I asked Patrick Newell below for an example of a Japanese presenter he had worked with who greatly improved over the years. His answer was BLACK, a former salaryman and engineer turned professional yo-yo performance artist whose talent was impressive enough to pass the auditions for Cirque du Soleil, and got him an invitation to perform and tell his story at TED in Long Beach earlier this year. BLACK has a great story of personal transformation to tell, but telling it on the TED stage — let alone telling it in a foreign language — took some work. Before auditioning for TED at the Worldwide Talent Search in Tokyo, BLACK had presented for TEDxYouthDay and TEDxTokyo.
The point of his story at TED is not about the yo-yo. His story should resonate with anyone who is in a situation where they feel deeply disastified — "I felt my passion, heart and soul, had left my body. I felt I was not alive anymore," said BLACK. "What I learned from the yo-yo is, if I make enough effort with huge passion, there is no 'impossible'." There's the lesson right there.
I have spoken with BLACK a few times while in Tokyo and he is one of the nicest and most humble young men you'll ever meet. A real gentleman...who found his passion. Checkout his performance at TED below.