EP. 4: HOW GOING BLIND HELPED ME SEE: ISAAC LIDSKY

“There’s the world you think is out there, fact of the matter is it’s not out there, it’s in your brain.” Isaac Lidsky

Isaac Lidsky’s TED talk was viewed more than a million times in its first 20 days. It has a mid preso reveal I’ll spoil for you here – he is blind, and when revealed, it’s a surprise, if you didn’t know Isaac. He looks and presents like he’s seeing you, but make no mistake, he is not.

Isaac was diagnosed with a blinding eye disease when he was 12 years old and he slowly lost his sight over the next 12 years. In spite of that, Isaac graduated from Harvard College at 19 with a degree in mathematics and computer science, he founded an Internet startup that later sold for $230 million. He returned to Harvard, graduated Harvard Law with high honors, litigated appeals on behalf of the United States as a Department of Justice lawyer and he became the only blind person to clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court when he worked for Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“Going blind really was at the end of the day one of the best things that ever happened to me. WE are the creators of the realities, WE experience the circumstances. WE confront the things that are beyond our control.”

Isaac is the New York Times bestselling author of Eyes Wide Open. Overcoming obstacles and recognizing opportunities in a world that can’t see clearly.

On the podcast, we talk about his story told in his new book “Eyes Wide Open. Overcoming obstacles and recognizing opportunities in a world that can’t see clearly.”

We talk about when he was first diagnosed and the resulting panic and depression he felt, the gripping fear that he had to deal with. We talk about what blindness taught him.

Isaac talks about how true reality isn’t something you perceive, it’s something you create in your mind. 

We have a very useful and very rich and immersive experience of sight that has nothing to do with the world around us and yet and here’s the fundamental contradiction. We experience what is truth. So we literally create our own truth and believe it.” 

There is the McGurk effect, The Ponso illusion, sight even affects how you taste food. Add to it all your cognitive biases and you create your own subjective reality. Sight starts becoming a disadvantage. Isaac helps me “see” that, I think he can help you too.

Show Notes

[00:07:22] Why his Ted talk reveal was such a surprise

[00:09:59] Why he says going blind really was at the end of the day one of the best things that ever happened to him

[00:15:50] His diagnosis and story  

[00:16:04] His description of the disease’s progression

[00:17:26] Hi emotional reactions and future predictions when first diagnosed

[00:29:02] The bounce, the moment he knew he could thrive

Issac’s website 

Retinitis Pigmentosa

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