As I continue to go through my notes from my experience on Sunday at TedxSFU and continue to think about what I learned, I feel happy that there are things that changed me at that moment and things that will continue to change me. So as I start part two of my experience (you can find part one here: TedxSFU: How will I “Connect the Dots”? (Part One) ), I keep wondering and hoping that I’ll be able to connect my passions and dreams to my career and goals.
There were 12 speakers and all of them inspired me in different ways. As I mentioned in Part One, the theme was “Connect[ing] the dots”. Throughout the day, there were several smaller themes such as ‘Singular becomes Communal’ which I believe is about taking one thing and turning into something bigger, something that builds a community. The next title was ‘Engaging a Dialogue’, this is still tied into building a community, but it allows for conversations in this community that remains true, authentic, and open-minded without any prejudice, resentment and censorship. The last two themes were ‘bridging originality & innovation’ and ‘ambitions of a collective future’, which we wouldn’t have without any of the themes listed above. You take one idea, it turns into a plan, into a goal, into community, and with it you create something that connects more people locally and globally. I really enjoyed this Ted talks series because it really felt like it was directed at me personally.
In this section, I’ll continue to talk about more of the various speakers that we had the pleasure of meeting and listening to. Dan Pontefract, talked to us about ‘The Purpose Effect’ and basically made me think about who I want to be, what I want to be, where I want to go and what I want to do with my life. He talked about workplace environments, our personal purpose, organizational purpose and how we see our role can define these things. Basically, if you’re unhappy, don’t feel valuable in the work place then you don’t work as hard and you just do it for the pay. At least that’s what I think. I did that this year, I settled for a job because I needed money and experience but I was unhappy so I didn’t care about the job that I was doing and thus, I ended up leaving because I didn’t feel like I was meeting my personal purpose just the company’s purpose. So this talk really hit home. It definitely made me question what I want out of my life, how can I still apply my values in the work place? Dan mentioned that “Purpose fuels people, people fuel organizations and organizations and people fuel society” and who doesn’t want to add to this cycle of helping and allowing people to find their purpose. I think all work places should do that rather than have employees compete with one another.
The next speaker is one of my favourite people. I cannot say it enough. I discovered her while reading my Chatelaine magazine and follow her on every social media platform. She’s one of the people who not only has influenced the way I eat or what I eat but she’s just a positive person who I enjoyed listening to. Erin Ireland, the founder of To Die For and hosts alongside local company The Juice Truck, “Mindful movie nights’ where they showcase documentaries about where our food comes from, the implications of what we eat, how they are made and how it affects our health and our environment. In her speech, she mentioned that we should be careful about what we see, that there is a food bias, that we are bombarded with what kinds of foods we should eat and that it can be dangerous. She told us to be conscious about where our food comes from, what we’re being told to eat and to do our own research. As someone who is trying to live a better and healthier lifestyle, I agree. You don’t have to become vegan or vegetarian but be conscious of what you are buying and putting into your body and how it affects our planet, does it produce pollution, does it go to waste? It was such a great talk and well, I might be biased because she’s one of my role models. Plus, you should definitely try out her recipes, they’re quite delicious! You wouldn’t even know that they’re vegan!
Continuing on with this dialogue of taking care of ourselves and our environment, the next speaker was Daniel Dubois, the founder of ShareShed. ShareShed basically connects owners of outdoor equipment to share the equipment in order to reduce the amount of goods that are never used and end up in our oceans or garbage. He wanted to build a community of sharing of consumer goods in order to reduce the amount we buy. I think this is a great idea. I mean, I have roller blades that I barely use and a hockey stick that I haven’t used much. So why not share? Daniel quotes Rachel Bottsman and says that we should “redefine our wealth from what we own to what we have access to”. I think that is the most profound things I’ve heard since we do live in a world where we want the next newer thing even though our thing is still useful and reliable. Daniel not only made me think about how much I’m hoarding in my house but he also said somethings that we could all be reminded of everyday. Some of the things he mentioned were that we “[should] connect dots between our values and actions to make a difference as who we are”, he also said that if “it can be conceived it can be achieved”. So remember, we can all accomplish our dreams, just got to go out there and do it.
