Whispers & Bricks: Life & Success Lessons from 911

by Ari Schonbrun

Whispers & Bricks: Life & Success Lessons from 911

 

Summary: 

 

Everyone remembers where they were on that fateful day Sept 11th 2001 in NYC when a terrorist attack shocked the world. I’m personally going to take you back WITH me to Tower One of the World Trade Center when shock, terror, flames, and chaos burst into the building. 

 

Episode Transcription:

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Ari: Welcome to whispers and bricks. My name is Ari Schonbrun, and I’m your host. This show will start with the events that took place in my life on that fateful day of September 11 2001. I’m going to take you back to town, one of the World Trade Center at 8:46am on September 11, of 2001. I’m going to take you back to that scene, not just for the dramatic effect, but expressly for me to retrace my steps of that day together with you. This show is about you. This show is designed to help you think about your life your own personal nine elevens, where you thought that your life or a specific part of your life was going to blow up. It is designed to help raise level of awareness. Don’t wait for the brick to hit listen to the whispers listen to and observe the little nuances in daily occurrences. Examine the quote unquote after the fact. See that whispers and bricks leave clues for all of us every single day. The events are not always as dramatic as the events of 911. The events do not always manifest themselves as bricks, but they are their life teaches all of us daily lessons. Living life is about heating to those lessons. Let’s dive right into it and go back to September 11 of 2001. I was on the seventh floor of Tao one of the World Trade Center. I was in between elevator was trying to get up to my office on the 100 and first floor. When my life as I knew it changed forever.

 

 That is when the first plane hit, the lights went out, the entire building shook the place filled with smoke and I was literally thrown off my feet. There was chaos all over the place. There was havoc, there was fire, there was yelling and screaming, I bumped into a co worker of mine who’s actually on the elevator that I was about to get on when that plane hit. She suffered third degree burns and she was a mess. Together, we went down 78 flights of stairs, I got her out of the building. And I helped her into an ambulance. It was then that she insisted that I get into the ambulance with her and go to the hospital with her. I really didn’t want to do it. But I finally acquiesced. And that was one of the many whispers that actually saved my life that day. If she wouldn’t have insisted that I get into that ambulance, I would have been standing at the base of that building when it came down and I would be dead. There’s no doubt in my mind. But she insisted that I get into that ambulance. And because of that I am around today to tell you my story. And to bring this podcast to you. This is the inaugural episode of whispers in bricks. Now the first question is why whispers in bricks? Well, what I learned on that day was that there are no coincidences in this world. Everything happens for a reason. Life is a series of whispers, there is a supreme being who uses daily events to whisper to our minds and to whisper to our hearts. But very often, we’re so busy running through life that we just don’t pay attention. And when we don’t pay attention enough times, a brick is thrown at us to wake us up. I always tell people, I had the brick thrown at me a 911. 

But you, you have a choice. You can listen to the whispers. Or you can wait for the brick. Hence the name whispers in bricks. Second question, why did I decide to do this podcast now if they’re all these years, it’s been almost 20 years since 911. And yet, this is the first time that I’m doing a podcast such as this. I’ve had almost 20 years to reflect on the many differences in my life that were made as a result of the events of that day. The reality is that I’ve been speaking for the better part of those nearly 20 years about my experience of 911 I’ve traveled the globe telling my story to audiences around the world. During my talks around the world, a question that people very often asked me is why, why you? Why did you survive? The reality is, I don’t know why I survive while so many others perished. But what I do know is that once I did survive, I had a mission. I needed to get up and tell my story. After every speech, invariably people would come up to me and say, Wow, that was so inspiring. You changed my life. When I realized that My story of 911 had the ability to change people’s lives, I realized how very powerful it was. I knew that I needed to take this work out to the world at large. sharing these experiences via podcast platform could have an effect on just so many more people. It was that realization, and the compilation of current events of the last year that brought me to create whispers and bricks. I don’t mean to sound cliche, but we are truly living in unprecedented times. Never before has there been a worldwide pandemic, that shut down industries that shut down countries that shut down the world, to the degree that the COVID-19 virus did, and is doing. There were days and weeks, during which tragedy seem to have a gulf our very existence, people were losing jobs, families were falling apart, the degree of depression and anxiety seemed to be unsurmountable. More and more people were committing suicide. Never before has the presidential elections divided the country to the degree that it did this past election. It seemed that we were attacked from within. There were times that each presidential candidate seemed to be more concerned with condemning the opponent than with promoting a positive agenda.

 

Never before has civil disobedience becomes so physically fierce. What should have been protests towards unity became riots of hideous violence. The streets have literally become a man against man, instead of man standing together. That is why I knew that I had to bring whispers and bricks to you. Through this show, you will learn how my experiences of 911 can help you. You will meet some remarkable guests, each of whom has been through their own 911. Some have realized the Whisper before the break was thrown at them. Some have risen up like a phoenix out of the ashes. But each of them have experiences that can positively impact your life. That is why I feel it’s so important for you to join me during every single episode. I may not bring all the answers, but I will bring whatever I do have. Every single week, I will bring to you whatever experiences I have. Whatever life lessons I have, I will always bring my A game. People used to ask me, Did you ever see counseling after events of 911? The basic answer was No, I never did. One of the things that I did do, however, I started to tell my story, I started talking about all the things that happen. And through those stories, or through those things that happened, I kept telling it over and over again. It started to sink in the enormity of the event. What happened to me, the fact that each seemingly mundane occurrence was really miracle after miracle. Whisper after whisper. keeping me alive throughout the course of that day finally sank in sharing with audiences around the world helped me find a sense of solace. Support. That is what whispers and bricks is here to bring to you. together will create a platform of sharing events that impact our daily lives. Each of our guests is going to have his or her or their unique story. Everyone has a different narrative. The common thread, finding each one together is perseverance. Some people realize their challenge early on in the game. And some people have to go through many hoops before they come out of the maze. I learned something a long time ago. 

