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Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson – Why Getting Cancer Was a Gift

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Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson just did an absolutely epic TED Talk on his determination to succeed in life. Along with his life in Iron Maiden, Dickinson spoke of his business ventures and how, in hindsight, he views his fight with cancer as a gift.

Dickinson blazed through his talking points in the 18-minute TEDxMalmö Talk. After speaking about his green energy business pursuits and selling over 30 million pints of Trooper beer, Iron Maiden’s air raid siren offered some advice for when life goes horribly wrong.

“What happens when things go horribly wrong? Imagine you’re sailing into the future and suddenly the world hits the buffers. Oh, it just has. So what happens when you think, ‘We’re on an unsinkable ship. Why do we need to bother about finding out how the lifeboats work?’ You need to take a step back. You need think, not what can we not do… what you must do is take a view and say, ‘What can I do? What can I do today that will make a difference?’”

He continues, “What I’ve discovered is that it’s like nature’s cattle prod — apply more voltage. Suddenly, you think of ideas because you have to, and then you realize that when the world returns to what we perceive of as being normal, the ideas that you came out with when the world was not normal… actually some of those ideas are pretty good in their own right. ‘Why didn’t I think of those ideas before?’ Think of it as a gift.”

“I had cancer five years ago. It was pretty hard for the first week or so to think of that as being a gift, but actually in hindsight, it was. When I had cancer, I was not intending to check out anytime soon. I realized it was a possibility, but I can not change that outcome. What can I do? I can make a plan for the future. Let’s go and start the process of learning to fly a 747. Let’s do the ground school, let’s lay the groundwork. Let’s assume I’m going to be able to do that, because I came back and flew a 747 on the tour after I came back from cancer.”

Bruce concluded his TED Talk by sharing the inspiration he takes from Winston Churchill. “I’m not even gonna bother talking about his many flaws… I’ll tell you one thing you can take from this man — dogged determination when it matters. When it mattered to the whole world, he stood up to an unpleasant man with a toothbrush mustache. He stood up to him against, it has to be said, some of the people in the establishment — a lot of people who were in his government. He stood alone and inspired a nation to stand alone against the monster that had carved up continental Europe and would have carved up the world. Determination. Churchill — determination.”

Watch Bruce Dickinson’s full TED Talk in the video below.

From Rock Star to Businessman | Bruce Dickinson | TEDxMalmö

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