Monday, November 7, 2011

30 Days of Thanks - Day 7

I am thankful for...

Learning 2011.

So...a few months ago I was told I could go to Learning 2011!! I'm guessing it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I begged to go...but, it was for very good reason. The keynote speaker was none other than....

President Bill Clinton.

Yep - you heard that right. On the very day of this blog posting...I had the privilege of sitting 6th row during the keynote speech of our 42nd President Bill Clinton. He was awesome. I was pen-less during the speech, so I was limited to what little notes I could take on my phone. are some of the inspirational things that were discussed.

1. He started off by saying how he always likes to be in the audience because when he is talking...he isn't learning.
2. He did talk a little politics - but, it was very tasteful and was more about collaborating than being one-sided.
3. He said when someone asks him a question he always asks himself 3 questions before answering: Will this reduce inequality, instability, and unsustainability? And create more shared opportunities, shared responsibilities, shared sense of community? Shrink the "them" and increase the "us."
4. He talked about when Chelsea went to college she called him one day and said, "Dad - I got the highest grade in the class. It's history class. I really like this class. So, maybe I should study history and not Pre-Med. What do you think." And he told his daughter, "Chelsea, I want you to do what you want to do, what makes you happy. But...people tend to be happiest when they do what they are best at."
5. One issue with politics is each party fights another party with the belief that...If you already have the truth, the evidence doesn't matter.
6. We need cooperation, not conflict!
7. We all need to be learning all the time.
8. You have to be a learner until your last day on earth.
9. The great thing about technology is an 8 year old kid can go on the Internet and find out things that he had to go to college to find out.
10. Everybody has a story.
11. Throughout history, people have learned the most from storytelling.
12. You should never begrudge someone's chance at life.
13. Not just what changes do you do you propose to do it?
14. People have been betting against America for 200 years. Why? Because of innovation.
15. We have a decision making process based on yesterday when it should be based on tomorrow.

He was amazing. There are so many more pages of notes that Ron took...I'm waiting for him to send out all of his notes. His keynote was very informal. Very conversational. The next day we learned that he was supposed to only speak for 27 minutes and then be interviewed for 15 minutes. He spoke for 57 minutes. He just spoke and we listened. We also learned that he had 2 pages of notes. But...he never looked at them once. He was "present" with us.

What an experience. You cannot listen to him speak and not be impressed. Regardless of your political beliefs - he is inspiring.

p.s. - a second keynote and one-man play by John Lithgow was certainly an added plus.

What a conference. I'm thinking all future conferences that I attend will never compare.

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