Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Inspiration: is this what you are looking for? Ross Fisher at TEDxStuttgart

Inspiration: is this what you are looking for? Ross Fisher at TEDxStuttgart

Translator: Ana Joldes
Reviewer: Denise RQ Good evening ladies and gentlemen! (German) Good evening,
my ladies and gentlemen, it gives me a joy to be here. (English) That’s the extent
of my German. (Applause) Thank you! Thank you very much! (Laughter) My gift to you is ten minutes. My question to you is why are you here? And we’ve heard some amazing talks. We’ve heard amazing passion, we’ve heard information about
the traffic system in Stuttgart that terrifies me. (Laughter) We’ve heard about bacteria,
we’ve heard about amazing things. My question is why are you here? I was desperate to go
to a TEDx conference. I live in England, and near to where
I live is a place called Birmingham. And I saw advertized TEDxBirmingham. So I emailed the organizer and said,
“Please, can I have a ticket?” And he emailed me back and he said, “Thank you for your inquiry.
What would you like to speak on?” (Laughter) It took me aback a little
and I wrote back and said, “No, I’m looking for tickets.” And he wrote back and said,
“No, I’m looking for speakers.” (Laughter) So, last year I was privileged to be
at a presentation conference in London where I met Dirk, one of the organizers, and I knew that Dirk
was working on TEDxStuttgart. I emailed him to find out
what was happening about TEDxStuttgart. He wrote back and said,
“It’d be great if you could come.” I said, “Yes, that’d be really nice.” And he wrote back and said,
“So what are you speaking on?” (Laughter) There’s a bit of a theme running
through here, and you can understand that these sort of things
make life a little difficult. So the question is what should
a pediatric surgeon bring to you? What would you be interested in? And then I put myself in the position
of the audience because actually, I’m a bit of a reluctant audience member
thrust on to the stage. And I thought,
“Well, what am I interested in?” I’m interested in
information that’s right, I’m interested in entertainment
and passion, like I’ve not seen before. But actually, why was I going to TEDx?
Was it one thing in particular? Why did you come? Was it one lecture? Actually, I think
I was looking for inspiration. And that’s what I’d like
to talk to you about this evening. So this is me in my younger days
doing an operation. I decided, as a medical student,
that I’d like to become a surgeon. And in surgery we go through
basic surgical training, and we do lots of different things. So I worked in neurosurgery,
in cardiac surgery, orthopedic surgery, vascular surgery, general surgery
and none of them quite got me with the passion
like you’ve seen displayed. And then one day, I was working
in pediatric surgery, and I was explaining to the parents
of this three-year-old boy about what his problem was,
and what we needed to do to fix it. And as I was writing in my notes,
he nipped them and sat on my lap. Now, I never had an orthopedic patient
sit on my lap, or a cardiac patient, and that changed my life in a little way. And then the little boy said to me,
“What are you writing?” And I was writing
in the notes, and I said, “Well, I’m writing about
you and your problem. And I’m telling Mommy
and Daddy how we’re going to fix this.” And he said,
“Who’s going to fix this problem?” And I said, “Well, my boss,
he’ll be fixing the problem.” “No!”, he said, “no.” He looked really quite stern
and a little bit worried, and he said, “I want you to fix it.” And that moment changed my life. That was a little bit of inspiration
to do pediatric surgery. So after a long training,
I’ve moved around the country, around the world, done a lot of training,
and now I work in Sheffield, which is in the north of England,
and I’m pediatric surgical oncologist. That means I operate
on children with cancer. That usually freaks people out a little, but if I tell you that 80% of children
with cancer are cured, you can see
that’s a slightly different view. This is a special X-ray called an MRI scan
which looks through the body, and we’re looking
in what we call the transverse plane. If I can help you, this is
the spine at the back, there’s a kidney here, and there
should be one of these over here. But this is a kidney with cancer in it. This is a Wilms’ tumor. So my colleagues in oncology gave
this child chemotherapy for seven weeks, and then I did the surgery
and removed the tumor, and this child is cured of cancer. And that’s pretty inspirational,
I have to say: the teamwork, the result,
