I admit this title, find a better way does not belong to me. In fact, I stole it from Jeff Huber being the title of his 2016 commencement speech at the University of Illinois. Jeff was a member of some of the teams at Google that built the Google Ads, Apps, Maps, and Google (x). He left Ebay took a pay cut and a lesser place to work for Google. After losing his beautiful wife to Cancer, he left Google to find a better way to tackle Cancer. He founded Grail a company that detects Cancer early, when it can be cured.
Cancer starts when one cell out of the 37 trillion or so cells in the body divides and does it wrong. Those mutated cells shed DNA and RNA into the blood stream as they multiply. If the early signal is detected, we can catch Cancer earlier and treated. At Google(x), Jeff begun studying the intersection of Life science and Computer science, focusing on how digitizing biology, big data and machine learning could accelerate our understanding of complex biology. From these studies and out of the commitment to find a better way led him to founding the company ‘Grail’.
Mick Ebeling is an American film and TV producer by trade and an optimist by nature. He read about a Sudanese boy whose arms were blown off during a bombing of his village and he was incited to help. His commitment to find a better way to make the world a better place prompted him to travel illegally to the Nuba mountains to find Daniel, make him a prosthetic arm and taught the locals about the process as well. Again, he didn’t stop there, he found a better way to make life a better place for Tony Tempt Quan, a legendary LA graffiti artist, social activist and publisher who was diagnose with ALS in 2003. Mick organized a crew of hackers and artist to invent a low-cost, open sourced DIY device that would let Tempt creates art with his eyes. Through trial and error, the Eyewriter was born and Tempt was back to using his creativity.
Another person who finds a better way was Travis Kalanick an everyday guy who is changing the way people move in cities and towns in over 260 destinations world-wide. He founded together with co-founder Gary Camp the cab sharing service Uber. He found a better way for people to move around quickly when he became dissatisfy with existing taxi service and the rude cab drivers, today Uber has made life easier for many and most of its drivers are earning 6 figures.
I met Dr. Okang last March when I walked into a General hospital in rural Cross State, Nigeria to have a tumor at the back of my head removed. With an ill-equipped theater and lacking major surgical equipment, Dr Okang find a better way to according to his words harvest and excised my tumor. With only a few years out of University of Calabar medical school, it is his culture to find a better way to safe the lives of his patients and make them happy.
What do these people I told their stories above have in common they have commitment, competence and love for humanity. That’s why they always find a better way to make life better for others. However, the same cannot be said for majority of us. We always find a way to take short cuts. Michael Jordan, one of the best basket ball player of all time was someone committed to finding a better way in his career. He had no room for taking short cuts. That’s why history will never forget him as some one who has left his finger prints in the sands of time. In an interview he has this to say “the game of basket ball has been everything to me. My place of refuge, a place I have always gone to when I needed comfort and peace, its been the site of intense pain and intense feelings of joy and satisfaction. It’s a relationship that has evolved over time given me the greater respect and love for the game” Even though he knew he has a special aptitude for the game, he subjected himself to the rudiment of the game. Again he said ” when I was young, I had to learn the fundamentals. Most people get side tracked and derailed from their purpose and lose focus when they don’t see results from their effort. When this happens they stop giving their best and try to play the system. Be true to the game because the game will be true to you. If you try to short cut the game, then the games will short cut you. If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you. That’s truly about the game and in someway about life too”
What are you going to do? Are you going to just put in the time wake up, eat eba (local staple food), drink beer with friends and have sex, and wait on the big bang (the end of the world). Are you not going to find a better way to make life easier and better for humanity, thereby living your finger print in the sands of time?
I walked into the cosy delta mall to rest from the scorching sun outside and to have a feel of the central air-conditioning in the mall. Inside, there were many happy shoppers, some entering the shoprite stores while others were at the different fast food restaurants that dotted the mall. Not having money I was careful not to feel jealous for these happy shoppers. I found a secluded place in one of the restaurant and sat down. Opposite me two love birds were whispering sweet nothings to each other. Bringing back my attention to myself I drifted into my own place of refuge and intense joy, my imagination. The result is the post you are now reading.