By Yara Al Wazir
TED Talks are about ideas worth sharing. TED stands for Technology, Education, and Design – the talks are inherently about using these topics to make our lives, economies, and our world a better place, through motivating the audience and giving them life-changing ideas.
In this article, I discuss my favorite three talks of the month:
IF I SHOULD HAVE A DAUGHTER
– Sarah Kay
“If I should have a daughter, instead of [calling me] mom, she’s gonna call me ‘point-B’; that way she knows that no matter what happens, she can always find her way from point-A to point-B.”
It’s openings like that that have me hooked, not quite a talk this time, but spoken word poetry by Sarah Kay, a poet who tells the audience about her story of determination, self-doubt, and perseverance, which combined, lead to her becoming an internationally-renowned poet, and teacher.
But TED isn’t just about her story; it’s about using Sarah Kay’s experiences and translating them to whatever you want to do in life, whatever you’re passionate about, what you love, and what you want to share.
According to Sarah, her story can be simplified into three steps; step one, is believing that she can do this. Telling herself that she can become a poet, she can perform. For you, it may be about believing that you can do whatever you set your heart to.
Step two, is taking the leap to actually doing this. Getting out of the ‘planning-to-plan’ mentality, and into actually doing something about what you love and what you’re passionate about.
Step three is about climbing out of your comfort zone to grow, take risks, and challenge yourself. If you’re a poet, there’s comfort in knowing and performing a piece that you know will gain applause, and it might be convenient to keep performing it. But growth is about performing a new piece, testing something different, and stirring the audience to make them think. Make yourself think.
MINING MINERALS FROM SEAWATER – Damian Palin
Whenever I have to write a research paper, the first place I go to isn’t the library or Google Scholar, it’s TED.com. Usually, that’s because when I first start a research paper, my motivation and innovation levels are at rock bottom.
Damian Palin’s talk on mining minerals from seawater is one that hits Kuwait where it’s close to home – desalination. The topic of his talk is his research in mining the brine by-product of seawater desalination to create an alternative mining industry, simultaneously protecting the oceans’ marine life.
Brine is the concentrated salt solution that is left behind when factories extract fresh water from seawater. It’s usually pumped back into the oceans, increasing the saltiness of the ocean. Damian’s research would use bacteria to ‘eat’ itself, creating a charge that would attract the salt ions to it, which the industry would go on to sell for millions of dollars.
HOW GREAT LEADERS INSPIRE ACTION – Simon Sinek
Faisal Al-Fuhaid is a Computer Science student at GUST, and the Founder of Equait, an organisation that promotes equality and peace in the country. Also, look out for him in bazaar’s truth or dare column this month.
His choice of the month was Simon Sinek’s “How great leaders inspire action” talk.
He starts his talk with asking why Apple is so innovative, when there are so many other computer companies out there. Why did Martin Luther King lead the Civil Rights Movement, when he wasn’t the only one to suffer during that era?
Simon thinks it’s because of the way we think – from the outside-in, rather than from the inside-out. Transforming our way of thinking from a what-how-why process, to a why-how-what process would lead to great things.
Faisal was hooked because of the way that the talk made him think, and the applicability of the talk to his own work at Equait. This talk led him to rethink the communications strategy for Equait to make sure he reaches more people. He used this strategy to run the Equait Youth Project Development Workshop in late-September.
What’s your favorite TED talk? Get in touch through Twitter: @YaraWazir or Instagram: @YWazir