If I could tell you just one thing… Encounters with remarkable people and their most valuable advice

“I’ve come to believe that one of the most important things is to see people. The people who opens the door for you, the person who pours your coffee. Acknowledge them. Show them respect. The traditional greeting of the Zulu people of South Africa is Sawubona. It means I see you. I try and do that.” -Bill Clinton

Never has a person practiced more what they preach. The craziest bit, back at the hotel after twelve hours in the field, tired, dusty, depleted, when we were mortals would be up in our rooms ordering room service and hiding, President Clinton is down in the dining room talking to waiters, joking with the other guests, making an American couple’s honeymoon, accepting an invitation to join a family’s table, sitting with Mom, Dad and two saucer-eyed children. He doesn’t stop. He knows what it means to people to meet a president, or more specifically to meet him. And everyone is made welcome Everyone is made to feel important. Everyone is seen.

“It’s the same lesson I learned in that cell. What you have to do is live for the day, you have to say, now is life, this very moment. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not yesterday, it’s now, so you have to live it as fully as you can. Invest in every day.” -Terry Waite

“In that simple statement, she summed up with tremendous courage something we should never forget; we are all members of the same human family. We all have fears, and hope and aspirations. We all have our vulnerabilities, so we should be very careful before we attribute negative stereotypes to other people.”

“I love building things, I love ideas, and I love that you can always empower people and improve systems and make things better. You feel much better as a person if you default to generosity as opposed to being mean-spirited.” – Martha Lane Fox

“No disrespect to Facebook, but the internet is not just Facebook; if you know how to really use the internet, you have access to every opinion, piece of information, and tool out there. It can help us all change things.” (p.49)

“Be bold. If you’re bold you might right royally screw up, but you can also achieve much more, so be bold. You’ve only got your own reputation to lose and that’s not important. It’s much better to strive for something that seems impossible, that’s quite nuts on some level. So be bold, whatever it is. Even if you work on a customer help desk somewhere, ask yourself how can I be bold? Find those small moments of boldness because they are everywhere.” (p.49)

Harry Belafonte

“The greatest force in my life has been coincidence, and having an openness to receiving whatever the people I met offered and wanted. Due to this, my life opened up into a whole set of challenges and joys that I would not have had otherwise.” (p.55)

“Discover the joy of embracing diversity. When people become more open to the strange, to the unusual, to the radical, to the “other” we become more nourished as a species. Currently, our ability to do that is being manipulated, diversity is looked upon as a source of evil rather than as a source of joy and development. We must recapture the profound benefits of seeing the joy in our collective diversity, not the fear.” (p.55)

Sir David Attenborough

“He recommends what he calls an explorer’s mentality, delighting in and savoring all the riches of life as we journey through it. It’s a good thing idea to create more than you consume.”

“I have never met a child that is not fascinated by our natural world, the animal kingdom, and the wonders within it. It is only as we get older that we sometimes lose that sense of wonderment. But I think we would all be better off if we kept it. So my advice is to never lose that, do what you can to always keep the sense of magic with our natural world alive.” (p.61)

Ari Emanuel (Hollywood’s #1 agent)

“I’ve thought about this, and my advice for success comes down to three things: be curious, show up, stay in touch. You have to keep reading, listening, talking, thinking, finding out how people think, what they do. And chase down anything that seems interesting.” (p.66)

“Basically I started out by calling the big buys in the agency world back then. I was a nobody, a pimple on their ass, but I just kept calling them and doorstepping them until eventually they gave me an in.” (p.67)

“When you’re dyslexic, you constantly fail, nothing comes easy, so you lose the fear of failing, you get used to being embarrassed. So cold calling, who gives a shit” They say no, big deal, you just keep calling them till they say yes.”

“You might not be able to read books but you get great at reading people. And it teaches you how to put a team together, because you can’t do everything when you’re dyslexic; you need people to help.”

 

 

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