Talk Nerdy to Me, Ted!

I love a good TedTalk! Learning is not something that’s limited to some building with one solitary teacher. In my opinion, the best learning is so often self-directed and comes from natural curiosity.  Thanks to technology, we can access so much more information than ever before, and there are fewer limitations surrounding us. We don’t have to worry about not being able to study something because it will eat up some elective credit we no longer have. We can work at our own pace. And, my favourite, we can really dabble around and explore so many different areas. 

Below, I’ve compiled my favourite TedTalks and online lectures. As you’ll see, the range is quite vast and a good reflection of where my own curiosity has taken me…

  1. Tim Urban’s Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator talk. This talk is not profound. However, it is hilarious! Sometimes, that’s all we need, right? Check it out – I can’t do it justice.
  2. Rodney Mullen’s Pop an Ollie and Innovate. Have I ever touched a skateboard? Well, okay, I have and it was a disaster. But, that doesn’t matter… I love hearing someone so completely in their element that I am so okay with the fact that I can’t fully relate to their subject. Mullen’s passion for skateboarding, along with his profound insight about its mechanics, his humour, and his humility make for an incredible talk! Show some respect for the “Godfather of modern street-skating” and show some love. (He’s done several of these talks, I just chose my favourite.)
  3. Mark Ronson’s How Sampling Transformed Music. I LOVE music! You can pick any genre from just about any decade, and I am so down!! In this talk, Ronson explores the art of sampling one track to feed it into another. He begins the talk in one of the most beautiful and creative ways I’ve ever seen (the dude literally spins all throughout the talk!) — and learning which song is the most sampled ever was really fun! Plus, hearing him talk about the connectivity of narratives that music brings through the art of sampling, despite the industry’s frustration with this, is just plain neat!
  4. Sir Ken Robinson’s, Do Schools Kill Creativity – as a person who is critical of our education system, I found this to be a really important topic. Robinson explores how the rigid structures of our schools stamp out all of the “fun” in children and pathologize anyone who just simply thinks differently. He’s also a really humorous speaker.
  5. Randy Pausch’s, The Last Lecture. Okay, at some point, I just need to write a whole post on this incredible man. I love the book by the same title and his talk is beautiful. He delivered in multiple times – yes, I’ve watched several, despite some of them being nearly two hours long. If you just want a sample, I think the 10-minute summary he somehow gave on Oprah is a good start! Warning: you might cry in just those 10 minutes. He shares his journey about having pancreatic cancer (one of the most fatal types) and explains how in academia, professors often discuss what they would want their “last lecture” in life to be. For him, his diagnosis turned this from a hypothetical into a reality. Some of my favourite lessons from him (also featured in his book, of course) are:
    1. Life has brick walls – they aren’t meant to keep you out, but meant to help you understand how badly you want something
    2. Children should paint on their bedroom walls – parents: let them
    3. Most people will show you their good side if you let them
    4. People who give you feedback are your best supporters; when they go silent is when there’s a problem because it means they’ve given up on you.
    5. In relationships: ignore what people say; watch what people do.
    6. Authentic apologies have three parts: “I was wrong,” “I’m sorry that I hurt you,” “how can I make things better?” – the third one is how you judge sincerity and it’s so often missing.
    7. Self-reflection is the best form of education and good teachers know this
    8. Connection to others makes us better people

Did I just give you the talk? Nope! Not even close. In all seriousness though, every single one of these talks is fantastic in its own right. I hope that you all feel inspired to watch a number of them, and maybe find some interesting ones on your own – no matter how “all over the place they may seem.”

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