S1E6: The Importance of Doing While Losing Your VisionDawn interviews co-host Shawn Doyle as the episode’s featured special guest. Shawn’s passion for providing tools and techniques to help people succeed is featured throughout the interview. He goes on to discuss his career mentor, the blessings of Assistive Technologies, negative mindsets, and remedies for a bad day.
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In this episode…
Co-hosts Dawn Prall and Shawn Doyle begin the episode with a conversation about being a doer, specifically, the importance of doing while losing your vision. Dawn and Shawn provide tips for modifying activities, such as exercise. They highlight the positive physical and psychological benefits of being active. The conversation shifts to experiences while running errands and the helpfulness of Assistive Technologies. The co-hosts then ask listeners to write in and share their tips and tricks for being a doer with MacD.
In the next segment, Dawn interviews co-host Shawn Doyle as the episode’s featured special guest. The conversation begins with Shawn sharing advice from his parents that shaped his career and outlook on life. Shawn’s passion for providing tools and techniques to help people succeed is featured throughout the interview. He goes on to discuss his career mentor, the blessings of Assistive Technologies, negative mindsets, and remedies for a bad day.
Dawn and Shawn then exchange views on the book Grit by Angela Duckworth. They build off Duckworth’s definition of grit to include environmental factors – such as relationships. The hosts then provide a visual analogy of grit to gravel and the importance of getting back up after a fall.
Actress, singer, voiceover artist and SiriusXM radio show host Christine Pedi recounts lessons learned from reading Even This I Get to Experience by Norman Lear. In this segment, we hear about the concept of “next” and viewing the “next” as an opportunity. We are encouraged to stay in our present moment and to stay open to lessons we may learn in unexpected places.
The podcast moves on to the regular featured segment from Vispero’s Bill Kilroy, Senior Sales Director for the Northeast, and Mike Woods, Strategic Accounts Manager for Education. Vispero is the world’s largest Assistive Technology for the visually impaired serving people who are blind or low vision. In this episode, Bill and Mike introduce the Transformer, a portable, three in one, high-definition camera. The Vispero duo highlight key features, such as a range of magnification and contrast settings and an OCR option that can convert print material into an audio book for the user.
Other episode highlights include a discussion about Tom Brady’s book The TB 12 Method, specifically touching on his commitment to excellence through training and nutrition. Dawn and Shawn relate commitment to health as an investment in a future self. The episode concludes with a fun trivia game played by co-hosts, Shawn and Dawn, and information sharing on additional resources.
What We Discuss in This Episode
This sixth episode covers the following featured topics:
“Lots of people with macular degeneration – it depends on where they’re at with it early, mid right in stage advance – can still do stuff. Let’s talk about doing the stuff you need to keep doing, because you got to keep doing or you’re going to give up.” (4:09)
“I think stagnation is dangerous because it’s not a natural human condition. When people stagnate, they lose their health, they get worse.” (4:26)
“Exercise releases a lot of endorphins and lots of other chemicals that make you more optimistic. There’s a physical benefit, but there’s also a psychological benefit.” (5:14)
“Don’t be afraid to ask someone, ‘Excuse me, could you help me grab that on the shelf?’ or, ‘What does this say?’ because I find that generally speaking, most people are nice, and are willing to help if you ask for help, which we’ve talked about before.” (8:16)
“I was raised in a household where I was taught by two remarkable human beings that anything is possible. When we fast forward into my life as a trainer, speaker, executive coach, and author, I think I’ve just kind of continued that path, not only for me, but to teach other people that you can do anything in your life as long as you’re willing to do the work. I provide people the tools and techniques to do that.” (12:42)
“The single biggest asset that you have, and I’ll add to that, it’s not the trucks in the building and the products and all this other stuff. It’s the underdeveloped potential of your people…if you can harness the underdeveloped potential of people, and they want to grow? It’s unbelievable what can happen.” (19:10)
“…people say all the time, ‘how can you be motivated at a time like this?’ All of the turmoil that’s going on in our world, all that bad news you see on the media, but we live in an amazing world, in terms of technology. Someone being able to turn on their computer, you control the computer without using a mouse, just purely using vocal commands, or be able to magnify something, or change the mean, it’s just unbelievable, compared to say, Helen Keller’s day, you know where there wasn’t the technology available to her. Now there’s so such great technology available. We’re very blessed to have that.” (21:20)
“Constantly consuming positive, as an antidote to the negative. I call it the Bad Day Prescription if you will.” (26:09)
“…grit is a combination of passion, and perseverance.” (30:39)
“You plan, God laughs. So, you can prepare for what you hope the future will bring. You know, pay your bills, walk your dog, take your vitamins, call your mother. But the minute you assume that things will work out in a certain way, then you are setting yourself up. You don’t have any control over any of it. Especially if you have vision issues.” (37:45)
“That’s probably the key lesson that I pulled from that whole story was, no matter what your life is like, if you really commit to a healthy lifestyle of nutrition, it’s going to fuel you to be better…” (45:49)
“I think that we all make choices, yes, none of us are perfect. We’re all blessed with the talents we have, with the strength we have, with the attitude, with the winning. Nutrition is a part of that, a big part of that. I think one of the things that we try to do with this show and on the website and the SupportSight Foundation is help people learn and educate them about how important all of that those pieces are, with or without MacD. You are what you eat.” (47:29)
“The Transformer is a portable three in one high-definition camera, that actually can be a multi camera system, that you can connect to a standalone monitor, you can connect it to your laptop, MacBook, iPad, or Chromebook. It’s a three in one camera.” (58:13)
Did you do this, did you do that?
