I used to listen to lectures as I did excel work in the office. I needed enriching content in my life and my weekly Microsoft Office duties weren’t cutting it. I used to vary it between The Actor’s Studio and TED.
I’ve always loved stories of struggles and passion. Who doesn’t, right? More often than not, I’d go for the TED talks as they have a tendency to offer 2 things The Actor’s Studio talks don’t: The first is these TED talks bring issues to life for me, opening my mind to what some people are going through, cutting the distance between us. As unhappy as I’d be in my desk, I’d realize that people were out there fixing situations significantly more complex than my own – giving me a sense of eagerness and hope. The second is the astonishment at learning how simple some of the solutions to these problems are. It was always the same – I’d spend my entire walk home thinking, ‘how can my problems be looked at differently?’
It was a few years ago, but I remember that back then in New York, there was a TED frenzy going on in the offices. Founded in 1984 as a one-off conference, TED now runs various annual conferences and projects, bringing together the most fascinating thinkers and doers to tell their stories, in 18 minutes or less, giving the speaker very little time to give you anything other than “the good stuff.”
At times, it’s difficult to see past our own issues, but as one listens, it’s a strong reminder just because one doesn’t experience them first hand doesn’t mean they don’t exist, and it certainly doesn’t mean one can’t be moved by it.
I recently discovered that TED has a Women’s section available and it reminded me of something I read once by one of my favorite screenwriters, Nora Ephron: “Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.”
So why is the TED’s women section so important?
We see an overwhelming content targeted towards women, defining beauty and success for us. We see a great deal of guidelines that define what happiness looks like, smells like, dates like and so on. We need to begin feeding ourselves content with nutrients, and this is difficult. This is a challenge, because there isn’t a lot of it and worse, we aren’t even used to it, so it’s not something that as a group of people, we know to demand.
We need to move away from the kind of content that attempt to define these very personal views for us and find the kind of content that educates us to define these terms ourselves.
If you check out this section, you’ll be happy to discover that there are a plethora of videos discussing both problems and solutions for issues that pertain to women today. You can go online and blow your mind a little by listening to the most unexpected victim of domestic violence, listening to a surprising call to men on gender roles by Tony Porter, or my favorite, Isabel Allende’s Tales of Passion.
Every group or community deals with different obstacles, but it’s in discussing these issues that one can find true understanding of how the group feels as a whole. As a woman, I know that despite cultures, religions, and socio-economic status, I have often connected with tales which women around the world have described. The constraints and expectations are the same, and at times, my reactions are identical, despite our very obvious differences.
I invite you to take a look at this channel and change the way you see things. This conference is all about moving forward, spreading ideas and changing the world. It’s important that as a group, our take on that be addressed. Not as oppressed, not as bitter, but as better, rather passionate and educated.