God never gives you something that you cannot handle. If you are going through something, it is because you can ultimately succeed at it. Whether the event is an unfortunate one, or whether the test will take you to a higher level. You need to realize that your approach to it is what it is all about. The stuff for the lack of a better term, which you go through is called life. Life is about experiences. Life is not so much about the things that happen to you. Life is your reaction to the things that happen to you. That’s really what it’s all about. There can be two people facing what looks to be identical situations, and yet come out with diametrically opposed outcomes. They used to be a fascinating marketing campaign for one of the hospitals in New York. The narrator starts by describing the seemingly identical situation of two seconds Separate men. We’ll call these men John and Jim. The narrator then compares John and Jim’s hypothetical experiences in two different hospitals. John’s outcome in hospital a is death. And Jim’s outcome and a hospital B is a cure. What was the difference? The difference between Hospital A and hospital B is approach, attitude and approach to situations are the differences between life and death?

 

What determines success? What determines life? What determines positive outcome? You Why oh, you you determine success, you determine life, you determine positive outcome. Yes, it’s your reaction to circumstances that shapes its results, it is not the circumstance itself. So always remember, put a smile on your face, regardless of what it is always have a smile on your face. Because the effect that a smile has on you is immeasurable. You’re telling your mind that things are okay. Your smile has a positive effect on you. And on those around you. When you smile, people around, you see that you’re good, that you’re happy. And that whatever is happening seems to be going well. All of that positive input transmits signals to your brain to say, hey, things are good. Things are really, really okay. And that is so important. Mindset is the key to achievement. 

So remember, one of the things that I want you to do is smile. Start by simply smiling. The next thing that I want you to do is to be happy. I know that’s a little difficult sometimes Trust me, I get it some mornings, that it’s just impossible to be happy. But when you walk out that door, put that smile on your face and be happy. Once you’ve done that, go out and spread the happiness, regardless of what’s going on. Try and make other people smile, try to make other people laugh. I’ll never forget, there was one morning when I was working at the Trade Center and I got got into an elevator in the lobby. Now these elevators were huge, massive elevators, they they fit like 50 people. And they were the fastest elevators in the United States. They they went from there was one elevator that went from the lobby all the way to 100 and sixth floor to windows on the world. And it did it like under a minute. Ears used to pop when you get into these elevators. Well, I got into the elevator. And normally when a person gets into an elevator, what do they usually do? They walk into the elevator, and then they turn around to face the doors as the doors close. That’s what most people do. Well, when I walked into this elevator, I walked in, I didn’t turn around, I was facing the people in the elevator, the doors of the elevator closed. And I said, you’re probably all wondering why I call this meeting. And if you just laugh, that’s exactly what the people in the elevator did. When I get off the elevator, I told everyone to have a wonderful day. I am confident that each person on that elevator had a better day just because of that two minute ride. 

 

So when you start your day, think of something that will make you smile and laugh. Your mantra should be Hey, world, I’m here and nothing’s gonna stop me. Things are going to be great. If I’m here to experience it, it is great. It may be hard. It may be easy, but it is great. I’m excited about sharing the principles of whispers and bricks with you. In upcoming episodes,

we’ll talk about perseverance, determination, purpose, dedication, we will talk about taking everyday life and living it to its fullest. The good times the bad times those in between. They are really all good. The guests and their stories will impact your life. Joining the episodes will help clarify some of your dreams and goals. Do you know the difference between a dream and a goal? A goal is a dream with a date on it. Just put a date on your dream and now you have a goal. Goals are achievable. Goals are attainable. They are yours for the doing and yours for the taking. Label your goals and you will live your life to its fullest. Join the community of listeners to whispers in bricks each week. Listen to the diverse stories of our guests. Learn from their achievements. 

 

The lessons learned will be adaptable for each and every one of you. Now my promise to you is that this show will stop you in your tracks. You will never look at life the same way again. You’ll realize that what seemed to be jaw dropping events are the whispers in the wind guiding you forward. Things happen for a reason. The immediate reason is not always apparent, but the stories that you will hear will spur and awareness in you. They will get you thinking about the whispers in the events of your life. I was plucked out of a burning inferno and a collapsing building and I was given a second chance in life. I had a brick thrown at me. It may have taken some time, but I started to listen to the whispers and see that there is a reason for every turn of events. I want to provide that opportunity to you. Life is clearly worth living when the purpose is all good. So stay tuned, come back. Join every single episode of whispers and bricks. Don’t miss any of them. The people we will meet and talk with will blow your mind. The messages will touch and inspire you and the lessons are going to change your life. You’ve been listening to whispers and bricks and I’m your host Iris Schoenbrunn. Until next time, listen to the whispers avoid the bricks and never ever give up on your dreams. Bye for now.

 

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