Transcription excerpts from this episode
Hello, everyone and welcome to MyMacDLife. I’m your co-host, Shawn Doyle, professional speaker, trainer and book author. I’m here today with my co-host the lovely and talented, the amazing, the incredible, the irreplaceable Dawn Prall, the founder and Executive Director of the SupportSight Foundation, and a visionary. We’re excited to bring you some great information, education, and inspiration. We really want to make a difference in the life of people who are suffering with MacD, and we call it MyMacDLife.
For those of you in the audience today, we’re glad you joined us. We’re always happy you join us, but we’ve got a special interview. We’re going to switch things up a little bit between the co-hosts, me and Shawn Doyle. We’re switching it up a little because I’m going to put my interview hat on. I’m going to interview Shawn, because Shawn’s got an amazing story to tell. After all, MyMacDLife is about stories, amongst other things.
Support for today’s MyMacDLife podcast comes from Healthy Vision Association, Novartis, Vispero, Centric Bank, and Heiko Stein and Associates.
Alright, listen up. I got a delivery. You know, we’re all getting tons of deliveries these days, with COVID and where we’re at with things. So, on the side of the box was DOER. I have a friend who’s not from here, although he’s lived here for a couple decades. He couldn’t figure out what that word was: DOER. He speaks French he speaks a couple different languages. But anyway, great guy. I was like, doer what does that mean? Oh, someone who does things, a doer.
Doing with MacD, doing things when you are losing your vision and you have macular degeneration, you still need to be a doer. It’s not the same as before you had your macular degeneration. If you’re going to use a chainsaw, that I actually ended up buying from this company, you might figure out even more who I ordered from, or if you’re going to use a leaf blower. Lots of people with macular degeneration it depends on where they’re at with it early, mid right in stage advance can still do stuff. Let’s talk about doing the stuff you need to keep doing. Because you got to keep doing or you’re going to give up.
Yeah, and I think stagnation is dangerous because it’s not a natural human condition. You when people stagnate, they lose their health, they get worse.
When you can’t see you want to stop.
You think you can’t do things because you’re not going to be able to do them in the way that you used to. So, let’s modify.
Right so what are things we can do? So first one that popped into my mind was exercise.
Right, whether you were an exerciser, doer, before diagnosis or after, if you’re exercising, there’s a lot of huge health benefits for the heart for the eyes for the blood flow. Exercise releases a lot of endorphins and lots of other chemicals that make you more optimistic. There’s a physical benefit, but there’s also a psychological benefit.
How do you take a walk when you can’t see?
That’s a really good question, I think a couple of ideas would be a treadmill, we have a little more control over the environment that you’re in. So you don’t have to worry about obstacles or tripping over something, which is a very real danger for folks losing a central vision, or having a buddy that will walk with you to say, ‘There’s a stick up here, there’s a log.’ so you don’t trip and fall. You can kind of grab their arm or kind of follow along with them.
You could stay in a familiar place.
If you have a park that you walk in all of the time, and that path is the same, then you would have consistency, routine. Any type of exercise equipment where you’re controlling that environment, whether it’s at the gym or at home, where you’re familiar with the equipment enough to where you are, there’s a rail you can grab if you need to, I think is really helpful. But I think the benefit of exercise is, not only the physical, but also the psychological.
We talk about that a lot. This is about the act of doing: elliptical, treadmill, park friend, hiking, buddy. People already still do that; you have to modify it. You might have to slow that elliptical down, take it slower, slow the treadmill down, stay on longer, put contracting tape right on the handles of the treadmill so you can see the handles better. When you’re walking you may have to take a walking buddy with you to help guide you. It seems like common sense but there are tips and we’re going to put them on the website, MyMacDLife.org.
What about another ‘do’, I want to go to the store and do some errands. Let’s say that for those listening, you can still drive with your MacD, you can still drive you go run your errands. But it’s more challenging to see the things in the store.
I was actually a little Amish market the other day, just picking up a few things. I noticed a woman had a handheld magnifier in her hand. She’s picking things up and looking at them with a magnifier; that became a tool for her. A tip is to use a tool like a Magnifier.
A little RUBY®, like we have our folks from Vispero talk about them, the handheld RUBY®.
Assistive Technologies can be extremely helpful. Or don’t be afraid to ask someone, ‘Excuse me, could you help me grab that on the shelf?’ or, ‘What does this say?’ because I find that generally speaking, most people are nice, and are willing to help if you ask for help, which we’ve talked about before.
Reading credit cards is really hard. That industry, you know, we need to pound on them a little bit. It’s hard for me to read them.
I can’t even read them; I have to turn on a bright light to read the numbers like what’s the deal.
Again, there’s advocacy. We have to do that. Maybe writing it down in large print or in black and contrast writing. Writing your credit card number down and folding that piece of paper up differently. You wouldn’t be able to pay with it but you could at least read the numbers. I don’t know, this is the stuff that’s challenging. We don’t have all the answers. I would love people to help us: what do you do?
I love people to send in tips, like what do you do? Are your credit cards in a certain order in your wallet so you know which one it is?
You know which one is the receipt? Maybe no you don’t want the paper receipt, have them send it electronically. Maybe you’ve got the software in your computer system, things like that. I don’t know I just I don’t have all the answers. But I think it’s good for us to talk about this stuff because it’s the macular degeneration is 365, 365 days a year.
I’d love to see our listeners send in their ideas so we can share them here on the show.
We’ll read them. It’ll be good because that’s what this is about: sharing ideas with each other, sharing resources.
How do you live your life with macular degeneration? How do you do your life? How do you do, doer or how you become a doer?
Shawn Doyle, welcome to the interview section of MyMacDLife.
It’s kind of cool to be sitting in the guest interview seat. I’m not used to sitting in it, I’m usually sitting over there on your side.
