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Home » Become the Person You Can’t Imagine: Norman Bacal (Transcript)

Become the Person You Can’t Imagine: Norman Bacal (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Norman Bacal’s talk titled “Become the Person You Can’t Imagine” at TEDxRyersonU conference.

In his motivational talk titled “Become the Person You Can’t Imagine,” Norman Bacal shares his personal journey of transformation and growth, emphasizing the power of single-minded determination and the importance of embracing failure as a teacher. He recounts his experiences of moving to Toronto to establish a new office, learning karate to develop discipline, and ultimately, overcoming the monumental failure of his law firm’s collapse.

Bacal highlights the significance of seeking guidance and learning from mistakes, urging his audience to take charge of their lives and decisions. Through his story, he demonstrates how unexpected turns and challenges can lead to unimagined success and fulfillment. Bacal dedicates his speech to the memory of Dr. Harry Lyon-Bacal, whose wisdom and legacy deeply influenced his life and career path.

Listen to the audio version here:


Over the next few minutes, I don’t plan to change the blueprint of your life, your career, or even your tomorrow. But I do plan to challenge what you think about it, because what I’ve learned has changed my tomorrows, my career, and my life. But before I start, I want to introduce you to someone who’s here with me today.

This is Uncle Harry. Oh, you can’t see him? Then, picture this: Uncle Harry’s a little shorter than me, a lot greyer. He has this bushy mustache, wears a white lab coat with a black stethoscope around his neck, and always has this unlit cigarette dangling out of his mouth.

Uncle Harry’s Influence

He served with distinction in the Canadian Navy in World War II, and went on to become one of Montreal’s most beloved pediatricians. All his little patients called him Uncle Harry. In fact, many of them still do.

So, I’m 19 years old, just returned from a European vacation, with a gray tan, a bushy haircut, and a long beard, ready to begin my major in biology at McGill University, headed towards, well, I’m not sure where I’m headed. Which is why I go to see Uncle Harry for advice, he being a doctor and all.

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