Yesterday while the voters who were upset with the Trump election marched I was at the Memorial Service for Professor Paul Magelli. It was live streamed to places as far away as China. When the video gets produced I will post it here because I think the concepts that Paul embodied came through and are important takeaways for anyone.
People in the US are upset on both sides of the divide. I have seen people post about “fight”, or “service” or other things. Those actions don’t have a point or purpose long term.
Paul was a lot different than that. Paul was Mr. Give Before You Get long before anyone articulated it. He was more than an old white guy professor that did research. He knew that his customers were students and he was there to service them. Yesterday at his service there were women, men, gay people, white, black, yellow, brown, and lots and lots of hugs (combined with cheese cake, Jarling custard and root beer). “Life is short, why not start with dessert.”
The Professor would have understood why people were upset yesterday, but he would have taken a far different action. He and I talked politics a few times and it was pretty hard to categorize him. He met with President Obama by himself on two occasions. He told me about one of the meetings. They spoke about Obama’s Legacy. Paul gave him some ideas on how he could make that happen. Unfortunately, Obama didn’t take the professor’s advice. If he would have it would have been a huge idea that would have helped millions of people for generations. I don’t know if Paul voted for Obama or not, but to him it didn’t matter. He only wanted to help. Obama was in a position to help-so Paul asked.
You can’t believe how many people Paul helped. If I said 100,000 I might get to the right number. I heard a lot of stories yesterday. One was particularly amazing as Paul intervened in a situation and literally saved a women from certain forced servitude and disaster. She went on to get her MBA and leads an amazing life now.
From the News-Gazette: On a recent trip to Shanghai, Dean Jeffery Brown said at least 20 people there stopped him to ask about Mr. Magelli when they learned he was visiting from the UI. “You can’t exaggerate the kind of impact he had on people. He was smart and gracious and cared so deeply about people. I honestly cannot think of anyone who had such a deep impact on so many people,” Brown said. “He’s one of the best human beings that ever walked the face of this Earth.”
My friend Sean Chou who was part of the start up of Fieldglass and now is building Catalytic said that he knew Paul helped him but didn’t know how Paul was able to scale himself to help so many. I have only known Paul since around 2012. As soon as I met him, it was like speaking to someone that I had known for a generation. I often told him that I wished I would have known back in 1984-because he would have been a professor that most certainly would have changed my life.
Michael Tokarz talked about being a disciple of Paul’s. It’s a great description. How do we harness that energy and keep it propelling the universe forward? We will figure that out. But, until we do there is a way.
We can all be like Professor Magelli. Paul was really great at finding that person who was a diamond in the rough. He found that person who didn’t have resources, but if given a few could really start to make something of themselves. He called himself a “talent scout”. When you walk through life with that attitude, you tend to see the positive aspects of people. It makes you feel more positive about yourself. The internal psychological engine you have starts to work and you have a lightness in your step and a smile on your face. That affects your surroundings.
We can all rise above the divide and the hate on both sides of issues by being just a little bit like Paul. Ignore it. Open up your network. Take a meeting with a person. Actively listen to them. Offer some pieces of advice they might not have thought of. Make a phone call or type out an email and make an introduction. All anyone wants is an opportunity. Put them in a spot where they have a chance to execute. Look for the greater good in people and treat them all similarly. Tap into the love you have inside yourself and share it with them.
Scale back Facebook. Scale back Twitter. Press the flesh. Help real people. I am going to attempt to do that. I hope you do too.