What I’m Loving: TED Talks

Today, I’m doing something on the blog that I rarely do: I’m writing mostly in videos. TED Talks are surprisingly controversial. Many people at my university believed they weren’t “academic” or “critical” enough, that they presented too simplistic a view on specific niches of the world. My alma mater believed this so much (either that or it was out of their admiration of TED) that they made their own variation of talks that were video taped, lasted for a similar amount of time, and fell under a different label, having to do with “thinking big.” But I love TED talks for the exact reason why many people dislike them (I know, that’s an old trope – one person’s trash another’s treasure…). They make large concepts that can be highly intellectual or scientific even very down to earth. And that is awesome! So, below are my favorite TED talks that might perhaps show you how interdisciplinary of a pursuit it is to grow up on OM.

Mark Brackett: Educating the Whole Child (And Adult) With Emotional Literacy

As part of my new position, I get to learn directly from the research of Mark Brackett, a scholar on social-emotional learning, otherwise known as the missing link in education. This TED talk breaks down the vitality of SEL, and why teaching kindness and proper use of emotional capabilities is vital for success.

Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

This is an oldie, but most definitely a goodie.

Molly Barker: The Seen and the Unseen

Reconnect to what it is like to be 10 again with this TED talk by the founder of the amazing organization Girls on the Run.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche: We Are All Feminists

After reading Americanah, I became obsessed with this phenomenal author. Recently, at a diversity committee meeting, I was asked why I identified as a feminist (we were doing a hokey self-identifier activity). My answer was, “Why wouldn’t I?” Granted, this wasn’t my most articulate answer, but this TED talk brings me back to the deep simplicity and rightness that question brings up.

Christopher Emdin: Teachers Create Magic

I saw this guy speak in person last night and my. mind. is. BLOWN. It just keeps getting better and better when it comes to my upcoming graduate career accompanied by all that’s available as a TED talk already.

written from o cafe in the west village

On Blogging, Portland + Vulnerability

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This morning, I did something that reminded me of why I moved to Portland in the first place. I went to a positively chic and adorable blogger meet up brunch at a publishing headquarters in an industrial district of the city that was only 20 minutes away from my house. At ten past ten, I walked in with my DIY “business cards” (i.e. strips of paper where I wrote the URL to this blog), tinted Burt’s Bees on my lips, wide-rimmed glasses and WordPress pulled up on my iPhone. A fabulous food platter was out with New York bagels (oh, how worlds collide) and Black Rock coffee.

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I filled up my plate, chatted with these fabulous bloggers and got down to the highly enjoyable business of speed networking (i.e. speed dating, but – I assume – way less awkward because there are set questions to help everyone identify and fine-tune their passions). I learned so much from this event in much more of a qualitative way than – and this was what I had initially expected to get out of it – a quantitative way. We didn’t discuss the information you could find online on how to boost numbers or ratings or followers. No, we discussed the heart of why we do what we do and what about what we do makes others’ hearts tick.

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Here are five lessons I learned and realizations I had while in good company:

1. Vulnerability, which was the dharma talk theme of the yoga class I took yesterday, is what makes our messages powerful. One of the networking questions we were asked to answer was on which posts surprised us by being so successful. One woman shared that she didn’t expect her most successful blog post to be about depression yet it was. Another shared on writing about her struggles to find time. My answer was about all those blog posts about me and my broken leg. Vulnerability…it’s the connective tissue between all us humans.

2. Focus your time on where you get the most traffic. This little tip will, I believe, prove to be a large time-saver in the long run.

3. Networking – meeting people in person – is where the online work is done. It is all about that personal connection.

4. Instagram, baby.

5. The beautiful thing about blogging is that it encourages self-expression in an informal yet inspirational way.

This post was written at The Dragonfly Coffee House, an utterly blissful new find in NW Portland that has poems by Rumi on the wall, energy bars made with almond butter and no-sugar goodness and classical music playing in the background.