31 Mar

Last Saturday I attended TEDxUofS. It was an incredibly refreshing, inspiring, and exhausting day. It has been a very long time since I sat in a university lecture hall and listened to people share passionate, inspiring stories about their lives, studies, and careers.

When I was a grade twelve student in high school I felt invincible. I truly thought I could do anything I wanted. With enough hard work, perseverance, and chocolate I could take on the world. This feeling of invincibility wavered during my university career; I became a little jaded and cynical somewhere between writing socialist papers on the concentration of media ownership in Canada and the democratic potential of the internet. I left the world of academia feeling… uncertain. I felt smart and capable. I did not feel brave.

Is it naïve to follow your dreams? No matter how unrealistic they are? Maybe. But these naïve, crazy people are inspiring! They make me feel like I can pursue my passions and dreams. Though, I confess, I don’t know what those passions and dreams are (and I’m pretty satisfied with my day job). But I do love feeling inspired, sharing stories, and learning where people find their happiness.

What is TED and TEDx?
TED is an event of riveting talks by remarkable people. TED believes passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. TED is building a clearinghouse of knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading”. TEDx is designed to give communities, organizations, and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.

The theme for TEDxUofS was The Wisdom of Play. The conference’s presenters shared stories of how they use creativity and curiosity to deepen their understanding of the world and discover new ways to connect with local and international communities.

Lots of ideas and stories were shared during TEDxUofS. It was total information overload. I enjoyed every minute of it. Here are some highlights from the day:

Ryan Leier: I very much enjoyed Ryan Leier’s presentation on the Oneness of Yoga. Ryan was sincere, engaging, and funny. He reminded me we need to focus on harmony not harm, we should not react negatively to life, and whatever we do we should try to do the very best we can. Fun fact: Ryan is the go-to yoga teacher for the band Arcade Fire.

Photo from TEDxUofS facebook page.

Curtis Olson: Curtis Olson is an incredibly inventive individual that is blurring the border between public and private spaces. Curtis’ projects revitalize neighborhoods and build community. Curtis repurposes old buildings and renovates them with materials from the community that carry historic and sentimental value. The buildings Curtis builds have the ability to connect a community of people together through shared history. His buildings encourage collaboration and sharing; these spaces create community. Curtis challenged attendees: What type of communities are we building?

Photo from TEDxUofS facebook page.

Greg Johnson: Greg Johnson is a storm chaser. Such a cool job, such a great guy. Greg is incredibly genuine, approachable, and smart. Greg shared the story of how he was unhappy with life. He built a successful marketing and communications firm from the ground up and was unsatisfied. He gave it all up to take photos of nature’s most beautiful and extreme storms. He recently published a gorgeous book of photos and stories from his adventures chasing storms and tornadoes across North American.

Photo from TEDxUofS facebook page.

Greg ended his engaging presentation with the following quote from Therou: Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but for the love of the job.

Words to live by.

Photo from TEDxUofS facebook page.

Thanks TEDxUofS! I had a fabulous day! 


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