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TED and Surviving Life

Sunday, February 20, 2011

©Brenda Coffee. All rights reserved.

You many not be able to cure cancer, write a bestseller, or solve the problems in the Middle East, but there are many things you can do RIGHT NOW to make a positive, healthy change in your own personal world. This weekend I was honored to be among 500 people chosen from thousands of applicants to attend TEDxAustin. If you don’t know what TED is, you’re missing one of the basic building blocks of how people and ideas change the world. In one day, TED brings together thought leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, performers and innovative doers who “shrink the space between action and actuality.” TED is designed to spark our curiosity and challenge us to go back to our communities and apply ideas worth spreading to our own personal tribes.

As the day at TEDxAustin unfolded, we were continually inspired by TED’s speakers, by one another and by the different ways we each approach life. Following in the spirit of TED, I want to take what I’ve learned, and share it with you, my tribe.<PREVIEWEND> As a result, I hope each one of us will think about ways we can jumpstart our lives, regardless of whether we’ve been diagnosed with cancer, lost a husband or a job, need to step over “stuff” life puts in our path, or perhaps we’re trying to figure out what to do with our newfound lottery winnings. No, that hasn’t happened to me, and yes, I think that would be a problem. Here’s my wrap-up of some of the things I heard at TEDxAustin:

Sustainability is a survival skill.
• Are you living your life with joy?
Forgiveness allows you to move forward and find your joy.
Everyday matters.
• We must be the voice of change.
• What if you live to be 100 but you’ve been living like you were going to die tomorrow?
• Turn suffering into freedom. Has what you feared most already happened to you? If so, don’t be afraid of anything that awaits you, and grab life with both hands.
• How can you connect with people outside your circle?
Purpose causes us to think long-term, but most of us have short-term “itis.” Businesses and people with short-term “itis” don’t last.
• You really are what you eat. Do you know what’s in your food?
• It’s a big job to transform your life. You need space—whatever that is for you—shared intentions and then you must offer it back to the world.
Discipline is remembering what you want at a very deep level and then going after it with laser-like focus.
• We are our own zookeeper. Are you a good zookeeper? Do you take good care of yourself?
• Connecting is why we’re here. Stick out your hand and introduce yourself and then listen more than you talk.
• Let go of who you think you should be, and be who you are.
• Embrace vulnerability. Try new things; let someone into your heart.
• Let yourself be seen.
Love with your whole heart.
Believe you’re enough.

I’m wondering… Did you learn anything new from this list? Since I teach survivorship skills, thinking about sustainability as a survival skill gave me a whole new perspective.

We hear a lot about sustainability as it pertains to our environment—the oceans, the land and our power sources—but what if sustainability starts with our physical and mental health and that of our families, not a global effort that affects the survival of future generations? What if we think about sustainability in regard to things like surviving breast cancer, making a troubled marriage a great marriage, finding a job we love, or caring for a disabled family member? Where would we start, and what keeps us from doing it? Is it fear, apathy, laziness, complicity or maybe lack of knowledge?

As I learned at TEDxAustin, we are the start of everything, and with our front row center seats, we must be the change we want to see in ourselves and in our world. Everything I heard at TED plays a role in our survival and sustainability. What’s keeping you from starting RIGHT NOW?


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