Purpose and luck
August 14, 2016
by LIOR ZOREF @lior
A few weeks ago I was fortunate to experience something I never experienced in lectures.
It didn’t start so well.
I arrived at a local community center tired after a busy day with meetings and another speaking engagement. I was invited by the department for social work at a local city’s Municipality. I did not understand exactly what the nature of the event and who is the audience.
When I got to the entrance, a Pigeon pooped on my chest.
I cleaned up quickly and went inside the meeting room.
I always arrive early to prepare. The room was almost empty, except for a group of people sitting silently in rows first. The meeting organizer greeted me, pointed at them and said, “There is a group of Ethiopians. They are very nice but do not understand English and Hebrew.”
What is going on here? I do not know Amharic!
Then the event started. It was a tribute to community volunteers who help the city residents in need. They help unemployed women, new immigrants, people with disabilities, children with special needs and more.
Most volunteers struggle with their own difficulties and still chose to volunteer on a regular basis to help others.
From the moment I got on stage, something magical happened. I immediately felt special connection with the audience. They laughed, some even cried and they didn’t let me leave. I learned that the Ethiopian community has so many volunteers who have experience in conflict resolution.
After shared my TED Ox story, one of the participants raised his hand and said, “I also wish to hold an experiment”. A lovely man named Yair, blind with a guide dog, he asked whether I would agree to an experiment and asked the audience what the weight of his dog.
I agreed immediately and Yair rose slowly on stage along with his guide dog, Morgan. The experiment was successful and Yair received a standing ovation.
At the end, I told the audience that I am usually invited to speak in front of executives in large organizations. Executives primary goal is make the organization more profitable. After such talks, many leaders tell me that they are looking to do something with more meaning.
Volunteers in the audience had a sense of purpose and meaning bigger than most people I know and this is their gift.
And probably Pigeons poop probably do bring good luck …