Beautiful minds are free from fear: Robert Grant at TEDxOrangeCoast

Beautiful minds are free from fear: Robert Grant at TEDxOrangeCoast

Translator: Esther Lee
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: “If there is any period
one would desire to be born in, is it not the age of revolution; when the old and the new
stand side by side and admit of being compared; when the energies of all men
are searched by fear and by hope; when the historic glories of the old
can be compensated by the rich possibilities of the new era? This time, like all times,
is a very good one if we know what to do with it.” If we know what to do with it. Which reminds me of a story that happened
17-and-a-half years ago for me. I lived in Sydney, Australia,
and I just started a new job. I was asked to go
to a national sales meeting because I was the general
manager of the operation, and I learned that
the national sales meeting was actually on the date
that my wife was due to have our child. So I was very concerned,
I went home and told her, “Look, first children are never
born on their due date. (Laughter) So I’m going to be gone just one night,
and I’m going to Cairns, Australia, and I’m going to be there for one night –
I have to give a speech – and I’m going come back,
and everything will be fine, and very likely, as the doctor told us, you’re not going to have the baby
for about two more weeks.” I went up there, and I was still
negotiating the bonus plan for the year, so I was talking with my new boss,
who is a Swiss gentleman named Rodo. And Rodo had this very,
very heavy thick Swiss accent, and he always smoked cigarettes. And we’re going through
this tough negotiation, and right in the middle
of the negotiation, at 11:45 at night, as we sat in the bar, the phone rings. That’s my wife … And I said, “Is everything okay?” She said, “I just had my water break.” And I thought, “Oh no.” I’m in Cairns. There’s no way that I’m going to be able
to get back down to Sydney in that amount of time, because the doctors always say
it’s about four hours to make it from the time the water breaks
until the baby comes. So I went to my boss –
I knew he had a plane – and I said, “Is there some way
you can fly me down to Sydney tonight, because my wife has just gone into labor.” He said, while he smoked his cigarette, (Inhales) “Give me ten minutes.” (Laughter) “I’ll prepare a flight plan
and we will go.” So I run back to my room;
I take everything off of my bed; I threw it in a suitcase – I remember I still have the remote control that actually went flying
into my suitcase – and I ran downstairs, I’m standing
by the elevator waiting for him, and about twenty minutes later, he finally leisurely walks out
of the elevator, looks at me and says, “Can you believe
I lost the key to my airplane?” (Laughter) So we run, literally run. We get in a taxi, we go to the airport,
and I learn then that the airport lights – this is in Port Douglas – turn on when you actually have
a radio button inside the plane. So you hit the button,
the lights turn on, and he says, “I need you to check the wing,
I need you to check the oil, check the condensation,” and I’m like, “I don’t know anything about this stuff.
Are you kidding me?” So I was really afraid. The people that work with me know
that when I get afraid or stressed, my heart rate really drops,
my blood pressure drops, I kind of have an opposite effect. And in all my companies,
my management teams know this, so when things get really rough and tough,
because I kind of lead turnarounds, they usually buy me a pillow because I fall asleep. (Laughter) So we get in the plane,
we take off, and I’m thinking, “I’ve got to make it to the birth,
I’ve got to make it to the birth,” and I completely fall asleep. (Laughter) And I’m in the cockpit; I’m the co-pilot! So we’re up in the sky. All of a sudden, we’re bouncing around. I wake up, and I look at the dashboard, where everything
had been well lit before, and now it’s completely black. He says to me, “Robert,
can you see the coastline?” And I said, “No, there’s too many clouds.” He says – he’s talking, it’s really loud,
it’s a prop plane, it’s Piper Cup, and he says, “Are you sure
you cannot see the coastline?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he says, “To add
to the drama of the situation … (Laughter) all of our navigation
and instrumentation is inoperative. Can you see the coastline?” (Laughter) So, they actually have to close down
Sydney International Airport to find us. We had flown off-course
towards New Zealand – that’s why he was asking
about the coastline. We only had enough fuel
to make it to Sydney, and now I was really, “I’ve got to make it
to my daughter’s birth,” and now I’m thinking:
“I’ve just got to make it.” (Laughter) So finally, we come into Sydney,
and we land the plane. I rush to the hospital. We land at 3:07, and it takes 30 minutes
to get to Baulkham Hills Hospital, and I’m going as fast as I can. I make it there, I rush
through the labor ward doors, and just as I run into the room
where my wife was having our daughter, the doctor and nurses say “He made it!” and I see my daughter’s head,
just barely crowning, and one minute later, she was born. (Applause) Now, of course, I got to hold her at that moment, and it was the most awe-inspiring
moment of my entire life. I remember thinking,
“This time is a very good one.” But my thoughts are searched
by fear and by hope. Will I be a great father? Those of us that have had children
know this feeling. Will I be able to take on
this responsibility? Will she be the daughter
that I aspire her to be? Will I be that father to her as well? Very often, we all get caught
in moments of fear. Alexander the Great once said, “Man’s immortality is not living forever. Every moment free from fear
makes man immortal.” Man’s immortality is not living forever
because that desire is born of fear! Every moment free from fear
makes man immortal. When you break yourself of fear,
your thoughts go on forever. But how do you do it? Because all of us start to think
in terms of scarcity. Some of us actually make it
to terms of abundance. Harvard Business School asked their students
when they were graduating, “What would you rather have
