TED Talks sets high expectations at colleges

The world-renowned lecture series TED Talks (Technology, Entertainment, Design) held an independent event at the Garrison Theater at Scripps College last Saturday. The event’s theme was “Transforming Expectations,” featuring a wide array of experts on topics such as positive psychology, time budgeting, primary education and corporate management.

Highlighting the event was a young woman responsible for the coordination of a debate program in east Africa, and a young man who walked from the east coast to San Francisco in approximately 7 months.

The format comprised 15 live speakers and 4 videos of past speakers spread out over the day, lasting 15 minutes each. The audience left the theater with mental tools designed to improve their own lives and those of others, as well as an expanded network of friends and colleagues.

While each speaker gave insight on a different aspect of mental management, 3 in particular stood out because of their extensive experience in the field. 

Roko Belic has been studying happiness for years, and recently released a documentary called HAPPY.  As a filmmaker, he traveled to Okinawa, an island in Japan famous for being a place where extraordinary people are raised. Mr. Belic spoke of how he witnessed grandmothers congratulating children during a race. When he asked which one her grandchild was, her reply was that none of the children were hers,  she loves to spread encouragement. “The part in your brain that gives you happiness will literally grow if you practice compassion,” Mr. Belic said. If we give even the smallest part of each day to help others, we will become happier people ourselves, he noted.

Aaron Donaghy is a primary educator and teacher. In 2008 he founded a youth leadership program called “GO.” Mr. Donaghy compared today’s education system to playing the board game Life, where a person can choose the career/money-making path, or the education/life fulfillment path.

Having chosen the fulfillment path, he postulates that children are categorized based on test scores at an early age. They are told where their skills lie, and what they are likely to do later on in life as a job. This is detrimental to some children, who may have skills that transcend standardized tests but are never recognized for them.

“GO” gives children the opportunity to develop practical skill sets to change the world. “Anyone can lead,” Mr. Donaghy says, and recently his children have, for example, raising money and builing education buildings in Tanzania and Haiti.

David Allen is the founder of the “Getting Things Done” methodology, and is an inspiring figure in the field of time management. Mr. Allen is adamant that we, as busy individuals, do not need more time in the day; we need more psychic bandwidth. We must “define our work and get comfortable with paradoxes.” Allen emphasizes flexibility in our work, and not perfection.

TED talks take place often, in cities all over the world. The next event will take place Wednesday, October 10 in Costa Mesa, and its theme is “Redefining Relevance.”

—Chris Oakley



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