfully I never speak to people on aeroplanes I fly a lot and I never speak to people in opens if I can possibly avoid it because you get trapped yeah I mean you’re on a plane for six hours and you get trapped and do it with a perfect stranger that and it may or may not be interesting what if it’s not you know I mean I don’t mind talking to people when the plane lands when we’re taxing to the terminal I would much rather regret the sex our conversation we didn’t have just met than the one I have to put up with I was on a flight the Euro zero to Hong Kong from Los Angeles and it’s a 14-hour flight and as the plane was boarding they hadn’t closed the door yet the guy next to me you could tell he was bursting for a conversation you can tell people fidget and they and they’re kind of clear their throat and look at you and you think he’s going to ask me a question and I’m doing everything I can to appear socially unappealing and and I thought what’s it what’s his line going to be what is great opening going to be and it came as the people were still mourning it turned and he said so you going to Hong Kong I said yes that’s why I’m on the Hong Kong flame in fact we’re all going to Hong Kong it’s not just me by any means it’s the entire plane is going to Hong Kong speak to them there are 500 of them okay like busied myself in a book I was reading Moby Dick eventually I got ran to Moby Dick and and he waited for me so he said so you’re reading Moby Dick I said excuse me I’m going to the toilet so I did I went to the toilet and it’s the longest time I’ve ever spent in a toy potentially fourteen hours altogether and but I did finish Moby Dick you know I was landing in this Besser on this flight into Florida and there was a woman sitting next to me and she’s beautiful woman in a forty time I think she was and actually we got talking which is she she asked me a question and I imagined you know you do rap later I don’t know if she was in the media something in the media no law or the design industry or some I didn’t know and as to what she did and she’s a professional pool player you check her out Eva Lawrence she’s known as the striking Viking she’s from a small town north of Stockholm John are in Stockholm this week and when she was I think 12 she was following her brother round this village I know that kids do they follow their older siblings around and he wandered into a pool hall and she said she stopped at the door and she couldn’t believe what she was seeing I said what she said it was like a Ladin’s cave you know it’s fantastic is this dark space and these pools of green light and people bowed over these tables and it was like church she said them in there with this clicking of these balls and beautifully colors beautiful colors swirling around the green tables she said there was so intense and she said she sat there and transfer at two hours and she worked out what they were doing but they had to get the balls down in a particular sequence and then she said it the real breakthrough as I realized that to use the white ball to do it so there is an unbelievable and so she started going regularly and she got the Commission of her parents to go and she went every evening that in fact they knew the guy around the pool hole so he let her use the office at the back to do her homework after school then she could practice for a couple of hours anyway she went on to be the local champion she took part in regional championships she wants she became Swedish national champion Women’s Champion she took part in the European champions and won those and then she moved to America this years later in early twenties to the World Championships where she lost and she said I was kind of relieved in a way because I thought the world’s number one would would be a lot better than I was and she was anyway she set it then the first women’s pool league which is now an international thing she runs tournament she she gives master classes she’s written book she had her own TV show she loves it and she said you know I still when I go to the pool table I don’t know I couldn’t tell you if I’d been there for twenty minutes or three hours I could show up lost in chat the interesting to me was I couldn’t stand geometry at school but a particular thing about geometry couldn’t stand it I couldn’t get my head round it said but pool is all geometry when the pool when the balls move you just see new angles opening up the new shapes and said I actually used pool now to teach children geometry the thing I didn’t like and one of the ways you know that you’re in your element is that your sense of time changes you know if you’re doing things you don’t like an hour five minutes feels like an hour if you’re doing things you love to do an hour feels like five minutes and this is the other element so to speak of the element but one of them is aptitude but the other is passion it’s not enough to be good at something to be in your element I know lots of people who do things they’re good at that they don’t like they’re just good at it one of the stab rook in the early 80s called the arts in schools and know if any of you know this book but it was with the Gulbenkian foundation we had a brilliant editor on the book called Millicent and asked her one day over and said how long have been an editor he said about five years now well she was in their late thirties at that point so I said well what we’re doing before said I was a concert pianist I said what happened bit of a segue isn’t it by the way this happens doesn’t it we’re being brought up with this idea that life is linear haven’t we this is an idea this is perpetuated when you come to write your CV now that you set out your life in a series of dates and achievements in a linear way you know as if your whole existence has progressed in an ordered structured way to bring you to this current interview who are having at the moment and it all gives the impression that were in control of what we’re doing and that our life was not the random series of chaotic events that that you don’t want to present to a prospective employer did you know my life was a mess right until now frankly I mean I look at my CV occasion I think I didn’t plan this I didn’t I mean I didn’t think when I was walking to the 4-square temple in Liverpool if it all goes well you know one day I’ll be at the Conway hole you know talking at the School of Life you know you don’t plan things like that do