and how his parents feel about that. This is Sophie; on the day she was born, and I met Sophie three weeks later
when she tried to die. So we did an emergency operation
on Sophie, and my friends in the intensive care unit
looked after her, and she went home. Her life was saved. Her mommy sends me
a Christmas card every year. And every year I’m inspired. So my question to you is,
whatever you do in life, “What inspires you?” Because I think most of us have
a little bit of inspiration in our life. Some of us may not feel it
in the same way, we may not express it in the same way
that we’d be encouraged to do, but we all have something in us
that inspires us. So what inspires you? Think about it. Now, to keep you awake, there’s a bit
of audience participation here. If you’d all like to pick up
your goody bag, and if you’ve left it behind,
I’m very disappointed. There’s lots of sweets
and Jonathan’s permission slip, but you should find some bubbles in there. This is where we get to play around a bit. You’ve got your bubbles. When I thought about inspiration,
what I was going to get you to do was turn to the person next to you
and share some inspiration. That would terrify me. (Laughter) And you think this is frightening. It would terrify me
because inspiration is very personal, and it’s often very fragile. And sharing with you that Winnie the Pooh
a little bear written about by A.A Milne inspires me, you might think, “What?” So there’s a fragility to our inspiration. But what I’d like you to do
is to share your inspiration through the medium not of dance
but of bubbles. So I’m giving you permission
to get your bubbles out, and I want everyone
to share your inspiration. Think about the things
in your life that inspire you and just share them. Nobody’s actually going
to ask you what they are, and I want to look out
and see everybody doing it. The lights are bright.
Most people are inspired. These are some of the things
that inspire me. And as you look around
and see all those bubbles, that in itself is inspirational. People are inspired
to do different things. And it doesn’t mean
that it has to be creative, it can be something to do with your work,
your family, your personal life. Everyone seems to be using
dictionary definitions. “Inspire” means to animate with purpose. To animate with purpose may be
a person or it may be a project, and the interesting thing for me,
and I’m amazed that you’re listening, to me, speaking my language,
when this isn’t yours, is that you understand me. But another meaning of the word
“inspiration” in English, is to take a breath in. You inspire and then expire. And that’s an analogy
I’m going to work with, as well as the bubbles, because we’ve
blown our inspiration into the bubbles. One of my other responsibilities
in the hospital is trauma surgery and resuscitation. And the first thing we do
when we come across a victim of trauma is we assess them
for breathing; first thing. We look, listen, and feel for breathing. And if the patient is not breathing, we don’t do anything else
other than breathe into the patient. We give them
what some people call “a kiss of life”. Our breathing “animates with purpose”
with that patient. Inspiration animates
our life with purpose. So the next part of getting involved
with the speaker is you’ve got some balloons. Take out your balloon, please. There should be two balloons;
take your balloon out. I want you to look at your balloons.
Talk to your balloons, love your balloons. The first balloon, I want you to consider
as a project in the past that you’ve had inspiration for. Something you thought —
had one of Jonathan’s moments, and thought, “I am going to write a play.” Something in your life
that you were inspired to do. The second balloon
is something in the future that you’re looking for inspiration for. Maybe it was the reason
you came to TEDx this evening. And what I want you to do,
good man down the front here starting it, is I want you to blow your balloons up. If you can’t blow your balloon up, ask
a friend to give them some inspiration. I need some balloons blowing-up people. (Laughter) There’s always one. So what I want you to do now,
is hold your balloon up. So I should be looking at
lots of inspiration out there. No need to wave them around you.
Hold your balloons up. Now, if you completed your project,
I want you to tie a knot in it. If you didn’t complete the project,
then just keep your balloon held up, without a knot in the end of it. But also look around, and you’ll see
some people who don’t have a balloon. Or some of them are just really boring.
