Daniel Kish

  • Founder World Access for the Blind
  • "Real-Life Batman"
  • "Activational" Presenter

Totally blind, Daniel taught himself a new way to see. Through World Access For The Blind he teaches individuals, educators and corporations a new way to see. Voted one of the top 10 speakers at TED2015 and PopTech's ‘Talk Of The Day,' and featured in over 150 major publications and broadcasts reaching billions around the globe, Daniel has served thousands of clients from Fortune 500s such as Apple, PayPal, Proctor & Gamble and more, to individuals of all ages. His penetrating ability to activate audiences to navigate any challenge is highly sought world-wide.

With over 20 years conducting hundreds of workshops and training people of every age and background, Daniel refers to himself as an "activational" presenter recognizing that whatever may be our motivations, inspirations and aspirations, in the end, we must act. Daniel and his team have garnered a solid reputation for achieving life-changing results no matter how challenging the conditions. With two masters degrees and a rare ability to navigate anywhere in total darkness, Daniel is the first blind person ever known to be certified to teach blind people how to navigate. He’s also the first to apply these same principals to help everyone, blind and sighted alike, students, educators and ‘Captains of Enterprise' alike, to navigate any challenge more effectively and with less fear.

 
  

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Rave Reviews About Daniel Kish
Thank you for an extraordinary talk. You've got an amazingly compelling way of speaking—curiosity and intelligence and interest oozing out of every phrase that you utter. It's so listenable to!

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Daniel Kish
  • Apple
  • PayPal
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Scottish American Insurance
  • TED
  • TEDx London, TEDx Mumbai
  • PopTech
  • CDI Puebla
  • Compute Midwest
Kish | He’s a Real ‘Batman’ Who Can See With Sound - Great Big Stories, CNN Films - Get Sharable Link
Kish | He’s a Real ‘Batman’ Who Can See With Sound - Great Big Stories, CNN Films
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Trailer | POPSUGAR presents: Conquered, Echolocation - Featuring Daniel Kish - Z Living
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Daniel Kish How I use sonar to navigate the world
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Daniel Kish, presidente de World Access for the Blind, CDIPuebla
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TEDxObserver - Daniel Kish - Teacher, campaigner
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Daniel Kish: Blind Vision
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Explore Daniel Kish's Talks
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Blind Vision

Daniel tells the story of how restriction, limitation, lack of freedom, and fear can cripple people with sight and without. His presentation guides the audience through the inspiring story of innovation and hope, and how lives are being changed. ...

Daniel tells the story of how restriction, limitation, lack of freedom, and fear can cripple people with sight and without. His presentation guides the audience through the inspiring story of innovation and hope, and how lives are being changed.

Activating Creativity and Positive Transformation: Lessons Learned from Blind People who Learned to See.

Creativity can be defined as bringing something new or distinctive into being. Positive transformation can be defined as catalyzing the evolution of something into something more. In order to bring something new into being, we must renew ourselves. Newness created within us spreads from us into the ...

Creativity can be defined as bringing something new or distinctive into being. Positive transformation can be defined as catalyzing the evolution of something into something more. In order to bring something new into being, we must renew ourselves. Newness created within us spreads from us into the world around us. The answer lies in activating renewal and change in our own brain.

Dynamic Network Navigating: The Step Beyond Action is Interaction

Seeing is freeing. It is the drive for personal freedom to understand the world around us and our place in it that lies at the heart of development for all of us. This is no less true for blind people. Blind people must optimize their senses to adapt to what we cannot see, and strategically see thro ...

Seeing is freeing. It is the drive for personal freedom to understand the world around us and our place in it that lies at the heart of development for all of us. This is no less true for blind people. Blind people must optimize their senses to adapt to what we cannot see, and strategically see through others much of what we cannot see for ourselves. For blind people, freedom transcends independence and self-reliance to include active networking and interactive exchange. Blind people become experts at navigating networks, and using networks to navigate. Actively directed interactions and skilled management of elaborate networks of support and resources are the building blocks of action and knowing.

Activational Presenter

Among the many monikers bestowed on him, Daniel refers to himself as an activational presenter, because his audiences go away more than delighted and inspired - activated with a deeper purpose to improve themselves, and help to support and activate others. "What we think and how we feel is critical, ...

Among the many monikers bestowed on him, Daniel refers to himself as an activational presenter, because his audiences go away more than delighted and inspired - activated with a deeper purpose to improve themselves, and help to support and activate others. "What we think and how we feel is critical, but the end product ultimately depends on the actions we take." Daniel's lifelong process of adapting successfully to his blindness, helping thousands of others, blind and sighted, to adapt to their challenges, applying lessons learned from that process to growing a business, and his prolific world travels and extensive exchanges with noted experts from many disciplines positions him to present engagingly and informatively on a broad range of topics. Generally, his themes revolve around activating ourselves and others around us to adapt to any condition, and navigating any challenge by dynamically identifying and managing the rich network of resources and supports within and around us. He presence his message in practical terms through Keynotes, seminars, and extended workshops designed to activate self improvement, improved productivity, and improved networking.

