Don Brockway
18 Sills Ct.
Centerport, NY 11721

Excerpt Three:
Setting Priorities
Don Brockway, speechwriter

"A little self-deprecating humor"

Not too long ago, I attended a presentation on the potential therapeutic value of a promising new class of drugs for Parkinson's Disease. Afterwards, I fell in with a group of people from Drug Innovation and Approval who were discussing the neurological implications of various therapeutic approaches.

I was extremely impressed by my colleagues' expertise and enthusiasm. But a moment came... when they all stopped talking... and looked at me. And there was... an awkward pause. The kind you can drive an SUV through. [PAUSE]

I knew I had to say something. [PAUSE] So I asked - if it was actually true that most people only use a tenth of their brains.

[PAUSE] This created... the second awkward pause. [PAUSE]

One member of the group took pity on me, I guess, because she said, "Well, I've heard that, and it's an interesting idea. It's sort of right... but also sort of wrong. What is true is that... at any given moment... less than 10% of the billions of neurons in the brain are actually firing. That may be where that idea originally came from."

And I said, "See, that's interesting, 'cause I'm going to talk with our field force next month... and I want to make the point that... as successful as our products have already been, there's always tremendous, untapped, additional potential still waiting to be discovered. It's like the neurons... 10% are firing, but what if we could get them all to fire? Wouldn't that be a great way to make the point?"

Third awkward silence.

And another member of the group said – very softly, very gently – "Not really. When the neurons fire all at once... we call that a seizure."

As I said earlier, I'm not much of a science guy.

So I took this cherished notion of mine... that we're all only using just a tenth of our potential... and tossed it out the window. Because what neuroscience actually tells us – quite clearly – is, "you can only do so much at once."

This morning, I'd like to talk to you about the specific activities you and I need to concentrate on over the next six months.


- - - © 2007 Jeff E. Winner