What I Learned at TedXPortland

I started watching Ted Talks a couple years ago. I was intrigued by the diversity of topics that I found when I browsed through the videos. When I found out TedXPortland was approaching, I had to get tickets. Although the ticket price seemed steep at the time of purchase, the value at the end of the conference was more than legit. The amount of knowledge that the speakers shared throughout the day was a more valuable way to spend money than to buy any tangible item. Here are some key thoughts I came away with.

Chase meaning instead of avoiding discomfort

 The most impactful speakers reflected this thought in their stories. Without a meaning to what you are doing, it is easy to quit at the first sign of an uncomfortable situation. But when the meaning of what you are chasing is significant enough, no amount of discomfort will make you hesitate.

 Never overlook the need to play

 Of the speakers, Cody Goldberg was perhaps the most influential for me because of his work with Harper’s Playground and the connection it drew for the Salem Hoops Project. One of his big emphasis was the many benefits that playing has: it’s the highest form of research, inspires vitality, generates optimism, makes perseverance fun, leads to mastery of skill, and fosters empathy. Many of the speakers indirectly credited what they did for play turned into their craft and created their future.

 Giving and receiving love fuels the art of life

 No speaker more clearly displayed his passion for love than Frank Moore, the 91-year-old WWII veteran who stormed the beaches of Normandy. He said that the ability to give love was the most precious gift we have, and learning to receive love can be of the most productive things we ever do. Indirectly, Zalika Gardner’s presentation about listening also reflects giving and receiving love. She discussed that our inability to listen to others is fueled by assumption, arrogance, and fear. When we do not listen to people, we are telling them, “you don’t matter.” Listening involves us to quiet our own experience to make room for someone else’s, or in other words, to show them love.