Keynote speaker urges students to be their own ‘force’

David Broyles

March 30, 2014

Motivational speaker Russ Peak told a group of 375 students to look at the world like they would at a magician or a mind reader and ask “how do you do that.”

Peak, Keynote Speaker for the North Carolina Association of Student Council’s annul meeting being held at North Surry High School, made his remarks Friday night.

Peak was introduced to those in attendance as a hypnotist, mentalist, a magician and a motivational speaker. He shed some pretense about his craft at the beginning.

“I am not a psychic. The things I do are a kind of theatrical illusion with a little bit of psychology. I just don’t solve murders,” said Peak. “If you put your mind to it you can do anything.” He told the students that leadership is about choices and performed several “mind reading” illusions while explaining knowledge of physical clues is part of the trick.

“Use your ‘MIND’ or Motivation, Imagination, Navigation and Determination,” said Peak. “How we apply this to our lives is the tricky part.” He encouraged association members to modify Newton’s law stating an object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.

“The force is you. You’re the only one who can move it,” Peak said. “Take responsibility for moving yourself. When you use your imagination you don’t have to settle for the ordinary. Leadership is figuring out what’s important in life and loving what you do. Life is too short to get stuck in something you’re not happy with. How are you going to end up anywhere good if you don’t know where good is. Life is opening up that door and going to what is good and wonderful because you know who you are and what you are passionate about.”

He told them leadership is about not predicting the future but making it. He reminded the students most successful people admit they were “knocked down” so many times they wanted to give up. Peak told them everyone gets knocked down but the winners are the ones who get back up. He said author Dr. Seuss’s first work was rejected 27 times before he succeeded.

Association President Riley Fillius, who was instrument, along with North Surry Student Council Advisor Daron Atkins, in placing the bid that brought the meeting to Surry County, welcomed the association members and encouraged them to get the most from the weekend by making important personal connections which would last a lifetime. Association Executive Director Elliott Mathis presented her the gavel before the presentation of colors by the school’s JROTC and the national anthem was sung by The Greyhound Sounds choir.

“This has been two years in the planning and North Surry has worked extremely hard to make us welcome,” said Mathis. “This is the largest congress I can remember us having and I’ve been doing this for 30 years.” He said around 448 students and adults were participating in the convention.

Atkins praised the efforts of Fillius, who persevered with Advance Placement classes, a semester internship and earned early admission to her “dream school,” Florida State.

“This has been a two-year roller coaster for Riley,” said Atkins. “I told her at 7 p.m. tonight (Friday) we would be going over the top so she should hold on for the ride from here.” He praised the North Surry Student Council, Fillius and Student Body President Katlyn Hodges.

David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.