You got a different hat on, co-host to guest. Let’s dive right in. What do we want the audience, the folks listening, to know about Shawn Doyle? Well, here’s a couple of things that I’m going to start with. You are a leader. You’re an inspirational guy. You’re a motivational speaker. I know you’ve been to the White House. I know you’ve written many, many books. I know a lot about you. So take what I just said, what I just mentioned, and let everyone else know about you in a way that makes sense for the path that your life took to get you here?
Well, that’s a great question, Dawn. No wonder you’re the co-host of MyMacDLife, because you ask questions like that.
It was a long, long, long one.
No, but I think it’s a really good one. When I think about professional speakers, book author, executive coach, former VP of learning development for Fortune 100 company
You sound pretty important.
No, it’s interesting because, I don’t know that I feel important. I feel like a contributor. I think probably the foundation of my life was my amazing parents. Growing up as a child, my dad and mom always said, always, always, always said, you can do anything if you put your mind to it, as long as you’re willing to do the work. I love that caveat, right? It wasn’t just you could do anything, magically wishing it. It’s as long as you’re willing to do the work. I feel very blessed to have that foundation.
I was raised in a household where I was taught by two remarkable human beings that anything is possible. When we fast forward into my life as a trainer, speaker, executive coach, and author, I think I’ve just kind of continued that path, not only for me, but to teach other people that you can do anything in your life as long as you’re willing to do the work. I provide people the tools and techniques to do that.
That’s why I love being part of this, MyMacDLife, is because we’re giving people tools, we’re giving people techniques, we’re giving people ideas about how to live the best life possible with this often-debilitating disease. This is just another channel for me, to help people live a more meaningful and productive life.
You took the lessons and the mantra that your parents gave you and you turn that into a profession, with all those titles and things listed underneath. That’s pretty interesting, actually to look at it like that.
Yeah, it could be a podcast, it could be a video, it could be a book. It could be programmed.
That’s really interesting. What’s the name of your company?
The company is called New Light Learning and Development.
Okay, people can find that online. Get a plug in there.
We have several different parts of the company, but one part of the company is Shawn Doyle Training. That’s a division of New Light Learning and Development. You’re learning about the parent company but if people want to look me up, they can just go to shawndoyletraining.com.
Tell us one story, one training story. Why would they need you? Why would companies need you? Why would somebody need you to come in and what do you train? You could train on a million different things. What’s the training?
I actually have 49 different proprietary training programs.
Hey, wow, 49.
49. But I think the biggest thing is that I really have empathy. An example of that is, I’ll go into a company to do a leadership development program. So they have, you know, 25 people come into the room and I’m chatting with people as they come in, and there’s a guy sitting on the front row and, ‘How are you?’ ‘Good. Nice to meet you.’ ‘What do you do?’ ‘I’m a manager.’
‘How long have you been a manager?’ ‘10 years? Okay, what did you do before you was in sales?’ ‘Okay, so now you’re a sales manager?’ ‘Yep.’ ‘So how much training have you had on how to be a leader?’ ‘This would be the first one.’
I really feel for people who are thrown into a role, having never been trained to do any of it. And we expect that they know how. I think that’s probably my biggest passion as we have organizations where people are thrown into a role not being given the right training, direction, tools, techniques to be successful.
That’s kind of like life, though. You know, let’s take parenting, for example.
Yeah, there’s no training.
Well, you get trained because you need it. If that guy already knew how to be a leader, then he wouldn’t need you.
But for 10 years, the company thought he didn’t need me.
Ah, there’s the difference. Very good. What makes Shawn Doyle tick?
I love making a difference in people’s lives, personally and professionally. It’s so interesting. Because, you know, people say, ‘Aren’t you exhausted?’ For example, I fly to Missoula, Montana. I do a keynote at a company’s conference center. That’s a big trip. Missoula, Montana, right?
That’s a big place, Big Sky.
That’s right, beautiful place. But you know, I spend the entire day doing keynotes and breakouts and programs and all this other stuff. At the end of the day, somebody comes over, they’re like, ‘Are you exhausted?’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m like, so excited.’ The work that I do is not exhausting. It’s energizing, because it has a purpose, and that’s to make a difference in people’s lives, personally and professionally. That’s, as we call it, help people win at work.
What makes you tired?
Administrative. Please fill out form number 7096432. Ah, makes my brain hurt. Because again, it doesn’t feel like it’s a contribution. It feels like it’s just a roach task that probably a robot in the future will do.
Here’s my other question. We want people to get to know you and understand who you are as the co-host of MyMacDLife. That’s one of many things, obviously, that you do. Name a mentor that you had; tell a story about a mentor that you had or have.
I must give credit to Filimon Lopez. When I was in corporate America, I got hired by a Fortune 100 company to be the Vice President of Learning and Development. On the very first day, I remember sitting in his office and he said, ‘Shawn, here’s the deal. You’re going to get better. My obligation, my passion, my commitment to you is you’re going to grow, you’re going to get better. I’m always going to be coaching you and developing you. Sometimes you like it, sometimes you won’t, but just know this, you’re going to grow.’ He said, ‘What do you think of that?’ And I’m like, ‘Where have you been all my life?’
So, Dawn, in six years, this man transformed my life personally and professionally, just by making that commitment to me individually, to help me grow incredibly,
So he paid you to grow?
He paid me to grow and every single person on his team, he had that same level of commitment. You saw this group just all rise to this highest level of potential that was incredible, just because a very gifted leader realized, and I say this all the time, that the single biggest asset that you have is the underdeveloped potential of your people.
Can you say that again, repeat that?
The single biggest asset that you have, and I’ll add to that, it’s not the trucks in the building and the products and all this other stuff. It’s the underdeveloped potential of your people. Because if you could harness that, you know, any group that you have nonprofit, profit, whoever you’re working with, personally or professionally, if you can harness the underdeveloped potential of people, and they want to grow? It’s unbelievable what can happen.
