Ever since I watched my first TED talk… I have always wanted to be a part of the audience that watches it live… Being exposed to extraordinary thinkers and doers… People who are making amazing change in this wonderful world of ours… People who inspire me to do the same!

So… It found it found its way onto my bucket list… Along with capturing a light trail, surfing a cutback, writing (or photographing a book), hiking up TableMountain (I’m not big into exercise – so this is a biggie for me), walk/cycle through Tuscany, have tea in Paris, and one day presenting my very own idea that matters!

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So you can imagine how excited I was to hear that there was a TEDx happening right here in my city… With the topic: Exploring the Edge!

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There were some incredible presentations… People, whose stories have made me realise just how average my thinking has been… That I am capable of doing soo much more…

Now I know that this post will not do an entire day of inspiration any justice… but I just wanted to give you a glimpse into some of the awesomeness I experienced… and a few of the key take-outs I had!

Focus on “can”!

In Exploring the edge – there are often stumbling blocks… and instead of thinking about why I can’t so something… I need to think about how I can do it… Like Nicky Abdinor… Who without arms… Is still able to drive (and who is pioneering the way to enable others to do the same in SA), because at a young age, she was encouraged to focus on what she CAN do… Not what she CANT!

“Everyday… I get out of my car and change the perceptions of disability”

Freck… What’s my excuse?

Finding Purpose

Others spoke about finding purpose behind what they do… Which helps push them to the edge.

Now… I had heard Braam’s presentation on his excursion to the Great Wall of china before, and was wondering if it would be a rehash… But not only was I moved again by that piece of his story (an amazing journey – where he ran the equivalent of a marathon for over 100 days… 4218km’s in total, and losing all his toenails three weeks into it… All so that he can help transform smiles); I was equally blown away to learn more about the man (aka: That isn’t the only remarkable thing he’s done)!

And to hear someone like that to say:

“I’m an ordinary guy… I just have these big dreams. And when you are driven by purpose (and not ego) – nothing is impossible. That’s what turns someone from “ordinary” into “extra-ordinary”.”

Holy macaroni… This one got me thinking… What is my big dream? What is the purpose that will drive me? Is wanting to inject creativity into business enough? Am I dreaming too small?

Letting go of Fear + Giving!

Another key theme that hit home to me… Was how we need to let go of fear…

Jennifer Lovemore-Reed showed me that our mind is powerful (as someone who decided to walk all the way from CT to PE on her own) –

“We need to live more in the present, choose to see the beauty around us… And let go of our fear!”

She also spoke about how she fell in love with the SA public, and even with her “rules” of not paying for accommodation or asking for anything – how people willingly helped her. Braam also spoke about his philosophy – around our natural system is one of giving (that our world is designed best when we give – think clown fish and annenome – and that by giving to each other… We sustain each other… He found that the principle:

“the more you give… The more you get”

has had an incredible effect in his life!

The concept of giving and sharing was reiterated by Mpumelelo Ncwadi who discovered that by “sharing” as a collective (sharing of seeds to grow crops), things (selling produce to pay for his education) can become a reality! And to also hear from Carlo Randall how the opposite is true when people don’t share their knowledge – and the impact it has in his world of natural medicine.

I was also struck by how quickly the balance can be thrown off when we don’t process the consequences of the changes we make to the world – and how Anthony Turton is remedying this through a concept called “closed mining” and the concept of stewardship (caring about something you don’t own, but impact on… Like the mines caring for the water they impact on), or how Jenny Cargill spoke about how change creates unintended consequences

“What I’m changing today, has an impact on tomorrow”

…and how we can change our climate by changing our storyboard as a country… thinking more green!

Technology | Change + Critical Thinking

Others like Sean Rogers and Simon Dingle spoke about technology… How it’s changing… And the importance of being open to the change!

Or how others challenged their thinking… Taking them to a new edge… Whether it was Jim Adams (the NASA dude) who encouraged us to move away from systems thinking (and move towards creative thinking by simply stopping, take a step back and accept new ideas); or how Lisa Huang realised that we need to not let our context define us, but rather understand the gaps, ask questions and be curious. Or how Matt Bush (who literally lives on the edge as a freestyle climber) realised that

“in each of us is infinite potential… And that each of us needs to take the key and unlock that potential.”

Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 2.19.14 PM You can see his video: “No strings attached” by clicking on the above image.

Or how Sivuyile Ngesi wanted to challenge our thoughts on the “boys club” and that we needed to rather stop the war on rape… By joining the “big boys club”!

On the Edge of a Dream

I was equally inspired to move more towards living on the edge by following their dream…

Whether it was Lance Brown  – who encouraged us to look for the opportunities all around us… That nothing beats perseverance, patience and determination. Screen Shot 2013-11-17 at 2.10.45 PM

 

Or  Jeremy (Jerm) Nell who pursued his dream of becoming a cartoonist… despite the dwindling use of cartoons in print… And discovered the multidimensional world of digital… Allowing him to influence and grow his industry – online!

And how Roger Horrocks decided to live his dream on the premise:

“Rather be a tea boy of the industry you want to be in, than CEO of the industry you DONT want to be in”

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And that by confronting the “ideas” that hold us back, we”ll usually realise that it was just an idea… And that we need to get out more, and explore the wonder that is our world!

An amazing day filled with tons of inspiration!

Bucket list – Tick…

Now to find my idea worth spreading… What about you… What is you idea worth spreading?

Emma