you I mean you you take opportunities and you respond to them but you take them more willingly if they correspond to your own attitudes and sensibilities so I said to Millicent I say Leah why had you take this well trodden path from being a concert pianist to being a book editor and she said what happened was she was giving a concert at the in the Purcell room on the south bank and at the end of the concert she went off for dinner with the conductor and the conductor said you were brilliant tonight Millicent and she said well thank you very much and there was pause and then she said he said but you didn’t enjoy it to do she said enjoy what so that the performance she said no no not especially he said do you enjoy it she said what performing said yeah I said no not really I suppose not ready he said why do you do it then and she said well I suppose because I’m good at it and he said you know being good at something isn’t a good enough reason to do it not to spend your life doing it and she realized what happened was that she’d been born into a musical family she’d shown a talent she taken all that guild all exams she’d gone to a musically based school she went to the Royal College of Music where should a music degree and then she did a doctor music degree and then she’ll as the night follows the day I progressed on to the concept platform in my mid-twenties and nobody stopped to ask me if I wanted to do it and she said I didn’t ask myself I just took it for granted that that’s what my life was going to be I said it was only when he asked me that that I realized that I didn’t like it my whole life she said the thing that I’ve loved to do is books I love reading books I love writers I love being with writers I love the literary culture and she said I I crammed him wherever I could but I never thought that was an available life for me and I decided there and then that I was going to do the thing I wanted to do and said at the end of that season I closed the piano lid and I’ve never opened it since and I’ve lived in the world I want to be in I’ve been writing when working on books she had never been happier never poorer but never happier and that’s the thing that being any relevant doesn’t necessarily entail financial riches but it does offer you a much surer guarantee of some sort of spiritual fulfillment and I use the word spiritual advisedly when I say I have some reservations are organized religion that’s just a personal thing but not about spiritual things and what I mean by spirit is that sense of what animates your life now we use this term all the time in everyday life we talk about being in high spirits or low spirits we talk about being lifted up or down if you’re in your element doing whatever it is that you love to do then at the end of the day or the end of the week you can be physically exhausted by it but spiritually uplifted but if you’re doing things you don’t care for at the end of the day you can feel physically fine but down and needing to lift yourself up again and in the end it’s about energy that’s all life is isn’t it it’s about energy it’s what stirs your energy what encourages it what fuels it and what takes it from you and I find that if you’re doing things that you love to do if you’re in your element if you’re following a passion of some sort that you get energy from some activities take it from you don’t they you change you’re like doing something you feel that it’s drained you but I see people doing things they love to do and their energy levels have risen because of it because they take energy from the activity it doesn’t drain their energy and since life is essentially energy it seems to me rather important that we try to pursue those things for ourselves and the book is about that and it’s also about the importance of creating the conditions under which that will happen when I talk about there being another climate crisis I think it’s because so many people have denied themselves that possibility now it doesn’t follow that you know what this is in your case I know a lot of people have stumbled across the things they love to do and have taken the opportunity when it’s arisen other times they’ve been helped by other people have seen their talent before they saw it in almost every case there are Mentors some doubt there who supported and helped you one of the people in the book just a final example is a guy called Bart Connor if you heard about Connor Bart Connor lives in Norman Oklahoma I do a lot of work in Oklahoma these days and on this creativity mischief that’s happening across the state when Bart was six he discovered that he could walk at his hands as easily as he could walk on his feet now we don’t know how he discovered this but he did and he said it wasn’t much use you know but he was in demand socially and he said you know whenever there’s a party at the house and the conversation stalled you know his dad would say Bart just do the hands they go very with you and the conversation would pick up again and then he found he could walk up and down stairs on his hands as easy as on his feet he’s done it for me and it’s a longer story I can’t go into it anyway here but nobody thought much about at this it was just Bart party trick but his mother did and when he was eight he said his mother spoke to the school he was at and with the school’s permission took him downtown in Morton Grove Illinois to the local gymnastic Center and he said I’ll never forget the feeling when I walked into this gymnasium I said why he said it was like a mixture of Santa’s grotto and Disneyland said really he said yes it was intoxicating intoxicating I said why what way he said well there were wall bars there were ropes there were trampolines mats so it was intoxicating well is that how you feel when you walk into gymnasium is it looking around not everybody I feel has this feeling funny in toxic I don’t I don’t find it intoxicating to in a gymnasium on the country I need to get intoxicated if I if I get within 50 yards of a gymnasium hey he went in and he started going every day because it was something he could do and he loved it ten years later he walked onto the mat at the Montreal Olympics represent United States in the male gymnastics squad he went on to be the most decorated male gymnasts in American history he lives now in Norman Oklahoma he’s married to Nadia common edge remember she was the first perfect ten in women’s gymnastics they have