So let’s relate that to the folks who are listening. Whether it’s your macular degeneration, whether it’s you’re starting to lose your vision, maybe you just you’re listening because you just found out the news from your retina doc that you’ve got drusen and your macular degeneration, you know, come to me in a year and we’ll see what’s going on.
And so you know that your life’s going to change, but you’re not sure how. Right now you can still see pretty much kind of okay. It’s not the same, but you know, it’s the beginning. So if you apply that, to what you just said, translate that for people listening, what can they do?
Yeah, I think there’s a couple of things there. I think number one is support. SupportSight Foundation, hello. But you know, having the support, whether it’s friends-
Or like somebody like your boss, what was his name?
Right, Filimon, everybody needs a Filimon in their life. So whether it’s your boss, whether it’s your family, whether it’s your friends, whether it’s your doctor, whether it’s your, you know, physician’s assistant, whether it’s a nurse, whether it’s somebody at SupportSight Foundation, but surround yourself with a support system that will support you, and bring you up and give you ideas and the tools that you need.
Everybody’s happy, everybody has fun, but you’ve just lost your vision. So now you got to tap into that.
How do you live in the new normal? I think we live in an amazing age. It’s so funny to me, Dawn, because people say all the time, ‘how can you be motivated at a time like this?’ All of the turmoil that’s going on in our world, all that bad news you see on the media, but we live in an amazing world, in terms of technology. Someone being able to turn on their computer, you control the computer without using a mouse, just purely using vocal commands, or be able to magnify something, or change the mean, it’s just unbelievable, compared to say, Helen Keller’s day, you know where there wasn’t the technology available to her. Now there’s so such great technology available. We’re very blessed to have that.
That motivates you. And you’re saying to people: motivate yourself through technology, and what resources are there.
They were resources that were not available in the past. We live in an age where we’re blessed to be living at this time, because those things are now available because at the advent of technology. You know, many of our sponsors have those.
And I think the third thing is that we have the ability as humans to learn. Brain plasticity, where you have one way of doing something, and you learn a new way of doing something, and it seems so hard in the beginning, you know Dawn, the people that you work with, and then suddenly a light bulb goes off, and they’re like, ah, I can do this in a different way, in a different approach. The fact that human beings learn so rapidly makes room for lots of amazing possibilities.
You’re a human being, you’re one of the most positive, motivated human beings I’ve ever met. I mean, you are rarely exhausted because you get your energy from others and helping others. That makes you happy. What makes you not happy? What do you do when you don’t know what to do next? What do you tell yourself? Because you’re so busy telling others and sharing with others? What do you tell yourself?
Yep, probably my biggest frustration is people who are locked into negative thinking. When you try to help them, they just shut down. Can’t change. It can’t do it. Not going to work. Negative people who are, I call them energy sucking vampires, and they, you know, you bring up an idea they go that’s not going to work, Shawn. That’s stupid. Never, never done it that way. Never, ever, ever. Like, that’s not the way we do it. That’s not our policy. So these energy suckers, vampires want to drag you down into the abyss down to the dark side. Those are the people that really frustrate me the most because it’s not that they can’t change. It’s the fact that they’ve decided they won’t change. And they enjoy being unhappy and making other people unhappy along with them.
So, what do you do? You kind of dodged my question, although that was really good. I’m glad that we got to that sucking vampire. For those of you out there, it’s okay to call people that, or at least thinking that’s right. Keep them out of your life.
I’m trying to get inside the day of Shawn Doyle, the days of Shawn Doyle. When you’re going, what do I do next? How do I get? You know? What do you do? Do you? What’s your remedy for that? Do you go for a walk? Do you have to give people you know, tell them what you do?
I think it’s two things. I think it’s a support system. I have an amazing best friend that I can call. I have an incredible wife I married up that I can talk to every day, incredible friends and support systems. So that’s one and two. Every morning, I do the morning miracle, where every morning I get up early, I am on the elliptical. Energy, right? I’m eating a nutritious breakfast energy. Every morning I’m exposing myself to something positive. It might be a podcast, like this one. It might be a video it might be the latest book I’m reading. And I tend to focus only on nonfiction, self-improvement, motivational books.
Constantly consuming positive, as an antidote to the negative. I call it the Bad Day Prescription if you will.
That’s awesome. Bad Day Prescription. Let’s put that on the website, MyMacDLife.org.
So, if you’re having a bad day, write yourself a Bad Day Prescription. My wife likes watching It’s a Wonderful Life if she’s had a bad day. Watch 15 minutes of that, you’re good.
No matter if it’s Christmas or the holidays or not. Shawn let’s do a Bad Day Prescription, that concept, let’s put it on MyMacDLife.org. Get folks over to the website, check it out. We’ll put it up there. I think that’s a really good idea, especially since we, you know, we do kind of need to a lot of us need a prescription for not just pharmaceuticals, so it’s a good way to look at it.
I think your points are really good one. The other thing is we write the prescription before we need it. So, in other words, I don’t wait until I had a terrible day I decide in advance what the prescription is going to be. So that I can pull it out when I need it; it’s in the back pocket already.
Love it. Let’s do that. I think that’s awesome. Here’s my closing question. If you had five minutes, that’s all, doesn’t matter at what point your life whether it’s the beginning, the end, the past, the present the future, if you had five minutes that you could take out of your life and be with someone, a person, for five minutes. Who would that be?
Can it be my spouse or does have to be someone else? I’ve just tried to define the rules of the game here.
There’s no rules. I’m just saying you only have five minutes. I’m not saying what you’re doing. Like, it’s not one of those, ‘you’re on an island with somebody’. It’s just if you had five minutes, you could be with someone who would it be?
I’d like to spend five minutes with God. I mean, in person, like he’s sitting there, I’m sitting there we’re having hot chocolate, you know, hanging out. I’d have a lot of questions for God.