The next speaker Manny Bahia is the co-founder of our local online news Vancity Buzz, he talked to us about being conscious about what we read. He talked about being careful about what we are reading and only sharing things that are focused on our values and beliefs. In a way, this can be dangerous because you are sticking to one point of view and this can lead to narrow-mindedness. He mentioned that we should read more than one news source and to do our research because the media can filter the truth and change it to reflect one perspective and not share differing views on a similar topic. I think this is extremely important especially since we live in a world where we are bombarded with information but sometimes it can be extremely biased.
The next speaker was Aidan Scott who talked to us about restoring emotional authority in our lives. We should take control of our own emotions, not asking people what we think of ourselves and letting opinions get to us. He talked about creating space. I didn’t write down too many quotes because I became engaged in his talk, I was so focused on what he was saying that I found myself reflecting about what I always say when I want to avoid talking. He says that our go to excuse is that “we’re busy” and that there are issues that come with being busy. We miss out on a friend needing to talk, needing companionship or even an opportunity to learn more about ourselves. He mentioned that we should be accountable for our actions. Again, like most of the other speakers mentioned that we should be authentic in the way we speak, act and live our lives.
The next speaker was sitting behind me and I didn’t even know until I was talking to his friend about how my personal struggle of trying to find a job in the post-graduate life. Richard Tuck, who works at Riipen is not only a funny person but made me realize I’m a walking statistic, I was his Erin (an example that he used). And that it’s not my fault entirely. He talked about how there is high rate of youth unemployment because career advisors, guidance counsellors don’t help you get the job you studied for but just a job. They help guide resume to land a job after graduation but it’s not necessarily one you wanted. He talked about how schools don’t prepare you with the skills that companies, industries, etc look for. We are just taught from books but don’t have a lot of hands on experience. I looked at myself, I studied criminology, which I believe is more research based than anything else. I had a hard time when it came to exams but when it came to writing papers I felt like this was something that would help me land a job. Criminology is a research based career, so why spend countless hours on research, writing and presenting not let me land the job that I really want? It was really hard to hear a lot of the stuff he mentioned but it made me realize that some of the sources out there aren’t as helpful as we think them to be. He did say something that I learned this year which was to not settle for mediocrity.
The second to last speaker of the day was Craig Gerhit, who talked to us about experiential learning. What I picked up from this is that you need a combination of learning through experience and through books. He advocated a lot about the importance of the outdoor school and teaching without really having a plan. I thought that was cool, as someone who likes hands on experience because I like researching and planning, it sounds like a good idea. I definitely agree with him that experience is the best kind of learning. It made me feel good about getting out there and just learning from the world around me.
The last speaker was another of my favourites because she was the cutest and I found the story she shared with us relatable. Mandy Len Catron, an English professor at UBC and writer of the well-known article To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This that was published in the New York Times at the beginning of this year. Mandy talked about love. She talked about how we use negative words to describe love, that we make love look like we’ve lost it and that it can turn into an unhealthy relationship with someone. She talked about changing our expectations when it comes to love, that we should be more assertive, open-minded and confident when it comes to love, that we should change our metaphors when it comes to love. She mentioned that rather than falling in love, we consent and just step into it. I had the pleasure of talking to her later on in the evening and we discussed her quoting Beyonce made her one of the best people ever. I mean who quotes Beyonce in a Ted Talk? Mandy, that’s who. She was the sweetest, I’m sure if she had been my English professor, I would have had a good time!
Overall, the experience was amazing, not only did I make new friends, meet inspiring individuals who are making a difference in communities but also I got share it with friends and my sister. I learned so much about others, myself and the world around me. If I could give one piece of advice to all of you is to attend a Ted talk, a conference or a seminar where the topic is something that you need to learn more about or struggling with. This Ted talk was something I needed in my life. Not only did I keep thinking about what I would take from it but now I’m thinking what I can do. It’s time for me to connect the dots in my life.
I know that this one was even longer than my first post but I really hope I was able to capture the essence, the words and my experience in a way that makes sense to you. Thanks for sticking around!