"It is not the mountain that we conquer, but ourselves", said Sir Edmund Hilary. Wise words, but all I could think to myself was "Stay awake." We had been walking for 9-hours through blanket snow under a full moon. I had vomited more than 20 times at this point (altitude can surprise the body) but the mountain guides (whose expertise and judgement was always superb) gently encouraged me on. Around me, there is a small family of newly formed friends who are leaning on each other, both mentally and physically. "Pole pole" is the mantra (Swahili for "slowly slowly"). One step at a time, we can scarcely imagine the summit. As this keynote will make clear, climbing mountains is about taking it slow, getting up afterfalling down, conquering the self-defeating voices inside of us, and savouring the journey as well as the destination.
Clowns frighten the hell out of some people (maybe it's the white face paint and masks...not to mention the 'IT' movie). But what scared about clowns me more than face paint was the idea of being a clown. Imagine dressing up in that ridiculous garb, being responsible for eliciting joy and laughter in others, the expectation that a clown can perform tricks and stunts on demand, and doing it all for the first time with people I had never met and in a foreign country - and in Russia of all places! The idea first came when I got a letter from Patch Adams (the original clown doctor), after writing to him about how he uses humour in medical practice. Patch invited me to join him and a troupe of 30 humanitarian clowns(hailing from 10 countries) on their 32nd annual clowning tour of Russia. I hesitated, and at 3am one morning(a time when all good ideas appear) embraced the uncertainty and booked my ticket. What came next was a colourful and unexpected journey that taught me to embrace uncertainty, experiment continually,bounce back from failure, and marvel at the kindness of strangers.
(Good) Social Media
What if social media could make us better people? That's the question that sparked Crane Blog. Sam folded one thousand origami cranes and spontaneously gives them to people who have done good things in everyday life. Each story is shared on Facebook and Instagram via Crane Blog, along with a photo of each crane. Sam uses Crane Blog to demonstrate how being proactive, reactive and inactive on social media can all be methods for making this world a better place.