Wouldn’t that be amazing? Just five minutes with God. Of course, they probably wouldn’t have had even have to have a conversation because you probably just, you know, like –
There’s probably no time either.
Yeah, it is like, maybe a second would be enough and I would know everything. We don’t have to talk about it, just beamed into your brain.
Thank you. Thank you for shifting gears. Thank you for putting on your Shawn Doyle, motivational speaker, leader, all around optimistic, wonderful guy hat. That’s how you make a living.
Thanks, Dawn. I appreciate the opportunity.
Great guest, great interviewer. Thanks, folks.
So, I’m reading a new book that really struck me and I wanted to know what your thoughts were about this topic. It’s by Angela Duckworth. It’s really got me thinking. it’s called Grit.
Oh, I know Angela Duckworth, we should get her on the show. She lives right around the corner.
But thinking about the idea of grit, you know, just thinking about when people are subjected to adversity in their life, whether it’s MacD or the last year we’ve had, tough times in the world. What determines grit? How do you get it? How do you develop it? We’re born with it?
What do you think is different than what she said or is saying?
I kind of like her definition that grit is a combination of passion, and perseverance. There’s something you have a passion for, and you’re willing to be persevering. No matter what, just keep going forward.
You like what she says, you don’t have your own?
No, I think it’s a combination of passion and perseverance. But I think there also has to be an environmental aspect to it. In other words, if I’m living in an amazing relationship, where I’m married to someone who’s incredibly positive, that makes grit easier. If I’m not in a great relationship, where I have someone who’s very negative, I think it makes grit harder. That’s what I would add to the equation. You could still do it, it’s just the ladders a lot harder to climb. I was just wondering what your thoughts were about grit. Your person has tremendous grit determination. What gives you your grit?
Thank you. Yeah, I think of grit as gravel. I’ve read that book a couple times. I mean, grit, grit is gravelly, I’m going to take it in a visual way. Not wax on esoteric. I think, to me, it’s about gravel. Maybe it’s that Midwestern part of me, but the gravel is everywhere. It’s like the rubbing together of things. You know, if people could see me, I’m rubbing my fingers together. That grittiness that you have to have, that when two surfaces rub together, that get rid of things, and that can make you tough, right? And harder.
I don’t mean that in a negative way. It’s determination. To me, if you’re gritty, you can pull whatever you have to from places inside you that you never thought were there. In things that you never thought existed. You can pull them up when you need them. You dig really deep down inside and then you use it. Right?
You use it because you need it. So, it’s a matter of recognizing it was somewhere inside you. Then it’s like this, you get the gravel. Even when you fall down when you ride your bike or something or even when I hit my on the pavement May, you know you’ve got that, you get back up. There you are, and you just have it. I know that sounds crazy, but I swear to God every time I read that book, I think that.
Yeah, exactly. If you think about it, as an analogy-
Get up. You fall down and get back up. Who cares if you have gravel in your palms.
That’s right, just it doesn’t hurt that bad. Just get rid of it.
The other thing I thought about what you said gravel was the idea of traction.
Yeah, that’s part of the reason why that comes to mind for me.
You’re on a muddy dirt road and then they put gravel down and now you’ve got tracks. You can go where you need to go.
You’re not slip sliding and sinking. Maybe I should email Angela that? Because I’ve never shared that with anybody. I’m not saying it’s right, wrong, or different. But I think it’s interesting that I always come at things with words, but that book is my visual part of it.
We’ve got some gritty guests today, folks are going to hear from. You know, think about for people who are listening, what’s your definition of grit, whether you read the book or not. We’ll put that on our website. I mean, it’s an amazing book. It’s been out for a while. She just keeps getting better and better in my opinion.
Yeah, and I think it’s very thought provoking. I think a lot of our readers and listeners would benefit from it.
Now when you read it, you’re going think about gravel.
Hi, everybody, it’s Christine Pedi. Today I want to continue to talk about Norman Lear. This is sort of part two of my conversation that I had with you last time. I was listening to Norman Lear’s memoir called Even This I Get to Experience which he narrates, which is always a treat, because there’s no mistaking what tone and intention the author has when they’re the ones doing the narrating. I really came away from this with some life lessons I didn’t see coming. I spoke to you last week about a few and there’s one that I want to talk about today.
He writes about his 80th birthday. In a room full of family and friends, he wrote that as wonderful as all of it was, his mind was on the taste of coffee the next morning, and he said this to them in the room. He said this evening is over, and I am on to next. When something, however great it was, is over it wants to be over without regret, because immediately available is next. Reflecting on this later, I imagined a bulging hammock between over and next and realized that is where the struggle to live in the moment resides. Here’s why it’s important to me as a person who is transitioning into, you know, vision loss.
I can only assume that a lot of you are sharing some of the feelings I have, which is what’s going to happen tomorrow. What’s going to happen next, next, next, next, next, next. The point is, if you have to think about next, how about you think about it, as he put it: immediately available is next. Next is not something to dread, it’s something that’s available to you. Look at it as the opportunity of next, the possibility of next, the availability of next, and don’t over expect when it comes to your thoughts about next. Because as we all know, based on this year of COVID (have you heard of it?), did you get any plans completely, you know, destroyed because of COVID? Anybody?
You plan, God laughs. So you can prepare for what you hope the future will bring. You know, pay your bills, walk your dog, take your vitamins, call your mother. But the minute you assume that things will work out in a certain way, then you are setting yourself up. You don’t have any control over any of it. Especially if you have vision issues. We have to navigate through life, and we can’t predict the weather in life. So maybe it’s best that we take a page out of Norman Lear’s playbook even though he’s trying to commit he’s still working on it himself, which is to just appreciate that big soft hammock between what was just over and what’s coming up next. Be here right now, listening to me drinking your coffee, walking your dog being right here right now. Not turning next into something that’s going to ruin now.
