Fascinating Response To The “Connie Gordon Challenge”
From Michael Modzelewski, adventure speaker, TV host, author
Originally printed in “Sharing Ideas” Oct./Nov. 1996, Vol. 19, Issue 1, Royal Publishing, Walters Speaker Services
1) Who has had the most profound effect on your career?
Dottie and Lilly Walters. Their book Speak and Grow Rich is the “Bible” — full of practical wisdom for all communicators.
2) What professional achievement/creation are you most proud of?
Publishing my first book, “Inside Passage: Living With Killer Whales, Bald Eagles and Kwakiutl Indians.” Not for the royalties received, but for one single letter that made all the work worthwhile.
3) Whom do you admire most and why?
My wife and manager, Paula. The most positive, giving person; with an ever-present smile. I’ve learned, with ease, that the highest honor for a man on earth is to see the ‘love light’ in a woman’s eyes; and to never do anything to diminish that honor. Paula inspires me to be the very best person I can be. It’s no coincidence that the deeper we grow personally — the more successful we are professionally. More than one meeting planner has remarked to Paula over the phone: “Wow! If you, the speaker’s wife can genuinely talk so highly of him, I’m impressed — for who really knows him ‘for better or worse’?”
4) If you could have dinner with one person (past or present) who would it be? Why?
The exploration never ends Henry David Thoreau — in his cabin at Walden Pond. The Transcendentalist writer/philosopher has influenced my thinking greatly: (e.g.) “One person with courage is a majority.” “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” “Beware of any enterprise that requires new clothes.”
5) What book are you reading now?
“The Soul of the World,” edited by Phil Cousineau. A wonderful compendium of universal wisdom.
6) Your all-time favorite book?
The exploration never ends”The Odyssey” by Homer. Odysseus was the original adventurer/questing spirit. He had an unquenchable thirst for direct experience; the “need to know” what lay beyond the limits of geography and human boundaries. A genuine “Action Hero.” I often think if he were alive today, he would scoff at the lofty, near-worshipful importance some give to high-tech gizmos and gadgets (‘Virtual Reality’!) — seeing many of them as inducers of passivity; disconnecting us from active, sensual participation in life.
7) What advice would you give to one entering the world of professional speaking?
Find your passion and speak from the radiant heart.
8) What’s next for your field in the U.S. and internationally?
The world is becoming increasingly mechanized/automated. Our human spirit feels stifled, unfulfilled. Themes of “Personal Adventure” and “Human Potential” are more needed and in-demand by audiences than ever before.
9) What is your wish for yourself?
To know this life as the awesome, miraculous gift it is. To fully realize every moment by breathing in the world… breathing out the self. To live every day as if it were my first and last upon this earth.
10) Your wish for the world?
That we realize that what is “outside” of ourselves originates within… We should give up our fight to subdue nature, understanding that the result is only imprisonment for ourselves. We are now our own “jailers” — carrying keys to locked doors, instead of opening our unlimited minds. In the wild depths of Canada, an “uneducated” woodsman once showed me that mental power; the potential we all possess. After placing me in a state of light hypnosis (really my own “letting go” into self-realization), Will Malloff said he was placing a hot butter knife atop my bare arm. As soon as the metal touched flesh he immediately snapped his fingers ending the “trance” and said to grab the knife. It was stone-cold… but there on my forearm was “The Power of Suggestion:” a tiny burn-blister, perfectly formed in the shape of the knife.
Is it any wonder where cancer comes from? Or how man might really fly with wings of eagles? It’s all within us to decide… how high or low we want to go.