I attended the first ever TEDxToronto salon this past Friday. For those of you unaware of TED and the reasons for its existence, I encourage you to check out their website. The tag line pretty much sums it all up: Ideas worth sharing.
The nonprofit organization highlights speakers from all walks of life, and all ends of the planet. They feature everyone from former vice presidents of the United States (Al Gore) to technology gurus like Steve Jobs. And though the talks range from the absurd to the hilarious, they all share simple yet common goals - to engage and inspire others, to challenge the ways in which we view the world, and to ultimately create a global community that seeks to foster the good in society.
I was fortunate enough to meet and listen to two Canadian speakers featured on TED at this event -- Drew Dudley (creator of Nuance Leadership Development Services Inc.) and Neil Pasricha (creator of 1000AwesomeThings.com). And they were both nothing short of fascinating and inspiring.
I first became aware of TED when I listened to a talk by acclaimed author Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat Pray Love fame). While in Korea, I stumbled across a video of her speaking about this idea of nurturing creativity. As a writer myself, I was enamoured by her visions and took a lot of what she said to heart. But the best part about the whole thing is that it exposed me to TED and to the unique and fascinating people on there, who literally have ideas worth sharing. Listening to TED talks soon became a guilty pleasure, and I found myself turning to them during moments of hopelessness and for bursts of inspiration. And an even better aspect of all this was that I could listen to the talks for free, in the comfort of my own home.
I was thrilled when I found out TEDxToronto was having its first salon. I was even more excited when I realized who the guest speakers would be. Drew Dudley is possibly one of the most engaging people I've ever met. He has a way of making things not only seem simple, but also quite attainable. When he talks, you can't help but listen. And when he's done talking, you want to leap out of your stance and go out and do something good.
Neil Pasricha inspires me. His blog started off as a simple idea meant to help him work through a rough patch in his own life. It turns out, a lot of other people were seeking the same medicine he'd created for himself. His website, 1000awesomethings.com, now helps millions of visitors by reminding them that life isn't all that bad. He focuses on the brighter side of life, and encourages others to take comfort in everyday joys and luxuries.
The theme of this salon was 'The Big Goal'. Everyone who attended was encouraged to write down their goal on a piece of paper, and stick it to a board where it could be shared with others. In fact, the night wrapped up with a few individuals stepping in front of the audience to vocalize their goals. I didn't get a chance to do this myself, but I wrote mine on the piece of paper. It seemed a lot simpler than what others wrote (including one which read, "TO NOT DIE"), but I was happy with my choice.
Mine was, "To focus my energy on the positives rather than the negatives in my life."
And as I expressed to Drew Dudley, this is partially why I started the Note This Moment project. I needed to create a space where I'd be forced to look at all the simple joys in my own life, and be thankful. Now friends are contributing to the site as well, and I'm looking forward to the participation of others (like you!). I guess you could call it a hopeful project, meant to engage others in positivity. And if you haven't yet checked it out, I encourage you to please do so.
I walked away from the TEDxToronto salon with a renewed sense of hope that there are other like-minded individuals out there who are doing their best to create a better tomorrow. I'm glad I had a chance to participate in this meetup. It put a lot of things into perspective for me... namely that I'm quite capable of a lot of things. And that I should stop asking people for their opinions and advice when it comes to decisions about my own life.
As Neil Pasricha puts it, "If its right, you'll feel it in your bones." And that's the best advice anyone can ever need.
Thanks for reading!
Be sure to check out The 3 A's of Awesome by Neil and Leading with Lollipops by Drew, when you have a moment.