I also wanted to write Norman Lear a thank you letter for having inspired me so much and so unexpectedly. I thought I was going to read a book about with funny anecdotes about all the family in Archie Bunker and Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner. I did get that, but in addition, I also got these wonderful, wonderful nuggets of philosophy. I kept on putting it off writing him the note. Then about a couple of weeks ago, I had a scare and I thought that I had detached retina and I was panicking, obviously, because I can’t handle too many more of these kinds of surgeries. I thought to myself, I’m getting in a cab to go to the doctor, and this may be the last time I’ll be able to fully use my eyes so I am going to write Norman Lear that note right now. So, I sat down I wrote it on my computer, and I sent it to the mutual friend that we have and said ‘Please forward this to Norman Lear.’ I went to the doctor worried, worried, worried what’s going to happen next, what’s going to happen next? Well, guess what? I didn’t have detached retina.
And the next day, he wrote back the most beautiful thank you note. He said, ‘It took me 98 years to get possibly the loveliest note ever written’, it was it was so sweet. So, I just want to say to you that it’s important to consider that philosophy of not living in the next, if it’s taking away from your now. Because now is as good as it’s going to get, you know what I mean? Just appreciate now.
Also, I never saw this coming. Which means that you never know where you’re going to find an answer or find an inspiration. So, keep on looking. Keep on reading, keep on listening, keep on talking to people, it could be somebody that you’re talking to at the bus stop. You don’t know what kind of words of wisdom out there will suddenly just make you do a complete 180 on way of thinking.
Thank you to Norman Lear and thank you for listening. Let’s all enjoy that wonderful, lazy hammock. Live right in the now.
Dawn, I’ve been reflecting for a while on the Superbowl.
You’re still thinking about that?
I am but not for football reasons. I think last year, my wife was kind enough to buy Tom Brady’s book for me about nutrition and winning attitude called Tb 12. But I was thinking about Tom Brady over the last many odd months because just you know, 43 years old, seven Super Bowls, five MVPs. He just has this mindset of excellence. You know, whether nutrition, whether it’s working out, whether it’s whatever it is, right? So just wonder what your thoughts were about that mindset of excellence. You define it, you know, like breaking all the paradigms of ‘quarterbacks don’t play in the NFL at 43.’
Well, this might surprise you. I don’t think of it as excellence. I think of it as perfection. I think he has a mindset of perfection that most people can’t.
What gets somebody that quality?
I mean, that’s the thing. How can you have a mindset of perfection because nobody’s perfect. But then he appears to be to all of us. I think he’s a phenomenon that people grapple with.
Yeah, one of the things that struck me in his book, as he said to some younger players, you know, ‘You’re eating Doritos, and that’s, that’s fine. But you’re a professional athlete, and you’re not fueling your body with the right stuff.’ And they’re like, ‘Well, I’m 25 and I work out all the time.’ He’s like, ‘No, I get that. But when you’re 43, will you still be in the NFL?’
Has he had pizza, has he ever had a piece of pizza? No, I’m serious about this, because I know exactly what we’re saying. I don’t disagree with you. But I think that, if he eats a piece of pizza, does he lose the Super Bowl next year?
No, but I would say that, based on the book that I read about him, according to him, about 95% of the time he’s eating properly. And 5% on a Friday night or wherever you have a pizza, but 95% is eating properly. 95% of time he’s training properly, 95% of the time he’s at the right mindset. He’s investing in nutrition, and all the other areas to have that winning habit, if you will. So just wondering what your thoughts were about that.
I haven’t read the book. I think this is an interesting topic, because he’s the hottest topic even before or after the Super Bowl, but especially up against, the Chiefs and Mahomes. What an amazing story that was, that was about experience in my opinion. I mean, 24, never played the Super Bowl, rising superstar against a guy who’s played the Super Bowl more times than any quarterback, ever who’s won more times anyone? The real story to me would have been the reverse if the Mahomes would have won. That, to me, would be the ultimate story.
And if Mahomes maybe, he eats pizza every day? I’m not saying Tom Brady’s not doing the right thing, you understand that, but I think it’s what we are the mindset, but back to the food thing. You are what you eat. I mean, I’ve lived that too. I think that, with our folks who are listening, you’re going to feel better. If you have macular degeneration or diabetes, depending on how old you are, other issues, health related issues, and you are going to feel better.
That’s probably the key lesson that I pulled from that whole story was, no matter what your life is like, if you really commit to a healthy lifestyle of nutrition, it’s going to fuel you to be better, and that whatever it is, that fight is that you have.
You make a commitment, you make an investment, like I’ve eaten organic for what, 35 years but that was an investment I made. I think part of it is you know, your DNA, but part of it is I mean, this my skin, my health status, a lot of that has to do with I ate organic, I don’t take toxins in, I haven’t carcinogens, and I have fresh food. You don’t have to be Tom Brady.
It’s amazing to me that that a giant bag of whatever is 99 cents, you know? Cheese puffos, or whatever. I’m making up a name, right? But then, you know, a bag of navel oranges is $5. It does cost you on the front end but it pays off our back end in terms of how you feel.
We’ll circle it back around to Tom Brady to close this conversation. We’d like to know what our listeners think, I mean, we might get some flack with mention of the Super Bowl. Maybe all the people listening in Missouri are not going to particularly want to listen to this. But I think that we all make choices, yes, none of us are perfect. We’re all blessed with the talents we have, with the strength we have, with the attitude, with the winning. Nutrition is a part of that, a big part of that. I think one of the things that we try to do with this show and on the website and the SupportSight Foundation is help people learn and educate them about how important all of those pieces are, with or without MacD. You are what you eat.
