After a very long flight, I am standing at the luggage carousel waiting for my luggage to circulate. Still scouring suitcases, forty minutes later, I can feel my anxiety escalate. In my mind I'm building the scenerio... the airline lost my luggage, again.
Standing there alone by the revolving carousel, feeling defeated, suddenly I hear an impassioned voice say, looks like the airline lost your luggage. Not even bothering to make eye contact, I launched into my rant...I just bought new clothes( I need for my next motivational speech), new sunglasses and a gift for my mom, all of these are now trapped in my lost luggage that could be anywhere in north america and the truth is I am too exhausted and weary to even care anymore.
I turn around and stare at the floor and the man puts his hand on my shoulder. I can tell by his white shiny shoes that he is an airport volunteer. He says, you look tired... give me your boarding pass and I'll find your luggage. His tone instantly relaxes me. We went over to the luggage counter and filled out the paperwork, in a very zany wry way he continued to joke about lost luggage. Than as he turned to walk away I said, wait thank you, you lifted my spirits.
Read: Never Give Up
When he looked up at me I instantly recognized him, he was my favorite highschool biology teacher and amazing motivational speaker, Mr Constantine. I hated highschool but always looked forward to his class. Mr Constantine dressed really weird ( no color coordination and unfortunate ill fitting clothes), he never combed his hair. Students regularly laughed at his attire and he really didn't seem to notice or care.
Mostly, he inspired me because he taught his class as if nobody was watching.
The seats in his class room were always filled because students sat mesmerized at his teaching style. He revealed the cirriculum in such an unorthodoxed way, always tempting students to think outside of the material and relate it to their lives. He constantly threw out rhetorical questions that kept people thinking. We would hang on his every word and wonder what crazy thing he would do that day.
He constantly invited students up to the front of the room to illustrate how biology is everyday life. Student begged to participate as lively discussions would evolve.
What transpired while watching our classmates perform biology experiments at the front of the room would ultimately transform our understanding of human nature and ourselves. Our minds would race as the crazy professor would make a mad dash to the chalkboard and ferociously scatch out obtuse biology equations that suddenly became clear. The essence of who we are, the incredible human body was being discovered and understood ( and this wasn't a sex education class) in a way we never cared to know before. When students got a flash of insight, Mr. Constantine would burst with pride, further making us melt with motivation.
Students couldn't wait to share what they learned about biology and themselves everyday.
Biology is a facinating subject but only because it was taught to me by a facinating man, Mr, Constantine. I will forever be grateful for being one of his students because he showed me what a great speaker does to an audience. A great speaker transforms you forever.
Twenty Five years later here stood that same man, hair uncombed, long matted white beard, he looked like Santa Clause. The lost luggage lady banged on her bell, I turned around and filled out another form. Moments later I turned around to greet Mr. Constantine and he was gone. His inspiration will live in my work as a motivational keynote speaker forever.