when you graduate, for a salary?” Scenario A, and all dollars are constant,
is you make $160,000 upon graduation, and the rest of the students
in the cohort, on average, get $150,000. Scenario B is you make $200,000, and the rest of the students,
on average, get $220,000. What do you think they chose? 87% chose A! Now, you would think these are
some of the smartest kids in the world. (Laughter) Right? You would think they’re brilliant; they’re going to Harvard,
they’ve learned about money, and yet they chose the lesser economics. Because they’re more focused
on “having versus having not.” They’re more focused in terms of
“your win is my loss” and vise versa. When actually, abundance
changes everything. Abundance comes
from a place of confidence; scarcity comes from a place of fear. Breaking yourself of that type of thinking will change your life
and change your world. In life, we don’t get
what we deserve, all the time. We get what we expect. Researchers went to a first-grade class,
and they tested all the students, did an IQ test. In that IQ test, the asked everybody – They told the teacher, “You’re not allowed to talk
to the students or parents about this. We’re going to observe you for a year, and you have to sign
a contract of confidentiality on who gets the highest scores.” Of the 30 students tested, five got genius level:
more than 140 IQ scores. Five students. So for the course of the next year,
they monitored the class. They monitored the teacher. At the end of the year, they came back
and tested all the students to see if there were any variations
or differences in the outcomes. Who do you think
got the five highest scores? The five genius students! No great surprise. Except that that wasn’t the true nature
and subject of the research. The true subject of the research
was that they lied to the teacher. None of the students, the year before,
had actually been tested as gifted. Her expectation that those five students,
at a subconscious level – and she really did follow the rules – led those five students
to get the highest scores. Two ways to overcome fear – and these are from my personal
experience in life, so this is not anything more
than just philosophy of Robert. One is: gratitude. I found it impossible to be fearful
and grateful at the same time. If I let my mind stop for a moment
and feel gratitude – even in moments
of despair and difficulty – it makes all the difference in my life. The next way to overcome fear
that I found, personally, is to be intentional in my decisions. Everything that happens to you can either be the best thing
that ever happened to you, or it could be the worst. It’s about your perception of that. About 18 months ago, I had a terrible,
humiliating experience in my life. I had left a wonderful job
two years before, and I left because I was
recruited by Warburg Pincus, a very large private equity fund, to become CEO of Bausch + Lomb Surgical. The intent was to spin out that business, and to take that as a separate business
and try to derive value from it. It was a dog of a business at the time; it wasn’t performing very well at all. During the course of the next year,
we changed the metrics of the business. It succeeded. We did really well. After a year and a half, I was ready. “Okay. The company’s doing great, employee’s willingness-to-recommend
scores are really high, all of our scores across customer
willingness-to-recommend are really high. It’s time.” Because we started doing so well
and forecasted great growth, the parent decided they
weren’t going to spin off the business and that they could derive greater value
by selling it to one party. The entire company. My hopes were dashed. I was broken. That night, I flew home
from New York City, very broken; I actually threw up on the airplane. The next morning, I woke up,
and I remember thinking, “Today can be the worst day of my life,
or it can be the best. It’s up to me.” I decided that it
was going to be the best. Later that day, I had an idea to create the first Medicare opt-out
company in all of healthcare. The first company that takes
no money from the government. I didn’t realize
how big of an idea that could be. It’s a year and a half later,
and Friday, just yesterday, I toured the Bausch + Lomb building. Bausch + Lomb was just bought
by Valeant for nine billion dollars. I toured the Bausch + Lomb building
and made a bid on the property – in 18 months. What can your mind do in 18 months
if you free yourself from fear? Nelson Mandela spent 29 years
in prison as a political prisoner, having done nothing wrong except
express his ideology and philosophy. Everyday, while they made him chip stone, he remembered one poem
by William Earnest Henley. “Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid It matters not how strait the gate
How charged with punishments the scroll I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul” Each of us is the master
of our own fate. We can overcome fear with gratitude. We can overcome fear
with intentional choice. And our perception drives reality. In life, you don’t get
what you deserve, always, but you almost always get what you expect. That moment where I held my daughter,
I decided, 17-and-a-half years ago, that every day
I would tell her I loved her. That she would be a beautiful woman. That she’d be the best daughter
I could ever imagine. Her name is Madeline. And that she would be smart and sophisticated and polite
and kind and grounded. She’s become exactly that. Life happens to us everyday. We can decide what we will do with it. Let’s all decide that we
are the masters of our fate, that we are the captains
of our own souls. Thank you. (Applause)

12 thoughts on “Beautiful minds are free from fear: Robert Grant at TEDxOrangeCoast

  1. Mandela was involved in the establishment of the MK armed guerilla ( Terror some say..) against the appartheid. He was no pacifist.

  2. dyk the first season episode of Deadwood where the pastor has a terminal brain tumor that makes him say things like this? if you can't blame that, shouldn't you be starting a cult?

  3. I salute You, Sir! Just what I needed to hear right now. Thank You. Your Daughter is a lucky Woman having You as Her Dad.

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