After years of watching the videos online, I attended my first TEDx event today - TEDx Cincy at the School for Creative and Performing Arts. The theme was “Plugged and Unplugged: The Crossroads of Technology and Artisanship” but the surprise was the incredible range of directions the speakers took with this guideline.
Food. Medicine. Music. Aeronautics. Photography. Design. Trendspotting. Dance. Tech. All of these topics and more were covered during the four hours. Yet from artists to self-professed nerds, one common theme persisted - the most passionate speakers’ ideas were a mash-up:
Doing something they loved + finding an unexpected, yet practical application for it = a new product/ service / idea that changes their lives and the lives of others for the better
The speakers that got under my skin were personal, passionate and authentic. Some even stumbled over their words in their excitement to share. They couldn’t wait to get other people to think with a new perspective and see what they could contribute.
During her talk, journalist/professor Elissa Yancy said, “We tell stories to prove that we’re alive and to prove that we’ve lived.” Today, I lived a few minutes in the story of a free-range caviar farmer, a rocket scientist, a puppeteer and a student poet. I hope you felt alive in your story today, too.
[Image: 365 Things to Do in Cincinnati]
I’m firmly of the belief that your youth should be spent pursuing your passion — not just slightly, tremulously, haltingly, but unrelentingly, with a vengeance, to the max and then beyond. So dream laughably big — and then take an absurdly huge risk or two. […] Bring into being something not just fundamentally new, but irrepressibly dangerous to the tired, plodding powers that be. Think about it this way: if your quest is mediocrity, then sure, master the skills of shuffling Powerpoint decks, glad-handing beancounters, and making the numbers; but if your quest, on the other hand, is something resembling excellence, then the meta-skills of toppling the status quo — ambition, intention, rebellion, perseverance, humanity, empathy — are going to count for more, and the sooner you get started, the better off you’ll be.
“There are people who prefer to say ‘Yes’, and there are people who prefer to say ‘No’. Those who say ‘Yes’ are rewarded by the adventures they have. Those who say ‘No’ are rewarded by the safety they attain.”
- Keith Johnstone, improv guru and author of “Impro,” as retold by Kat Koppett
What do you say?
[Image via Vi.sualize.us]
It can be really difficult sometimes to truly rest. Not a stolen 20-minute nap or hour of mindless meandering on the Internet kind of a rest, but a real rest from all that you’re thinking, doing, feeling, as you go, go, go.
Joshua Becker at Becoming Minimalist had a great post on rest last week that resonated with me on what prevents us from recharging:
• A false sense of urgency surrounds us at every moment. We live in a world that floods our minds with so much information that it has become difficult to sort out the important from the unimportant. As a result, the urgent needs of the day crowd out the important. And rest puts up little fight against the urgent.
• Our minds require distraction. Our minds have become addicted to stimulation and validation. As a result, it has become increasingly difficult to turn off E-mail, Facebook, or Twitter… not to mention cell phones, televisions, or the Internet. And when our minds begin to require distraction, rest becomes an increasingly difficult state to achieve.
• Rest cannot be rushed. Modern society loves shortcuts. We desire 15-minute abs, 30-minute meals, and 1-hour photos. Unfortunately, rest can never be rushed. It must be entered deliberately and allowed to complete its cycle in due time. By definition, this requires patience… and a cleared schedule.
How can we expect to move forward, create and inspire without taking time to unwind?
The best teachers are the ones who tell us we can. The best parents tell us we should. The best companies show us what we can do. And the best politicians remind us what’s possible if we work together instead of apart.
May we all discover what about us doesn’t fit the norm and, instead of trying to hide or bury it, work to make that our single greatest advantage.