Living With Eyes Wide Open

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Closing Speaker Isaac Lidsky Offers Final Notes of Inspiration


Closing Main Stage speaker Isaac Lidsky wrapped up Convening Leaders 2017 yesterday with a message of encouragement and motivation. Known to have one of the “most eclectic resumes in business,” Lidsky has been a child television star and Supreme Court clerk, graduated early with honors from Harvard Law School, and has become a successful businessman and best-selling author. He also happens to be blind.

Lidsky shared ways for us to create our own reality and shape our own stories of success. When he was first diagnosed with the degenerative disease that would eventually take his sight, he was convinced that his life was over. His new reality was that he’d live an unremarkable life, alone, sad, and dependent on others. That all changed the day someone offered him a cane, a tool to help him navigate his new world. His epiphany? That there is only right now, in this moment, and only we can take control of our own reality.

He began to look for small, discreet solutions he could begin to apply to make his life easier and better. He asked himself two important questions: What, precisely, is my problem; and what, precisely, can I do about it? “I realized there were no heroes or villains, just me,” Lidsky said. “When I committed to answering those two questions, I took control of my own reality and held myself accountable. I broke fear’s spell. I refused to be afraid, and then I saw there was absolutely nothing to be afraid of.”

The problem we might face, according to Lidsky, is not necessarily the circumstance itself but rather our fears surrounding it. He encourages focusing on the fear, which replaces the unknown with the awful (a concept he refers to as “awfulizing”), shrinks and distorts our view, and lulls us into inaction. We remove ourselves from the equation and begin to let our “heroes and villains” take over, while we sit on the sidelines and let others command our destiny.

Lidsky believes that we create our own reality, and that’s the reality we believe. The key to his success, he said, was learning to confront his fears, to ask himself the right questions, and to hold himself accountable in order to live the life he really wanted to live. “Going blind taught me to live with my eyes wide open,” he said. “The good news for you all is that you don’t have to actually go blind to live that way.”

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  1. Mary Varone says:

    This session was absolutely amazing and truly inspiring. I want to know more so I’ll be purchasing the book.