Your TED Talk! - Toward Community

Your TED Talk!

Jill Bolte Taylor: A Stroke of Insight. Taken from
Jill Bolte Taylor: A Stroke of Insight. Taken from

Given the chance, what would you ‘TED’? Imagine your future self – your job, family, friends, home etc. What could you be proud to give a TED presentation about?

I talked in a previous post about the importance of having a vision. Another way of approaching this is to take a look at a popular outlet of new ideas – TED. Standing for Technology, Entertainment and Design, TED’s “ideas worth spreading” approach educates members of the public regarding the latest achievements and insights coming from human endeavours around the globe. Behind the scenes, speakers often feel greatly humbled (and a little terrified) when offered the opportunity to give a TED talk. These talks have become known for their innovative content and delivery, so with many tough acts to follow, speakers really need to dig deep to bring us something we may be entertained and intrigued by. This got me thinking – if I was in this position, what could I grab onto in my life NOW that might have said impact on an audience. Of course, a lot of the impact of a talk comes from the delivery and I’m sure a masterful story-teller could make a trip to the shops into something worth sharing on stage to millions. But assuming my delivery would be obscenely good (of course), I will focus on content today…

What inspired this idea?

Some weeks ago, the above thoughts came to me as I was taking my new rescue dog for a run. I imagined a  TED title of “How getting a puppy made me the best version of myself!”. This is far from a hugely exciting topic, but it occurred to me that we can potentially seize any event and use it as an opportunity to both validate and motivate ourselves. Having rescued the dog from a less-than-ideal situation, I felt that I had helped another living being and thus felt proud of that. I also found myself out running again after neglecting my fitness for months. Furthermore, I was now responsible for this life and had to make choices accordingly.

Another benefit of having this new pup is the way that it has tended to limit my options. That may sound counter-intuitive, but for a great deal of my life I have been lucky enough to be paralysed by the amount of options I have. As a white, British male, from a family with a comfortable degree of wealth, I am among a very small but lucky percentage of the global population for whom few opportunities lie beyond the scope of my imagination. This can sometimes be paralysing, as it’s difficult to decide what to do. Having a dog means I am now restricted in some ways. I can’t leave the country (Portugal) so easily, I can’t go away for long periods of time (he gets very upset) and I can’t move around within the country easily either (the poor lad gets very sick). So, when I do go somewhere, depending on the distance, there had better be a good reason for it and I can’t be transient for long periods. I’m anchored and have a reason to set down some roots and find a new community for myself (this is already happening – more in a future post). By rescuing a dog, I have become more responsible, focused and capable of making decisions that weave my life into the story I wish it to be. That wouldn’t be possible if I were sitting around reflecting all the time or hopping on the next flight to South East Asia.

So what would I say in my TED talk?

In thinking about how I’d like to see myself in 3 years, my plans are far simpler than those I used to dwell on – overly-excited youthful dreams of jet-setting and becoming some sort of authority figure. I’ve been able to scale back on what I thought I wanted and allow what I actually want, what I’ve always wanted, to come back into my life – that is being part of a community. Quite how that will be realised is still subject to change, but myself and my extended community are getting there. So if I imagine myself 3 years from now, what might I like to say about this period of my life? I’d like to say that I settled in a rural part of Portugal, to raise my new family member – Zach – and as a result of this I was able to stay close to my existing family and build stronger bonds with them. Whilst in Portugal I became a teacher, expanded upon my events management experience and continued to write and make music. I got into the best shape of my life and continued to pursue my martial arts. Ultimately I’d like to say I helped to build a community and cultivated a wonderful social life, with people who had welcomed me into their lives and were an absolute pleasure to be around. I hope I can say, with confidence and accuracy, that I had a vision for myself and created an environment that would help me to become the person I wanted to be; that I became the best version of myself – all because one day I got a puppy from an animal sanctuary in rural Portugal.

And how about you?

What can you see yourself on stage talking about, if you had lived the life you desire? Visualise this, and from this point on you can start making small changes every day to assert that lifestyle, a position from which you can present in the same excited and charismatic way as many of the TED talkers we are so inspired by today. You can make this a reality! Just do it!

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David Schofield

Hi, I'm David. When I'm not working on The Ethical Organiser, you'll find me studying kung fu, with my family or designing a farm for the future. I get excited about self-sufficiency, sustainability and community. If you want to learn more, get in touch. I'd love to meet you to see if we can create your dreams together.

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