The Most Dangerous, Most Debilitating Form of Blindness is Blindness to Our Own Blindness

Fear of the dark, of the unknown, lies at the root of all fear, and lurks at the core of man's most primal nature. Sighted people tend to deal with this fear, not by embracing or passing beyond it, but more often by filling the world with artificial light. While this solution has merit, it doesn't a ...

Fear of the dark, of the unknown, lies at the root of all fear, and lurks at the core of man's most primal nature. Sighted people tend to deal with this fear, not by embracing or passing beyond it, but more often by filling the world with artificial light. While this solution has merit, it doesn't address the fear, it only defers it. No amount of light can make all of the unknown go away. What lies around the corner? What's going to happen tomorrow? What lies under the bed? Blind people face the unknown undaunted every day. The unknown can become known through expanding our own awareness such as through enhanced hearing and touch, and by strategically accessing and applying the knowledge and awareness of others. What remains unknown is respected, not feared. When we learn to embrace the unknown, we neutralize the root of all fear.

When Blind People Learn to See, Sighted People Want to Learn to See Better

Blind people learning to see through expanded sensory awareness and skilled networking exemplifies the immense capacity within us all to become activated to see more clearly with less fear to navigate any type of challenge through any form of darkness to discoveries unimagined. It is when we raise o ...

Blind people learning to see through expanded sensory awareness and skilled networking exemplifies the immense capacity within us all to become activated to see more clearly with less fear to navigate any type of challenge through any form of darkness to discoveries unimagined. It is when we raise our heads beyond the walls of our blindness box that we behold a larger world more full of opportunity and richness than we might have imagined. If blind people can learn to see in the dark, then surely sighted people can learn to see better in the light.

Let Us All Challenge What We Think We Know

Most of what we think we know is based on assumptions that have been programmed into us by a society which doesn't necessarily have our best interest at heart. This blinds us to new possibilities, limits us to charted territory, and enslaves us to the dictates of others. If we challenge what we thin ...

Most of what we think we know is based on assumptions that have been programmed into us by a society which doesn't necessarily have our best interest at heart. This blinds us to new possibilities, limits us to charted territory, and enslaves us to the dictates of others. If we challenge what we think we know, we can break out of this dependency conditioning and touch what is real.

Challenge is Food to the Brain

Imagine what blind people can learn to do when we apply every moment of every day to navigate the darkened challenges of life and livelihood. Most of us avoid challenging ourselves too much. We tend to rest in our blindness box, and repeat the same routines. But every time we present a challenge to ...

Imagine what blind people can learn to do when we apply every moment of every day to navigate the darkened challenges of life and livelihood. Most of us avoid challenging ourselves too much. We tend to rest in our blindness box, and repeat the same routines. But every time we present a challenge to our brain, our brain responds by adapting and growing.

Running Into a Pole is a Drag, But Never Being Allowed to Run Into a Pole is a Disaster. Pain is Part of the Price for Freedom.

Running into a metaphorical (or actual) pole may cause a superficial injury that will heal quickly and be forgotten. Never being allowed can cause the deepest and most pervasive harm that is not so easily healed or forgotten. ...

Running into a metaphorical (or actual) pole may cause a superficial injury that will heal quickly and be forgotten. Never being allowed can cause the deepest and most pervasive harm that is not so easily healed or forgotten.

Love Nourishes Freedom; Fear Imposes Limitation

My parents knew the difference between love and fear. Fear immobilizes us in the face of challenge. My parents knew that blindness would face me with significant challenges. I was not raised with fear. They put my freedom first before all else, because that is what love does. My parents were fiercel ...

My parents knew the difference between love and fear. Fear immobilizes us in the face of challenge. My parents knew that blindness would face me with significant challenges. I was not raised with fear. They put my freedom first before all else, because that is what love does. My parents were fiercely protective of my freedom. I learned by moving around quite freely, allowed to choose and direct for myself the help and support I needed. I was held to strict standards, but also given liberty to learn from consequences. How often do we try to insulate ourselves or our loved ones from opportunities for learning and growing? We may tell ourselves that this is out of love, but really it is often motivated by fear. When we work with parents, we ask them to try to stay very clear about their motives, and ask themselves this question, "Is the action I'm taking or the reaction I'm having bound to further or inhibit my child's freedom?" We can just as easily ask that same question of ourselves.

