What I learned at TEDxWaterloo

The stageIf you have not done so already, try your best to attend a TEDx event (or even a TED event). It will open your eyes. The speakers will blow you away with discoveries, melt your mind with their intelligence and enchant you with their stories. Today I had the true pleasure of living one of my long time dreams of attending a TED event, it was actually a TEDx event and happened to be the biggest one in North America... TEDxWaterloo

The theme of this event was the idea of discovering, exploring and challenging the uncharted. The list of speakers was truly fantastic (some who I had not heard of before, but some who I certainly had). A few speakers who stood out to me were: Jean Francois Carrey, Abby Sunderland and Vicki Keith. Here are 3 quotes which I managed to capture from these 3 speakers:

"Passion is contagious. Enjoy the journey." - JF Carrey

"What are you going to do when your rouge wave hits? " - Abby Sunderland

"Create your own reality." - Vicki Keith 

I could quite easily write a blog post about what I learned from each of these great speakers but instead I'm going to just try and summarize what I learned from the entire experience into 3 points:

  1. The world is getting smaller - Today's event was broadcast live on the Internet to everyone in the world who was willing to pay attention. Quite frankly, it was amazing to see that there were people in other parts of Canada, responding to things that were happening on stage in Waterloo. The Internet has allowed for so much to happen (revolutions in Libya and Egypt have made this idea even more prominent) that I truly believe you can achieve an uncharted amount of collaboration through it. WhatMemorabilia  we're doing now social media/skype/email/telepresence ... that's all just the beginning. 
  2. Achievers are not bound by impossibilities - To them, there are only ... different possibilities. I think Vicki's speech is really what drove this point home for me. She talked about how a young girl (Ashley Cowan), despite being a quadruple amputee... swam across Lake Erie in 2001. Unbelievable story. It made me realize that if you ever want to achieve something truly (and I mean truly) amazing, you should not even consider the word impossible. Vicki and her stories proved that anything is possible.
  3. Take time to remember the moments - JF Carrey talked about his journey on Mount Everest. He said it took him 6 years to train for the event... and he spent a total of 20 minutes on the summit. 6 years worth of work... for 20 minutes. Think about something you've experienced or are about to experience... how long have you prepared for it? How long are you going to get to experience it for? How long have you been looking forward to it? What I've learned is, no matter how long we've been preparing... when we actually do what it is we've been waiting for... we have to try and remember the moments. It's tough, it's very very tough especially if you really get into the swing of things and end up doing a million things a minute at big events (or on big days). Try your best though to remember the moments. 

Final thoughts: The whole notion of the uncharted, kept reminding me of a song by one of my favourite artists - Sara Bareilles - conveniently called uncharted. I remember seeing her live and hearing her talk about how this song was actually what got her out of writer's block and actually managed to kick-start her new album. I think it's pretty serendipitous that she discovered her new self by writing a song called uncharted. TEDx thought me that a lot of our lives are still uncharted. It's up to us to find the passion to change that.