A few weeks ago, I had one of those days. You know what I’m talking about. You’re going to a meeting when someone suddenly cuts you off. You decide to grab a quick cup of coffee at Starbucks. Instead of moving at the normal fast pace, the line seems to take forever. Finally getting your coffee, you glance at your watch and think you have just enough time to make it to the meeting. But when you rush back out to your car, you find someone has decided to park behind you. After locating the offending car owner, you are back on your way only to get a phone call asking if you could delay the meeting until tomorrow.
Life’s frustrations. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget what truly matters.
During this particularly frustrating day, I heard something that immediately changed my point of view. Immaculee Ilibagiza was visiting Nashville in a few weeks. Just thinking of her story changed my perspective in an instant.
Do you know her story?
One of the Most Powerful Stories I’ve Ever Heard
Immaculee grew up in Rwanda and had a fairly normal life until 1994 when everything changed. Hutu extremists seized control of power and began a genocide that would rip her world apart. Immaculee hid for 91 days with seven other women in a small bathroom as killers searched for them.
Daniel Burrus is a world renowned business strategist, futurist and technology forecaster. He is the CEO and founder of Burrus Research, a firm that helps spot trends for clients to take advantage of coming market forces. His latest book Flash Foresight is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.
In his book, he outlines seven principles of transformation including:
1. Start with certainty
4. Take your biggest problem—and skip it
5. Go opposite
6. Redefine and reinvent
7. Direct your future
You provide seven triggers for users to pursue to create their own flash foresights. What’s the history of the development of these triggers? Which came first? Did you end up discarding or merging other potential triggers?
On Friday, June 15, 2012, Nik Wallenda became the first person to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. In just over twenty-five minutes, he crossed 1,800 feet calmly despite gusting wind, spraying water and the pressure of the whole world watching. As we watched from the comfort of our living room, my family and I barely breathed.
Making it all the more dramatic and nerve-wracking was the Wallenda family history. Nik is the seventh generation of a family known for such stunts. Several of his family members have died during daredevil attempts. Nik’s hero is his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, who famously fell to his death while crossing the wire in 1978.
What was striking was that Nik was completely calm as he stepped out onto the wire. ABC was broadcasting the event and had even rigged Nik with a microphone, allowing him to talk to a worldwide audience as he crossed.
Nik’s dream is definitely not my dream. In fact, I can safely say that his dream is my nightmare. Still, I admire his tenacity and his achievement. A few of the keys to his success were evident:
Buzz Bissinger has so many awards for his writing that I’m not sure where he can keep them all: the Pulitzer Prize, the Livingston Award, the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award, the National Headliners Award among many others. He is best known for his nonfiction book Friday Night Lights. His newest book is called Father’s Day, a deeply personal and moving book about his relationship with his two sons. Born premature and just minutes apart, his twin boys ended up very different because of a few precious minutes.
After reading his newest book about his son, I spoke with Buzz Bissinger about this very personal story.
I described this story, or as the subtitle aptly points out, this journey, to someone recently. I’m curious, though, how would you describe the book in a few words?
Father’s Day is a journey across the country. But it is really the journey of a lifetime, both to discover a son who is different from the mainstream and also my own journey to better understand myself and the degree to which my relationship with my own father, my ambition, my insecurities, have informed me as a parent and father.
In this very personal, and remarkably candid journey, we meet your entire family. But obviously the focus is on your extraordinary son, Zach. You take a cross country trip in part to know your son. I haven’t met him, but you can’t finish the book without feeling you know him as well as it may be possible to know him. When I finished, I flipped all the way back to the first pages where I underlined this: “I love my son deeply, but I do not feel I know him nor do I think I ever will.” By the end of the trip, did that change for you?
Yes. I found all sorts of emotions and abilities in Zach I never knew were there—remarkable empathy, his determination to be responsible and independent, his powers of observation even when I didn’t think he was paying any attention, his steadying influence upon me when I grew volatile.