Lessons from Uncle Ted

03Oct08

One of the things I miss most from my days as a student is the simple joy of being in a classroom. Passionate discussions. Challenging thoughts. And an exposure to raw, unfiltered Academia.

So the first time I stumbled across TED, I thought I struck scholastic gold. I began attending ‘class’ without ever leaving my apartment with a world class roster of professors. But I still craved the discussion component of the learning process.

A couple months ago, I proposed spending a half hour per week watching a TED talk with our team at work. And to make a long story short, it’s been extremely successful. Selfishly, I like the collegiate-like atmosphere it provides in the workplace. But I also constantly hear rave reviews from my coworkers. I can’t say I’m surprised – after all, I have yet to see anything on TED.com that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed – but it’s nonetheless a delight that everyone else enjoys our weekly ‘guest speaker’ as much as I do.

This week, we listened, on the edges of our seats, while Ben Saunders told the tale of his solo trip the North Pole. His humility, courage and perseverance inspired us all to tackle those long-standing-yet-seemingly-unachievable goals we tend to file away when reality sets in. Towards the end of his presentation, he showed a report card from his childhood that essentially said he wouldn’t amount to anything in life. It’s funny now. And the irony is apparent. But it made me wonder how many people – kids and adults, alike – give up on their dreams or ambitions because someone bigger/smarter/older/louder/bossier than you said so.

I encourage everyone to watch his charismatic talk – and renew the sense of confidence in yourself. I’ll leave you with the video clip and a quote from our TED guest this week:

‘No one else is the authority on your potential.’ – Ben Saunders

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