Communication has evolved from the Pony Express to thumb-tapping iMessages sent in seconds. Technology has opened doors for media to be shared almost instantly and exponentially to worldwide consumers. With millions of apps and social networks available, one application and platform I utilize daily is the TED app. TED, which stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design,” was created in 1984 by Richard Saul Wurman, an architect and graphic designer. He organized a conference where designers and members in the technology community could meet and share their ideas and expertise in their field. After gaining traction through the years, TED has evolved into a worldwide phenomenon with conferences that host thousands of people to share “ideas worth spreading.”
Just as someone reads the paper every morning, I start off my day watching a TED talk on my TED app. What’s great about the app is you can choose from a variety of categories and also how much time you have to listen–whether it’s 5 minutes or 20 minutes. The app will then propagate talks based on your preferences and off you go!
I have listened to hundreds of TED talks and have chosen five talks that left impressions on me. Not only did they motivate me, but they also taught life lessons that anyone can benefit from. I encourage you to watch each talk and see if they truly are “ideas worth spreading.”
- Steven Addis, “A father-daughter bond, one photo at a time.” Steven Addis took his family to New York City and took a photo with his one-year old daughter in his arms. Every year for the next 15 years, the father-daughter photo was taken on the same corner with his daughter in his arms. Steve mentions, “These photos were ways to freeze time for one week in October and reflect on our times and how we change every year.” This talk encourages us to take a conscious role in creating memories and reflecting on them. So don’t hesitate to ask someone “will you take our picture?”
- Matt Cutts, “Try something new for 30 days.” In his talk, Matt asks us to think of something we wanted to do in our life and do it for the next 30 days. He notes that instead of the months flying by, the time is much more memorable when we consciously fulfilled our goal over those 30 days. An example he shared was his goal to take a photo every day for a month. Every time he looked at a photo he took he remembered the feeling he had when he took the photo. He remembered the moment vividly. He says, “You can do anything for 30 days,” and that small changes are sustainable. So, think of something you’ve always wanted to try, then do it for the next 30 days.
- Tom Wujec, “Got a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast.” Tom uses an exercise of drawing how to make toast as a systems-thinking experiment. There are many different ways people interpret how to make toast. Even though they are widely different, they are common in many ways. The key to team building and problem solving is by using collaborative visualization. His website, Drawtoast.com, outlines how to make ideas visual, tangible and consequential. This talk can be very useful in your next ASDA planning session, team-building exercise, or when problems arise in your dental office and you need a quick lesson on “how to make toast.” Wanting to experience how your team meshes and works together in a different environment while you’re all learning something new? For team-building exercises as well as for some fun try cooking team building competitions by Executive Chef Events.
- Melissa Marshall, “Talk nerdy to me.” Melissa is a communications teacher who was asked to talk to a group of engineering students. After hearing about the work the students were doing she became fascinated by science. She explains how scientists are tackling our life’s greatest challenges with their developments. But if we don’t know it or understand it, it’s no benefit to us. She encourages scientists to beware of jargon and to make everything as simple as possible when explaining science to non-scientists. This talk became very pertinent to me as I thought of how I sound to my patients when I talk about caries, periodontal disease, and other dental related terms that may be jargon and confusing. So, to support Melissa’s message, “talk nerdy” but keep it simple.
- Ron Gutman, “The hidden power of smiling.” Ron dives into the science behind smiling and studies that measured people’s success based on their smiles in their high school yearbook photo, trading card photos, and other mediums. He notes that we smile to express joy and satisfaction. Did you know that children smile more than 400 times a day? Ron explains “smiling can help reduce the amount of stress-enhancing hormones, increase the amount of mood-enhancing hormones, and reduce overall blood pressure.” Smiling can also make you look good in the sight of others. As dentists, our profession is centered on improving people’s smiles, which in turn can help improve their quality of life. Same goes for us! So, whenever you want to look great or reduce stress or want to live a longer, happier life – SMILE!
Do you watch TED talks? What are some of your favorite talks that are worth spreading? Share them in the comments section below!
~Jay Banez, Marquette ’16, electronic editor