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Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rocks (SOTR) 2011 (Edinburgh) with: Kirsty Lansdell
Ben Nadel at Scotch On The Rocks (SOTR) 2011 (Edinburgh) with: Kirsty Lansdell ( @kirstylansdell )

The Transformative Power Of Love

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A few months ago, I watched the movie, Eight Grade, which was a challenging but rewarding peek into the final weeks of middle-school for an introverted and somewhat awkward young woman. Of all the memorable scenes, the one that has stuck with me the most is a phone exchange in which a high-schooler asks the lead character (Kayla, played by Elsie Fisher) if she wants to hang out at the mall. This gesture of kindness - as simple and innocuousness as it may seem - is so overwhelming for Kayla that she immediately throws her phone - mid-conversation - onto the bed. It's as if her entire being is so unfamiliar with acts of kindness that her involuntary neuromuscular response is to reject it out of disbelief. For me, it was the most moving scene in the entire film; and, it reminded me of just how powerful and transformative Love can be.


Eigth Grade with Elsie Fisher and Emily Robinson.  

It's not always easy to understand how our actions affect those around us. And certainly, the magnitude of the change that we are capable of creating is almost beyond belief. But, take for example, the "Thanks" that Slawek Ligus offers-up in the Preface to his book, Effective Monitoring And Alerting:

I'd like to start by saying thanks to my grandparents, Zuzanna and Marian Osiak, who in 1998 helped me buy my first O'Reilly book, the first edition of Linux in a Nutshell by Ellen Siever et al., when at 13 years of age I was on a very limited budget. Specifically, grandma Zuzia persuaded the shop clerk in Katowice, Poland to drop the price by 50% despite [the] book-store's strict policy of not offering discounts in excess of 20%. Little did we suspect that after fast-forwarding into the future by a decade and a half, I got to work with Ellen's editor, who created the idea of this Linux book.

It's possible that Slawek would have become a computer programmer no matter what. But, it's also possible that the generosity of this one store clerk, 20 years ago, literally changed the course of Slawek's life.

I choose to believe the latter because I want to live in a world where every interaction, delivered with love, is an opportunity to fundamentally alter and improve the lives of the people around me. Not every interaction will yield such change. In fact, most may not. But, some inevitably can; and, I want to make sure that I'm ready to leverage every opportunity that presents itself.

Reader Comments



You are too kind, good sir!

You know, just the other day, I was thinking about a story you shared like 20-years ago at Koko. I vaguely remember it being about Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. I don't recall the context of the conversation, but you were explaining that Reagan and Gorbachev were arguing about Cold War issues when Reagan got up from his chair, walked away, then came back, sat down, offered his hand to Gorbachev, and was like, "Let's start over, Hi, I'm Ronald Reagan."

I don't know why, but for whatever reason that has always stuck with me. I guess I really like the idea of being able to just start over with people. To let go of the past and move forward into the future.

I believe in love. I believe in compassion. I believe in human rights. I believe that we can afford to give more of these gifts to the world around us because it costs us nothing to be decent and kind and understanding. And, I want you to know that when you land on this site, you are accepted for who you are, no matter how you identify, what truths you live, or whatever kind of goofy shit makes you feel alive! Rock on with your bad self!
Ben Nadel