Freedom Cannot be Granted by Others; It Must be Earned for Ourselves

Freedom is the ability to direct one's own life and make one's own choices responsibly, to conduct one's affairs and achieve a quality of life comparable to one's peers. The most important thing to know about freedom is that it isn't something that's given by external forces. It isn't something that ...

Freedom is the ability to direct one's own life and make one's own choices responsibly, to conduct one's affairs and achieve a quality of life comparable to one's peers. The most important thing to know about freedom is that it isn't something that's given by external forces. It isn't something that is granted; it's something that one takes responsibility to find and claim. So if freedom is granted, it isn't freedom, because it is only granted with conditions.

Impressions of Blindness Are Far More Threatening to Blind People Than Blindness Itself

I do not feel vulnerable or unaware or ignorant or needy or diminished in any way, shape, or form. Challenged? Yes - challenged far more by social prejudice than the physical limitations of blindness. ...

I do not feel vulnerable or unaware or ignorant or needy or diminished in any way, shape, or form. Challenged? Yes - challenged far more by social prejudice than the physical limitations of blindness.

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World Access for the Blind

As Founder of World Access for the Blind, Daniel Kish has inspired millions of people and Fortune 500 companies globally with his Keynote Addresses, Activational Workshops and Perceptual Consulting.  From this video page you can witness Daniel's inspirational speeches and the countless reports and interviews on his work.

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Biography

ACTIVATIONAL | INSPIRATIONAL | MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER 

Totally blind, Daniel taught himself a new way to see. Through World Access For The Blind he teaches individuals, educators and Fortune 500s a new way to see through everyday challenges. Voted one of the top 10 speakers at TED2015 and PopTech's ‘Talk Of The Day,' and featured in over 150 major publications and broadcasts reaching an audience of over 2 billion viewers around the globe, Daniel has served thousands of clients from Fortune 500s such as Apple, PayPal, Proctor & Gamble and more, to individuals of all ages and backgrounds in over 40 countries. His penetrating ability to activate audiences to navigate any challenge is sought world-wide.

TRANSFORMATIVE EVENTS

Whether presenting an inspirational Keynote speech, motivational seminar, or extended activational workshop, Daniel's audiences enjoy a personally-activating and lasting transformation through his rich and engaging narratives, expressive delivery, compelling demonstrations, and provocative audience participation - recognizing that whatever may be our motivations, inspirations and aspirations, in the end, we must act to affect change. 

For nearly 20 years, Daniel and his team have garnered a solid reputation for achieving life-changing results, no matter how challenging the conditions. With two Masters degrees and a rare ability to navigate anywhere in total darkness, Daniel is the first blind person ever known to be certified to teach blind people how to navigate. He’s also the first to apply these same principles to help everyone, blind and sighted alike - students, educators and ‘Captains of Enterprise' alike - to navigate any challenge more effectively and with less fear.

Daniel's bearing is richly textured with a dry humor, and presents an effect that has been called "contagiously transformative." Having presented to many non-native English speakers, his speech is carefully measured, clear, and precise. 

IT ALL STARTED WITH A CLICK 

Having lost both eyes to cancer as a baby, Daniel's well reputed expertise comes from his own experience learning to navigate the dark unknown. Within a few months of losing his eyes, it became clear to those around him that Daniel was learning to discern the nature and location of objects well beyond his reach. By clicking his tongue on the roof of his mouth, or clapping his hands and listening to the patterns of information that echoed back to him, Daniel began to construct images in his brain of near and distant surroundings that allowed him to navigate freely as he was beginning to see in a new way.

HIS VISION IS SOUND 

The reflected sound patterns are like camera flashes in the dark, or as he calls it - FlashSonar™,  imprinting his mind with a sort of three-dimensional ‘fuzzy geometry’ of his surroundings. With this process, Daniel can recognize a narrow pole from several meters away, describe his surroundings in vivid detail, and scan the main features of a building from several hundred yards/meters, in the pitch black of night.

HIS METHOD IS SCIENCE

Years later, in a series of ground-breaking scientific brain-scan studies that Daniel helped to design, these images were discovered to be the result of the echoes activating his visual cortex, the part of his brain responsible for ‘seeing’. Through a staggering twist of neural plasticity that has since laid new groundwork for multiple fields of science, Daniel's ears have become his eyes, eventually earning him the title “the real-life bat man" the world over.

As the darkness around him receded, Daniel's freedom to understand and relate to his world on his own terms blossomed. His whole body from head to feet became a live antenna - every sensation providing critical contribution to his perception and navigation. No resource of information or adaptive strategy was left untapped by Daniel or his parents, a practice that has come to characterize Daniel's approach to every situation and endeavor.

HOW DO YOU RAISE A BLIND CHILD?

