What really matters: four stories of personal achievement

Anne Dauphine Julliand, Pau García Milá, Toni Nadal, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Sellou were the stars of the last «What really matters» Congress (LQDVI for its Spanish initials), organized in collaboration with Fundación Telefónica. Along with Think Big or Wayra, this is a project that reinforces the commitment to young people as drivers of social change and transformation, and aims to tell the stories of ordinary people who, day by day, make dramatic personal achievements.

Filling our days with life

The Frenchwoman Anne Dauphine was responsible for opening the last day of the congress. A journalist by profession, Anne Dauphine is the author of the bestseller  Will Fill Your Days of Life, which tells the story of her experience after discovering, in 2006, that her second daughter, two-year-old Thaïs, was suffering from an incurable disease and had only a short time to live.

In such a situation, Anne pulled through thanks to her family and the desire to breathe life into «lifeless days». «Love is not just a feeling, it is mostly a decision. Every life is worth living, even for a day», she told us.

We all tend to ask ‘why me?’ in difficult situations, but that is the «worst way to fix problems and climb the mountain to the top.» In the writer’s opinion, happiness is a choice in life and «if we want to live in a united society, we must approach those who suffer most, because when you have no fear of death you are not afraid of life.»

Nobody knows anything

This is one of Pau García Milá’s maxims, pioneer of eyeOS system for the development of what we know as cloud computing. Interestingly, Pau was expelled from the Faculty of Computing at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia for poor academic performance, because at age 17 he and a friend had come up with the basics of a system that would enable users to access their files from any computer through a virtual desktop located on the cloud.

«The phrase I repeat to keep my feet on the ground is ‘nobody knows anything’,» he admitted in the LQDVI Congress. To support this, he recalled in his speech that the famous AngryBirds game became a success only after 13 failures. Or the example of Tim Berner Lee, who came up with the idea of the Internet ten years before it formally existed. Or how it was assumed that everything had been invented and along came a Spaniard and invented the lollipop.

«Whoever has an idea just has to set it off. Eight out of ten ideas do not start because of our surroundings, which are the most difficult thing to change. Time judges ideas «because, as these stories remind us, the greatest failure is the greatest success.»

If you respect your opponent it’s easier to beat him

Toni Nadal is uncle and coach of Rafael Nadal. During his speech, he emphasized the need to learn to endure adversity: «It is essential to be a happier and better person.» About his nephew, he said that Rafa is the player who «wins most games when playing poorly because of his staying power. That is why he has never broken a racket.»

Toni argues that the best way to achieve success is by behaving properly and not stepping on others. «If you respect your opponent, it is easier to beat him, and you also can learn from him,» he said with conviction and stressing that, even at the worst times, we must assert ourselves, knowing who we are and where we want to go.

«Improving and progressing is hard work. All that has value is difficult. The important thing is not doing what you like, but liking what you do». In short, what really matters is the will to succeed.

Two lives in one

The grand finale of this Congress was offered by the people who inspired the wonderful movie Untouchable. Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Sellou are a peculiar pair comprising a French aristocrat who is quadriplegic after an accident, and who meets a young Senegalese man who has just left prison. Their friendship changes them both.

The two told us about the relationship they had had over ten years; what began as a simple work contact soon became a strong friendship.

Philippe admitted to having had two lives for the price of one: «Abdel gave me the gift of discovering the other. Not dependence, but the importance of interdependence. This is what makes us people.» The businessman stated that real disability does not lie in a wheelchair, but in loneliness. That’s when you realize how important others are.

For Abdel, Philipe is his wheelchair Buddha: «When you help others, others help you. Only when I learned respect did people begin to respect me.» Together they closed the conference with a sentence to be remembered: «Do not wait until you become untouchable to learn the true meaning of happiness.»

Follow this link to Fundación Telefónica’s YouTube channel, where you can see all the previous conferences and speakers to make sure you don’t miss out on what really matters.

Images | Live Streaming of the LQDVI.


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