Gender & Identity, Life

These 9 TED Talks will absolutely change the way you think

I wouldn't be stretching it if I say you seriously don't want to miss out on these talks.

At the risk of sounding rather nerdy, one of my favorite past times is watching TED talks. I can’t think of a better or more time efficient way to learn about everything in the world from people who are experts on their respective subjects than this. And, I think, even if you don’t happen to be a fan of these talks as I am, you need to free up some time for these ones because they will change the way you think about life’s priorities.

They deal with four of life’s most defining aspects that I also found interrelated: vulnerability, love, passion and identity. Because only when you are vulnerable, can you love and only when you know what love is, will you find what you’re passionate about. And only when you’re able to embrace your vulnerability, love for the sake of love and indulge your passion, will you know who you are.

Embracing Vulnerability

Vulnerability here does not mean weakness. The simplest way to put it is wearing your heart on your sleeve and finding strength in doing so.

One Answer to Life’s Most Important Question – Omar Samra

For the first time in years, Omar Samra, an Egyptian adventurer, entrepreneur and future astronaut, broke his silence about a tragedy that happened in his life. He tells us how it has shaped the man he has become today, embracing his vulnerability in the most inspiring manner, speaking directly to our hearts and souls.

An Art Made of Trust, Vulnerability and Connection – Marina Abramović

Remember the lady with this hauntingly beautiful video, that went viral a while back? In this TED talk, she shows us the relationship between immaterial art, vulnerability and connection.

She’ll give you the feels and change the way you think not only about art, but about how and why our souls connect. Her vulnerability and strength just go hand in hand in this incredible talk.

Loving Right

So you can’t really love without putting yourself out there. But sometimes we confuse our feelings of love and attachment. Attachment can come disguised as love but there is a big difference between the two. Attachment hurts and brings you down while love nourishes you and those around you. Attachment differentiates, but love does not.

The Person You Really Need to Marry – Tracy McMillan

This amazing 3 time divorcée and former foster child, born to dysfunctional parents, gives us the most important piece of advice anyone needs to know about love and how and where it really starts. I can’t do her justice in this blurb. You’ll have to enjoy her 13 minute breezy yet profound talk yourself.

 Love, No Matter What – Andrew Solomon

Unconditional love is mostly something that is exclusively offered to us by our parents . But, what about unconditional acceptance? Writer Andrew Solomon delves into the intricacies of difference and how parents experience love and acceptance unconditionally. He speaks of how our differences unite us and how love is still capable of being there in full force even when everything appears to be going wrong. This is not just for parents. This is for all of us.

The Truth about Following Your Passion

As Abraham Hicks says here, there is nothing that we are meant to do for ever because our paths are eternally evolving.  We don’t have to know what we’ll be doing later. All we need to do is be satisfied in our Now and eager for more, without longing for some future event to fill the void. There is always something in store for us – something more that we are destined to discover. Watch these two TED talks and you’ll get what I mean.

Stop Searching for Your Passion – Terri Trespicio

Terri Trespicio is telling you to do exactly the opposite of what  cultural imperative has been dictating on you: the simplistic and limiting idea that you have “one singular passion that you’re supposed to pursue to the exclusion of all else” or you will fail. Owing to a multitude of personal experiences , she has very good reason to have you change your mind about this take on “passion”.

Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling – Emilie Wapnick

Emilie Wapnick’s talk tags on to what Terri said above, also challenging the recently publicized stereotype of everyone being monopassionate. Find out if you are multipotentialite or a specialist, and brace yourself for some electrifying light bulb moments.

Knowing Yourself

We spend a good portion of our lives trying to make out who we are and what we stand for. The following three ladies talk to us about their unique experiences. As you might expect, they all discuss the divide between our own perspectives of who we are and how others see us, but each of them touches upon a different dimension to this subject, reinventing what it means to be different.

What Does My Headscarf Mean to You? – Yassmin Abdel-Magied

This is not another hijabi monologue. We all grew sick of those. This is an extra dope, super cool talk about our unconscious biases. I will speak no more becasue you’re in for some revelations. Watch this eye-opening talk by the awesomeness that is Yassmin Abdel-Magied and see what she has got to say for yourself.

The Thing Is, I Stutter – Megan Washington

Megan Washington is an Australian singer who happens to have a stutter, but we are the ones rendered speechless by her speech, and even more so, by her singing.  She did not allow her stutter to define who she is. Watch if you’re looking for some instant inspiration.

The Danger of a Single Story – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Adichie is a Nigerian novelist. In this TED video, she narrates her journey of self-discovery so effortlessly and profoundly the way a storyteller would. She talks beautifully of how the one-sided stories we are subjected to about our identities help develop stereotypes and misunderstandings between cultures, how others force their views on us with a kind of “patronizing, well meaning pity”, sometimes blurring our own perceptions of our own identities. And that’s just me scratching the surface of this intense and layered talk. You’ll have to make time to listen to this.

If you see that all these speakers are vulnerable, loving, passionate and conscious of their true identities, you are not mistaken, because you can’t be one without the other.

I see these states of mind as the most defining aspects of the human experience which, combined, ultimately lead us through the influx of impartial love, the reason why we have been given lives in the first place.