We’re going to play the MacD live trivia game. I got some tough ones today. I don’t know if you’re going to be able to nail any of these. I hope you can.
Tell the audience I did not know the answers.
I just want to point that out. She does not know. Any answer she earned she earned on her own through her grit. Here’s the first question. It’s a Hollywood question. What actors have reprised the role of James Bond the highest number of times. I repeat what actors have reprised the role of James Bond the highest number of times?
Sean Connery, I’m a big James Bond fan. Sean Connery, so is what you’re talking about with reprise?
Yeah, I want to know which actor has played James Bond the highest number of times.
Sean Connery. Oh, maybe Roger Moore. Ah, no, it’s not. Sean Connery. Sir Sean Connery. I believe that the answer.
Actually, it’s a trick question. It’s both. Sean Connery seven times and Roger Moore seven times.
Sounds like Tom Brady.
Here’s question number two ready for question number two? In 2013, Staples became the first major American retailer to sell what kind of device of technology?
What kind of printer?
Inkjet printer that is.
Incorrect. Believe it or not, and this surprised even me, a 3d printer. In 2013 that’s amazing. We’re going to our last question for today. This is from the animal kingdom because I know you love animals. You have a super dog there at headquarters. What’s the super dog’s name, again? I forgot.
Maximum Overdrive. Jack Russell.
Max, the super dog. He’s incredible. I love Max. Here’s the question, what animal has fingerprints that are nearly identical to humans?
Well, you know, they always say to answer the first thing that comes to your mind. I’m going to say like apes or chimpanzees.
That would be incorrect.
You know, that’s the most obvious one. So, if you tell me that it’s a snake. I’m going to be mad. They don’t have fingers.
I don’t think snakes have hands. I don’t think that would be possible. Believe it or not the answer is the Koala Bear.
Do you want to try one more?
Yeah, please. I want to get I want to try to get at least one right at least get one.
Okay, from world of fast food. Since we just talked about nutrition. We have to talk about fast food. The Blue Ribbon burger changed its name. This now referred to as what? It used to be called the Blue Ribbon burger. It’s now called what?
Ah? Well, for the record, I don’t eat meat. But I have had a burger or two in my life. Blue Ribbon sounds like a county fair. I’m going to say Whopper.
You are so close. It was the other one; Big Mac.
I do have one word for the music world. But I know. I know how you’re really into music.
In 2016, what famous musician won the Nobel Prize for Literature?
Bob Dylan. He didn’t he didn’t take it though. Right. He didn’t accept it, did he?
I didn’t get any details, but he won a Nobel Prize for Literature. Bob Dylan. You always get the music ones.
I’m going on Name That Tune, and I’m practicing. I’m not making that up. When I win all the proceeds are going to the foundation into MyMacDLife to fuel research and new care. So, everybody, you’re going to be hearing about this on and off. I’m in the 60s right now and it’s my superpower. A lot of people who know me know it. I have my Spotify on my soundbar, and I do this every night. I’m in the 60s right now because I realized I was a little rusty with the Beatles. I’m just doing three notes.
I’ve been saying for years they need to bring Name That Tune back and they did. I am not watching it right now. I want to get back to coaching and getting in shape. No matter what you have some grit, whatever you have to do to do best, so I’m not watching because I’m trying to do it without the clues. If I can get a lot of the songs without the clues and all I need is that clue? That’s going to put me over the top.
The question is: would you recognize Rocky Raccoon and the first three notes?
You know what? Probably. Ask me that in a couple episodes from now, seriously, because I’m working on the Beatles right now. That’s a lot of work. They’re prolific. I’m past Yellow Submarine, the no brainers, you know, Here Comes The Sun, that kind of thing. I’m into the little more obscure ones. This is fun playing games with you, Shawn.
Thanks, folks. I hope you got the answers when I didn’t, and that you joined us in the fun because that’s what we’re all about. Right? We’re serious about education. We’re serious about advocacy. We’re serious about research. We’re serious about helping you living your life with macular degeneration. But we also know that you got to mix in a little fun way to have the joy, got to have that joy.
My name is Bill Kilroy. I’m the Senior Sales Director for the Northeast, based out of Massachusetts for Vispero. I am joined by my wonderful colleague, Mike Wood, who is our Strategic Accounts Manager for Education.
Hey, thanks, Bill. Happy to be here again.
I love it. Today’s segment will be about a piece of technology, we call the Transformer. Before we get into what that is, let’s just take a step back and remind you who we are. We were with a company by the name of Vispero. Vispero is probably the world’s largest Assistive Technology provider for the visually impaired, you know, the keeper of a number of notable brands in the Assistive Technology industry for blindness and low vision. You might be familiar with brands like Freedom Scientific, Enhanced Vision, Optelec. We have a services op too also called the Paciello Group. They do fantastic services for organizations that are thinking about becoming more accessible, web compliance, things of that nature. You might be asking yourself, what is Assistive Technology? Generically defined, Assistive Technology is any piece of equipment, a software program, or a product system that’s used to increase or improve the functional capabilities of somebody with a special need or disability. We specialize in Assistive Technology for people with vision loss. We do both software and hardware.
Today’s segment is going to be focusing on a piece of equipment from our Enhanced Vision division and it is a device called the Transformer. The Transformer is a portable three in one high-definition camera, that actually can be a multi camera system, that you can connect to a standalone monitor, you can connect it to your laptop, MacBook, iPad, or Chromebook. It’s a three in one camera. It’s a foldable device, so you can put it on your work surface, and the camera can pivot, and the camera head can look down at what’s on your work surface. I can pivot it to look at me and do some personal viewing. So, if I need to do any personal grooming things, which I try to stay personally well groomed, I can see my image on the computer monitor or the television screen, etc. If I’m in a classroom situation or at home, and I can get distance viewing capabilities, I can look at the whiteboard or blackboard in the classroom. We’ve heard the stories of people using this in their home and they look out the window with the bird feed or one case, I remember somebody telling us that they check to see if the mailman has come by if the flag is up or down on the mailbox. It’s a fantastic system. Again, a lot of the technology that we talk about in the realm of video magnification involves basically making the image larger. The Transformer can step you through a number of magnification ranges and, correct me if I’m wrong, Mike, but I think we can go from just under two times magnification to almost 30 times magnified.
