4 Words That Kill Connection: Marc Jacobson (Full Transcript)

Full text of Marc Jacobson’s talk: 4 Words That Kill Connection at TEDxDerryLondonderryStudio conference.

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Marc Jacobson – Accident survivor

By the end of this talk we will reveal words and ways to communicate that potentially can change your life, your relationships and your ability to connect with people that others would have never thought possible.

Our business is based on connection and our research has discovered these lessons: by deleting FOUR simple words from your vocabulary and injecting their antidotes that will enable people to feel more connected to you.

I would like everyone for a second to close your eyes. Imagine lying on a cold metal table in no pain, one hour after the doctor gives you a 50:50 chance to survive the surgery, or a 50:50 chance that you may never walk again.

What would you promise to beat those odds? And more importantly, if you survived the surgery and could walk again, what would you want your life being like going forward?

Open your eyes.

Eight years ago, after lying on a cold metal table, these questions were upon me. It all began by making a right turn on red, I was suddenly hit from behind by an older driver; she simply just didn’t stop.

Unbeknownst to me, this accident had lit a fuse, a quest, a journey of creating connection with people that I never had before. A week later, I couldn’t raise my left arm. Physical therapy didn’t work, and my night turned into an ER visit.

The orthopedic says, “Good news! Your shoulder isn’t broken; your MRI is perfect; and you need to see a neurologist.”

I said, “Why?” I asked…

He said, “It’s your neck.”

“My neck? My neck feels great. What are you talking about? It’s my arm that’s paralyzed.”

He tells me the best neurologist he knows is about a month out, waiting time; but he’ll make the call for me.

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The doctor leaves the room to make the call, which felt like an eternity. Comes back and says, “Tomorrow 8 a.m. at his office.”

This neurologist examines me the next day, I see fear hit his eyes.

“Everything okay, doc?”

He says, “We’re fine.”

My Spidey sense knows differently. He says, “All of your neck vertebrae cervical three to seven are not well. Let’s get you into a CAT scan right away.

The next phone call confirms my fears: he tells me to drive to the hospital as soon as I can, and while driving my head was spinning, fearing I would never be the same after this.

As I walk into the hospital, they immediately take me back. With a paralyzed left arm and a brave smile on my face, I’m hoping for the best.

As they unexpectedly collar me up, the doctor says “There’s a 50:50 chance that you’re not going to survive this operation, and 50:50 that you may never walk again.”

I said in a defending voice, “But doc, there’s no pain.”

He says, “I know, but CAT scans never lie.”

The world suddenly turns gray, and my body goes numb. Knowing this could be the last thing that I ever do, I reach for my phone and i text my two young children my thoughts and my wishes for them.

Being wheeled into surgery faster than I could comprehend, I entered the operating room and placed on a cold metal table. The next minutes were visions of people I wanted in my life and the ones I needed to escape from. My mind had never had such clarity; my thoughts in the last minutes were so clear and so focused that if I survived this, I knew things were going to be different.

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