Daniel's parents knew his blindness would pose significant challenges, and they knew that fear would compromise his ability to face those challenges. Therefore, fear and doubt held no sway in his upbringing. Walking himself to his neighborhood school, finding his own way around new places, bicycling on his own, tree climbing, competitive games of tag, ball play, and general roughhousing were just a few of the typical activities that characterized Daniel's active boyhood

Fear of the unknown, man's most primal fear, was thus neutralized in young Daniel's mind freeing him to face all of life's challenges with little trepidation. He now refers to this as "befriending the unknown" and he is frequently called upon to share its benefits with everyone from babies and teachers, to top executives and world class scientists.

DISRUPTING THE SIGHTED STATUS-QUO OF LOW EXPECTATIONS  OF BLIND PEOPLE BY SELF-DIRECTED ‘DYNAMIC NETWORK NAVIGATION’

As Daniel grew to face an expanding world of increasing complexity designed by sighted people for sighted people, he found the need to leverage his own capacities and efficacies by engaging and managing networks of visual support from those around him. He had observed many times that asking for sighted help can, and often does, lead to dependency and passivity among blind people. Resolved not to let this hold him back, Daniel learned to maintain his autonomy while engaging support from others, when needed, by remaining active, vigilant, and true to his own capabilities. This process, which Daniel now calls dynamic network navigation, has helped him to navigate through turbulent and uncharted territories in his own enterprises, providing him with a wealth of experiences and perspectives in leadership, entrepreneurship, and situational analysis.

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS AND WRITING HISTORY

During his years in college Daniel conducted pilot research to develop the first documented methodology to teach what he called FlashSonar™ echolocation to other blind people. This led to him becoming the first totally blind person in the world known to earn Orientation and Mobility certification to teach blind people how to navigate.

This certification was historically denied to blind persons, so Daniel's historic entry into this field has helped open the way for other blind instructors, thus mobilizing a monumental paradigm shift in all fields related to blindness.

A PIONEERING MOVEMENT EMERGES IN WORLD ACCESS FOR THE BLIND

The unprecedented freedom to navigate with a new form of vision demonstrated by Daniel and many of his blind students, riding skateboards and bikes, hiking mountains on their own, competing in sports, and participating more widely in their communities, activated a wave of media intrigue that spanned the globe. In answer to floods of enthusiastic correspondence, Daniel led the founding of the California-registered non-profit organization World Access for the Blind in 2000 to help blind people bring about for themselves new levels of self-directed capability, achievement, liberty, quality of life and, especially, dignity that was historically believed impossible for the blind to attain.

THE WAY FORWARD TO CHANGING MORE LIVES  BY CONQUERING THE ‘DARK UNKNOWN’

Daniel and his team unswervingly aim to help activate people to perceive and understand their world and themselves better. Daniel's premise is simple - if we want to change the world, we must change ourselves. His principals for activating change are simple - challenge everything we think we know by stepping beyond the programming of conventional wisdom and finding our own blind spots; befriend the unknown by conquering fear and doubt; find the knowns within the unknown through points of reference; and recognize and apply all available supports and resources through dynamic network navigation.

Daniel's special interests and areas of study include at-risk children, family dynamics, neural-anthropology, industrial-organizational psychology, the science of perception and action, interactive networking, ancient music, spirituality, healthy living, personal transformation, and all things of the great outdoors. 

GLOBAL MEDIA SPREAD THE WORD

The revolutionary impact of activation training has been featured in over a dozen scholarly and popular books, nearly every major TV network in the world, and a broad range of radio broadcasts, peer-reviewed journals, and top publications.

Daniel Kish and former WAFTB student - now Perceptual Navigation Instructor - Brian Bushway are featured in the official music video for X Ambassadors’ ‘RENEGADES’ that has garnered over 25 million views on YouTube and Vevo.

The last five years alone have seen the work of Daniel and his team featured in printed publications including Chronicle of Philanthropy, Men's Journal (voted sixth best read of 2011 by Readers Digest), BBC World Service, The Week, The Smithsonian, National Geographic, Scholastic Magazine, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Scientific American, Psychology Today, Popular Science, Washington Post, and Success Magazine; TV broadcasts including NBC News TODAY, ABC Nightly News, CNN and CNN International, Discovery Daily Planet, Guinness World Records, HD Net's News and World Report, The Weather Channel's Human Eclipse, and BBC Horizon Science; radio broadcasts including BBC Radio, and NPR'S This American Life, Morning Edition, and All Things Considered; and a multitude more.

Himself a prolific writer, Daniel has contributed to numerous textbooks, peer reviewed journals, popular magazines, and specialty periodicals. Publication of Daniel's textbook on teaching FlashSonar™, the first of its kind, was released in the first quarter of 2017, to be followed by two more books under negotiation about Daniel’s life and the hard science behind his approach.