That’s correct. You know, the other thing that I think is a great point with the Transformer is the fact that it’s battery powered. One of the things for the schools especially is being able to move around, you go in class to class, or think about people traveling, right. You’ve got a two-hour battery that comes with this. The neat thing is it not only comes with one, you actually get two batteries. So really, you’ve got four hours battery life, it comes with a separate battery charger. You can always have one charging while you’re using one. Then if you run out of battery power, you can still plug this unit in. So, you’ve got that flexibility to which I think is nice.
The other thing that’s great about it, and when Mike and I’ve talked about a lot of these technologies in the past, when it comes down to magnification, we don’t always mention it, but, you have obviously step up through a range of magnification, which is obviously important for people, you know, zooming in on different size texts of material and objects in the distance, you need to have variable magnification. We can step through high contrast options for people that need to see white text on a black background, or the reverse of that are many, many different colors, we’re not going to bore you with all the capabilities that it has in that realm, but also adds in things like markers and masking, so that I can put a line marker on the screen and I can, as I’m moving my print material under the camera, I can sort of keep it aligned properly. Or if I don’t want a lot of visual clutter in a textbook or novel that I’m reading, I can just reduce the background blackout everything but the two or three lines that I want to focus on reading. A lot of these systems have those built in, but it’s all the nuance, it’s like Mike said, this is a collapsible design, this is under three pounds, for the person that’s moving from class to class, or seniors traveling from home to a vacation destination, you’re always taking your technology with you, and you always have it with you. The other thing that we focus on is, not only is it you know, providing you with a lot of capabilities, but also it offers you a lot of durability. That’s the one thing you will see in our line, really where the rubber meets the road is functionality, obviously, you need. It’s mission critical. That’s what you’re attempting to solve the problem by making things bigger, but you want that product to last, you don’t want to abuse it. But if you I always say Mike, if you take good care of it, it will take good care of you. And for many years to come.
Absolutely. So take care your products. I see the kids in school using this a lot is the OCR so optical character recognition, which will allow you to scan so it’s also great for readers, if you’re reading and your eyes start to fatigue towards the end of the day, or you just have to read a lot, you can scan material in using this Transformer and it will actually read it back to you. You’ve got multiple voices, you can pick and choose, you can save the files if you want to listen to them later. I think that’s a nice, nice functionality as well, within the Transformer.
I agree. We’ve referred to these dual modalities. I can use my vision and I can use functional vision, just read the material, as it’s laid out for me on the screen with all the settings for contrast, magnification level masking, we referred to. But like you say if I fatigue or this is a document that’s three or four pages long, I want to just take pictures of it, and then have it read back to me. The Transformer has an OCR option and basically any bit of print material can be turned into an audio book for the user. And the other cool thing is multiple languages are supported here. If you’re looking at a French document, and you can scan it in the native language and read it with the native speaking voice, so there’s a lot of cool stuff there. It’s worth checking out.
Definitely and you had mentioned the durability, but I did want to touch point until you do get a two-year warranty with this product. You’re covered for two years. Another great thing that I was like to say is a lot of our technologies put together right here in California, Huntington Beach, California. If anyone’s ever out that way stop by it’s a great facility. With COVID there’s had some tour shutdowns but I’ve been there for a tour and it’s a great beautiful new facility.
It is very impressive. I love the fact that you know we design everything, engineer it, we bring it to market out of this warehouse in California for all of these products. Again, what Dawn and what Shawn are doing with MyMacDLife, in bringing more awareness to not only issues and then surrounding macular degeneration and vision rehabilitation, but also taking the time to focus on these technologies and companies like us, because nobody knows these tools exists. We’re proud to talk about them share what we know. Again, if you’re in the area, post COVID, we can have you in for a tour.
Before we go, let’s just give everybody the pricing. The base Transformer magnification, only the retail on that is $2,595. As Mike was describing the OCR package with the camera, basically, that’s the multi camera system that takes the price to $2,995. These devices aren’t inexpensive, but they provide a lifetime of value as an investment in your independence, your education in a lot of cases. For many people still today, we’re working to stay on the job. We’re happy to consult with you on these products. If you need to check it out further, you can go to the vispero.com. You can link to the Enhanced Vision website as well, where you’ll find a link to the Transformer. Enhanced Vision’s URL is www.enhancedvision.com. We want to thank you for joining Mike and I today and we look forward to our next session on MyMacDLife. Don’t forget to visit MyMacDLife.org and check out all the cool things that SupportSight Foundation has put together for you as an audience. Take care.
Hey, everyone, thank you so much for spending time with us today. We’re really glad you’re here.
Remember for more information please go to MyMacDLife.org we have all sorts of resources and info there for patients who have MacD and their families. And remember to join us next time on MyMacDLife.
This program is empowered by the SupportSight Foundation. The SupportSight Foundation’s mission is to save sight for millions of people who suffer from age related macular degeneration AMD and lose their precious vision. As a 501c3 public charity, our goal is to provide patient education and access to low vision resources to help individuals, families and caregivers whose lives are severely impacted by AMD. We’ve placed a high priority on connecting with people, their families, and loved ones who live with a daily struggle of impaired vision. To learn more, go to www.supportsightfoundation.org. Again, that’s www.supportsightfoundation.org.
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* Note: All listed transcript timings and wording are approximations.