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  • Paul Rutherford

FIVE WORDS, CHANGE A LIFE


Raymond Corsini worked as a psychologist in Auburn Prison in New York. One day an inmate, about to be released on parole, came into his office: “I couldn’t leave until I thanked you for what you did for me.” Corsini was stumped; to the best of his knowledge he had never spoken to the man. “When I left your office two years ago, I felt like I was walking on air. When I went into the prison yard, everything looked different, even the air smelled different. I was a new person.” The inmate explained how, from that moment, he changed the group he was hanging out with, moved from a cushy job in the kitchen, learned a trade in the machine shop, got a qualification, started writing to his family, and going to chapel. “You have freed me. Thank you for changing my life.” Still Corsini couldn’t place the man, couldn’t remember his face. “Oh, it was you alright.” said the inmate. “I had just come into prison and I had to do some of your psych tests. You told me I have a high IQ.” Five words: “You have a high IQ”. And that was the inmate’s ‘aha!’ moment. He understood why he was different – why he read novels rather than comics, played chess rather than draughts, was good at crosswords. Five words that were an invitation to participate not just in a story, but in a life.

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#change #people #ideas #trust

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