April 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
Today, for the first time, I went to the TEDxUofM event. As maybe some of you can imagine if you know anything about TED Talks, I feel awakened, inspired, motivated and refreshed. The event’s theme was “untapped,” and it was divided into three sections: unexplored, unleashed and unveiled. The day was full of energy and passion; full of things that my brain is still processing. As I was walking home from the event, I started thinking about the monotony of our everyday lives. Every day, we go about our business. We follow our schedules, we follow the rules, we follow everyone else. We go home at night, go to bed, and start again. For so many people, our days tend to morph into weeks and those weeks morph into months and years and decades. So, it’s up to us to break up the monotony of our lives. This world is too exciting, too full of so many opportunities and interesting people to live a boring life. It’s incredibly challenging to break out of the routine of our every day lives, but when we do, when we choose to do something out of the norm, the rush we feel from this break in the monotony is overwhelming. Events like TED force us to do this, they force us to leave our comfort zone and enter a new zone, a zone that may be as scary to us as a lake full of water may be to a tiny tadpole. But like the tadpole, once we enter this new zone, we eventually learn how to swim. We learn how to move, but more importantly, we learn how to move forward. This new water fuels our souls like gasoline fuels a car. Without it, we would remain stagnant, forward motion would be impossible and nothing would be created.
When I applied to go to this event, I was asked a few questions. One question was, “What is your passion?” This is a question that’s always hard for me to answer. I think: what do you mean my passion? How in the world am I supposed to have just one passion? Or how do I pick the best passion, the one that will make me sound the smartest or the most innovative or the most generous or the passion that will be the most lucrative? This is a question that I’m finding is frequently asked to a twenty-something-year-old. People often say as a form of advice, just follow your passion – but sometimes it’s so hard to know what your passion is. I have many passions, but for this event, I wrote that my passion is story-telling. And today, listening to so many different stories, from a former prisoner to a Google employee to a National Geographic design editor to a high school teacher to a college professor to a U of M student to a former boy band member, all of these stories reaffirmed my passion for story-telling.
As I’m lying in my bed unwinding and writing this post, I’m listening to Jack Johnson. His lyrics “and words of wisdom all around, but no one ever seems to listen,” jump out at me. We, as rational humans have this awesome opportunity to learn from the wisdom that surrounds us, the challenge is opening our ears.