18 May, 2014

Be Inspired

I can't even begin to count the number of times I have been sucked down the rabbit-hole of watching TED Talks. I've watched all the talks given by Rives and Beau Lotto's talk on Optical Illusions at least a dozen times each and countless other inspiring talks and performances on topics from politics to music to creativity to community.

This past week I attended the local TEDx event via a simulcast at our local independent theatre. I knew it was going to be an amazing experience. I just didn't think it would be that incredible.

As I sat among a crowd of equally excited and engaged audience members, it was almost overwhelming. It is one thing to pass an idea around a room of friends and hope it lands with someone who might understand what you are saying. It is another to be in a room, FULL of people yearning to learn and exchange ideas.

The talk that stuck with me the most was the last one of the day from Drew Dudley. Sure we have a mutual friend that we didn't know we had until the day of the event but that had little to do with the impact of what he had to say.

Often times when looking at how successful we are at something or if we've achieved a goal, it is at the cost of comparing it to someone else or something else. I do this every day....
*Someone is smarter/more intelligent than I am.
*Someone is a better photographer than I am.
*Someone is a more successful photographer than I am.
*I'm not competitive enough.
*I don't speak up enough.
*Someone is always going to be something more than I am--smarter, faster, thinner, prettier, funnier, more creative, blah blah blah.
*Basically all the same stuff I wrote about here: Perspective.

It's exhausting.

Towards the end of his talk, Drew asked a question that I ask myself all the time: Why do nice people finish last? It's a question that rolls around in my head all the time because I am a nice person. And at times that feels like a fault, like I am failing at something I didn't even know I was trying to succeed at. And that question brought me back to something he'd said earlier, something that even though I've always known to be true, I needed to hear someone else say it. I needed to hear it from someone who wasn't invested in my feelings or really in anything having to do with me at all. I just needed to hear it......you will never succeed if your goals aren't about you.

This whole idea that we compare our success on the merits of what other people are doing or have done or are trying to do is ridiculous. I will never be what someone else is, was or wants to do. Living a life that is dictate by even the smallest of notions it that I need to prove myself to someone else is a wasted life.

And that stops here.

The comparing and contrasting. The wishing and hoping. The frustration and disappointment that I'm not meeting someone else's goal. All of it.

To answer his question (Why do nice people finish last?), Drew gave two possible answers:
Maybe their finish line is set higher and Maybe they play a game with no losers.


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