a wonderful little boy called given after Bob Dylan why not Bob we don’t know it’s it’s what comes to spending your life upside down probably he and Nadia have their own gymnastics center they’re leading members the world’s Special Olympics movement so between them that helped to liberate the gymnastic capabilities of thousands and thousands of athletes with special needs now just two quick points about this the first is that Bart’s mother could have said about stop it with the hands thing today when it was six you know we get it we get it you can do it now get over it get on with your homework do what you meant to do but she didn’t she couraged him and because of that he let went on to have this extraordinary life but the other point is that even though she encouraged him she couldn’t have known the journey he was about to take she couldn’t have anticipated it could she because life is not like that it’s not linear when you follow your interest when you connect with your own true energy your life takes a different path new people come into it a new opportunity created you affect their lives and they affect your lives it’s a a process of reciprocity something Joseph Campbell said I mean his expression is about following your bliss but he means the same thing essentially which is if you do that opportunities open up that weren’t there before and other people wouldn’t have had because this is your life that’s opening up you know I’m sure that Bart’s mother didn’t think you know here’s Bart he’s six it can do this Hammes thing there’s this girl in Romania I believe you know and I have a Bob Dylan album it’s a natural it’s a natural and the reason is that we create our own liars we create it for ourselves it’s the gift of human life that you’re not committed to a single course you can change course you can create and you can recreate your life and you’re more likely to do that if you tap into the thing that you find motivation fulfilling than not because in the end it’s simply that it’s about energy it’s um the last example this is my our son went to the University of Southern California and it’s interesting because that it’s quite an expensive place and on the first day Terry and I went along and all the new students were taken off for their academic briefing and we were taken off to the finance department for a form of grief counseling and we just spent the afternoon tearing up checks till it didn’t hurt us anymore and but one of the professor’s they gave a great talk he said know now that your kids are here leave them alone they’ll spare them your advice if you can he said because you don’t know what they’ll discover about themselves while they’re here and they said he gave the example was out on some he said when his son would start at USC – about 12 years before ten or twelve years before he said he was planning to do classics he’s going to major in classics and he said we’re a bit worried about that because we walked for what type of a job would you get with a classics degree he said so we’re really relieved when at the end of the first year of college he came home and said you know mum and dad and think I don’t think I’ll do classics as a main as a major he said okay trying to suppress our enthusiasm for this decision isn’t great is it why is that he said honestly I don’t think it’s gonna be very practical it’s all right okay said so I think I’m gonna do something else that be more useful he said great what’s that he said philosophy and they said so we pointed out that none the big philosophy companies were hiring at the moment the job market was a bit sluggish in philosophy and he said anyway he went back and he did the years philosophy but he ended up majoring in art history he said never tell you that here we are ten years later he has a job in a major auction house he travels the world he makes good money but enough for himself he loves the life he leads and the people he leads it with and you know he couldn’t be feeling better about how this has turned out and he said the reason he got the job was because of his knowledge of art history his grounding in ancient cultures and the intellectual training that came with his philosophy program he said but if he’d gone into USC and we’d said him no here’s the plan why don’t you do philosophy art history and classics and you never know ten years now there may be a job in an auction house you know it could just line up that way and they say it isn’t that way because of the essentially creative nature of being alive of being a human being and to me it’s an essential principle it’s why I argue so hard about reform in education because our education systems are based on a linear mode of production and it’s I believe why so many people end up feeling detached from their own talents because they’ve been through an education system that prioritizes certain types of talent and marginalizes the vast majority of other ones and if you’re not good at certain things like if you’re not good at mathematics you’re assumed not to be good generally and for me it’s why we have to argue for a transformation education systems are not just that but also in our workplaces but it begins the transformation of ourselves it’s something that we came the view that came we came to the Vancouver peace summit was that you can’t the summit the Dalai Lama said you cannot promote world peace if you are angry it’s as simple as that it’s Gandhi’s point you have to be at peace with yourself not complacent with yourself but at least at peace with your own possibilities and as Gandhi said you have to be the change you want to see in the world you can’t promote things which you are into which you are insensitive it’s why so many teachers have a problem protein creativity because they themselves aren’t in touch with their own creative possibilities and why that’s a bigger hill that we have to climb but in the end I think it comes back to what Carl Jung said he said that I am NOT what has happened to me as a human being I am what I choose to become it’s the same point George Kelly made when he said that nobody needs to be the victim of their own biography and as Jung said you’re what we choose to become and as a human being you’re born with a lot of choices and I think for our own fulfillment for the footprint of the people around us we should be sure to explore them and make the right one thank

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