Christian Long

Ben Dunlap: Talks about a Passionate Life

In TED Talks on April 12, 2010 at 6:37 am

Reflection by MILES W.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Ben Dunlap:  Talks about a Passionate Life

Mr. Dunlap’s story about Sandor Teszler is very inspirational and one that we should try to model our lives after. As a man who faced many different struggles and challenges throughout life, he still tried to make the right decisions and lead a good life.

When he first saw Mr. Teszler at Wofford College he had a feeling that there was something special about that man sitting in the back of his classroom. He saw a wise man that he could learn from. He saw a man that had been through many struggles in his life and had faced them valiantly. He saw a man who had lived and was still living a passionate life, and he was correct.

There were many times in Mr. Teszler’s life when he could have given up. From his club feet as a child to his time in a death camp, it seemed like his life would never go anywhere. After beatings and more beatings, he and his son were almost forced to take their own lives through the use of cyanide capsules.

But when all of the light was almost gone a familiar face who he helped earlier in his life helped Mr. Teszler to hold on a little bit longer. He ended up being rescued by the Swiss Embassy, reclassified as a Yugoslav citizen, and then ended up in Spartanburg, South Carolina where he would do a greater good than any before. He ended up integrating the textile industry in the American South. He opened a plant in Kings Mountain basing employment not on race, the way it was traditionally done in the South, but by skill. His hiring of both black and white workers who formed a great business together was revolutionary in this time. Mr. Teszler later went on to Wofford College to become the president.

But what is truly inspirational about this talk is not about a man and all of his great achievements.

It’s not about how many great, famous people he has met over his life or the career goals he achieved. It is about how he lived his life and how many people he was able to touch throughout. Mr. Teszler sought nothing more in life to make a difference and to help others. It was not about the fame or the fortune, it was about the people. From the thief who became an overseer in the death camp Mr. Teszler was tortured in, even to Mr. Dunlap who Mr. Teszler left a great mark on, these people will never forget him and their lives have and will be forever changed by him. This was not because he was the richest, most intelligent, and most comical man on the face of the earth. But like we should all strive to do, he lived every day to the fullest, and he got every single drop out of his life.

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