A Dose of Inspiration for Your Organizing Journey

Need some inspiration for that 'daunting' organizing project ahead of you? Just when you think you can't handle yet another task, then just remember Bob.

Awhile back, Barbara Walters of the television news program 20/20, was about to reveal her most memorable interview ever. This was going to be interesting.

She began, 'It is not a president or a king or a movie star. It is a man I interviewed more than 25 years ago. He was a teacher and a poet, and the most inspirational person I have ever met. His name is Robert Smithdas.'

  • Bob Smithdas taught himself to cook. He prepares and cooks his own dinner every night. One of his specialties is Chicken Cacciatore.
  • He is well read. In fact, he reads 20 magazines a month.
  • He understands the stock market and operas.
  • Bob graduated from college at the top of his class, plus earned a master's degree and two honorary degrees.
  • He is a teacher. He is also a speaker and a poet.

While these details are certainly impressive, how would you feel if I told you that Bob Smithdas, the man whose life I described above, lives in silence and in darkness.

Yes, Bob is both 'deaf and blind.'

Bob cannot hear his own voice, but he learned how to talk again after he became deaf and blind at the age of 4. He became the next deaf-blind person, after Helen Keller, to graduate from college at the top of his class. He then earned his master's degree from New York University -- the first advanced graduate degree anywhere for a deaf-blind student. On top of that, he earned two honorary doctorate degrees and then became a teacher, a poet and a husband.

Bob and his wife, Michelle -- who is also deaf and blind -- have never seen each other, but they know what the other person looks like. They talk with each other; not with words and sound, but hand-to-hand with a manual alphabet. They finger spell words, letter by letter, into each other's palms.

Bob wrote a special poem to Michelle for their wedding day,

'There is no need to speak. I understand each quick impulsive movement of your hand. By some strange magic of the heart, I guess the meaning of each gesture, each caress. Oh, when I reach to take you by the hand, it is because I need to understand that I am not alone in this broad land.'

Bob and Michelle, married for 23 years, manage to live independently; cooking by touch, using teletype-style phones and computers, wearing pagers that vibrate to signal the ringing of the telephone or the doorbell.

They also do all their own housekeeping and chores. The home that Bob and Michelle decorated together is designed so that their sighted friends will be comfortable when they visit. Bob selected the artwork himself. I watched in utter amazement as Bob cooked himself dinner. He sliced onions, used a pressure cooker and adjusted the flame -- with no help.

And what is the Smithdas' workday like? Bob, his wife Michelle -- who earned a master's degree from Columbia University's Teachers College -- and their colleagues at the Helen Keller National Center on Long Island teach other deaf and blind people how to cook over a hot stove, how to crack open an egg and save the yolk, how to do office work and how to use computers. In short, how to live organized, independent and happy lives.

Bob and Michelle do not have sight, but they see their life full of opportunity rather than limits. Talk about being organized! These two people are the epitome of effective organization. And remember -- they can't see and they can't hear.

They've accomplished so much in life, by goals, planning and dedication. By being organized, positive and committed. They're independent and they're happy. This is certainly food for thought for every one of us.

Getting organized often starts with a little bit of inspiration. I hope that Bob and Michelle's story has provided you with that today.

by Maria Gracia - Get Organized Now!

Tags:  Inspiration
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