And they need to talk to Jonathan. (Laughter) Some people don’t feel though that inspiration plays a part
in their lives and that’s OK. What I’d like you to do now is share
your inspiration with the audience. Completed projects,
bat them out in the audience. If you didn’t complete it,
then let it go, and it should fart around the room. I love that. You should be up here,
seeing what I’m seeing. It’s great. (Laughter) Super! Now, some people
would have been sitting there thinking, “I don’t need inspiration in my life.” Because they are driven. And they succeed in what they want to do
without inspiration, which is great. Some of us have inspiration in our life,
and it makes a difference. OK, enough now. (Laughter) I have reanimated you,
and you just got carried away. Stop! But my question to you is,
if you were inspired to run a marathon, did you just go,
“Yeah, I’m going to run a marathon.” Or did you actually go out and train
so that when you cross the finish line 42 kilometers later — Please stop. Thank you. What’s German for “stop”? (Laughter) If you decided you wanted to lose weight, if you decided you want
to go back to dancing, if you decided
you wanted to paint a picture, it didn’t just happen
because you were inspired. Do you think that I got through 20 years
of pediatric surgical training, long nights on call, writing theses,
writing exams, studying, dead children, trauma, and all the thousands
natural shocks that flashes air through just because of one small boy? No, there’s more to life
than just inspiration. The point is that some of our projects
are purely motivation. They may be your boss
on top of you saying, “Get this done!” They may be your bank balance saying,
“Get this done.” And those things are done probably
without much inspiration at all. But even if you’re a painter, or a dancer, and there’s something
that you want to create, it’s not just the desire to do
that that brings it about. Everything has a degree of inspiration
and motivation to complete your project. Your filled balloons, whatever you’ve batted around
and shared with each other, they’re a combination
of inspiration and motivation. So the question is what does inspiration do
to animate with purpose? Now I was going to pick on Tran
and get her to tell me what’s happening in this histopathology. But if I had to tell you
you need to look for ganglion cells most of you would say, “I can’t see any,” which is true,
there are no ganglion cells in this. One of the conditions I look after
is something called Hirschsprung’s disease which is a problem
that new-born babies are born with where the nerve to the bowel doesn’t work. Now, when I explain this to parents,
one of the analogies I use is it’s like having a mobile phone,
with no SIM card. You can turn it on,
but it doesn’t work to make calls. And so this baby’s bowel is born closed,
is a normal bowel, but it shuts tight and nothing can go through it. So these children need surgery, and that’s one of the operations
I used to do. In 2004, I had a baby boy transferred
to my care with Hirschsprung’s disease. And we did a surgery, and he went home
with three weeks of age, parents were delighted,
everything was a success. He came back a month later with
a complication of that, enterocolitis; and there was nothing we could do
but watch him die. I was devastated.
His parents were devastated. And that’s one of the hard things
that we do. A year later, I had another telephone call
from Birmingham, as it happens, to say, “We have another child
with Hirschsprung’s disease, could you accept their care?” I said, “Yes, send him across.” The doctor on the phone said,
“There’s one problem.” He said, “I’ve spoken with this family,
and last year, they had a baby boy under your care who died.” You can imagine how I felt. And then the doctor said to me, “But there’s something you need to know. The family know that you’ll be
in charge of his care, and they insist. They want you to look after him.” And that’s inspirational.
That’s inspirational and motivational. We did her surgery,
and she’s now nine years of age. Her parents love her to bits,
and I’m deeply proud of what we did. Inspiration, yes, that inspires me hugely, but it also helped me to understand
what inspiration actually is. What that inspiration did for me
was forced me to look at myself, the way the family did
rather than the way I did. So my self-doubt, my self-deprecation,
my self-limitation, I had to view the way they viewed me. They trusted me,
even though I wasn’t sure. And that’s what I believe
inspiration does for us. It changes our view of who we are. And it could be something in that,
whatever you blew into your bubbles, however you figured
what your inspiration was. Inspiration allows us
to see inside our self and to see who the true person is. Now, it may be sunsets,
it may be a sporting hero, it may be a piece of music, it may be
a family friend struggling with cancer. But what we see in them
is reflected on us and allows us to see
our inner self, our better self. And that’s what I believe
inspiration does to animate purpose. You’ve got a balloon, number 2. I’d like you to look at
your balloon number 2. Originally, I was going to get you
to write on them, but what I want you to consider is
why your balloon number 2 is empty? What is it that you have not got, that you are looking for inspiration for
to change that? And what I’d like to suggest to you
is that you may be waiting on a sunset, a piece of music, something
to follow onto your laptop, but actually what you’re looking for
is within you right now. The thing that’s going to change
your life is not inspiration but it’s your inner self. And whoever you are,
whatever you want to do in life, the things that you’re inspired for,
you can do. Because you’re not superhuman, it doesn’t turn you into a superhuman
with superhuman powers, it just lets you
be the best that you can be. And that’s what you’re looking for
not inspiration. (Applause)

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