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TED Videos Worth Watching

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I constantly find myself googling motivational speakers, whether it’s famous people accepting Academy Awards or everyday people motivating others to be better, I always end up watching the same type of video: TED Talks. TED Talks are videos where different individuals spread ideas, usually in the form of short speeches, 20 minutes or less. It began as a conference in 1984 that involved technology, entertainment and design, or TED. Today, TED Talks cover a vast array of topics: from business to family life to global issues. There are thousands of talks to choose from on Youtube and TED.com, I chose three popular talks to see how they affected what I thought about different topics.

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson stands on the empty stage with his legs caving in as he barely hunches over. He begins by saying that he is “blown away by the whole conference.” Robinson is a British author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies. He dives into discussing education and how big of an impact education has on people now, and how much of an impact it will have in the future. This made me think about how the education that I am receiving will affect future generations. He challenges my idea on what I will be doing when I retire in 2075–which I think would be laying on the beach somewhere warm. His talk is funny and interesting, which keeps me intrigued in his speech.

According to Robinson, “if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original. Mistakes are now the worst things you can make and that is educating people out of their creative capacity.” I stopped in my tracks when I heard that. Everyone in today’s society tries to be perfect: getting a 4.0, using editing apps to post the “perfect” photo on Instagram or trying to please your mom by wearing that shirt she bought for you. No one wants to make mistakes; schools have turned mistakes into the biggest sin someone can make.

After hearing what Robinson had to say it made me realize that schools try to make everyone the same. I agree with him in that schools are killing creativity. There is no variation. No teacher tolerates students who do not fit in the tiny box they deem correct. Creative capacities will influence the future and Robinson is correct in that schools are killing that creativity. His talk has been viewed 53 million times, leaving people like me with the thought of how schools try to mold every student to be the same.

How to Spot a Liar

Pamela Meyer

I hate people who lie to me, especially when I know what they are saying is false. Everyone wants to know how to spot a liar. American author, certified fraud examiner and entrepreneur, Pamela Meyer’s insight might be able to help me figure out how I can catch people who lie. Clearly she has some credibility with scientific knowledge and data that shows different signs of a liar because of her background as a certified fraud examiner. There are many different ways to spot liars. Meyer starts out by describing how some lies aren’t hurtful, but other times lies can tear people apart. Lying is complex. Sometimes it seems necessary to tell a small white lie and other times guilt just hangs over my head.

Meyer’s argument is a good one to make. She talks about how everyone lies and what different signs of lying are. There are trained lie spotters who will accurately get the truth out of people 90 percent of the time. Meyer suggests that 54 percent of the time regular people can figure out the truth. “Speech and verbal dodging is one way to spot lies, and the other way is body language” according to Meyer. Her tips make me realize all the ways that I catch myself lying: making more eye contact, spilling over my words, trying to act casual. She says that many people get too formal language when lying, for example Bill Clinton’s infamous line “I did not have sexaul relations with that woman.” Clinton normally would have said “didn’t” instead of “did not.” Trained lie spotters are able to tell who is a liar with how much someone uses eye contact or smiles.

Throughout her talk, she brought up various points that I had never thought about. I began to think about myself. I often try to use eye contact when I lie to give off the opposite effect. Normally when someone lies they do not use good eye contact. From her TED Talk I gained lots of insight as to why people lie and the keys to spotting a liar. After she described how to spot a liar I realized that those are common traits that a liar might posses. Meyer convinces me that there are more liars out there than I think there are. She persuaded me into agreeing with her argument.

How to Live Before you Die

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs always seems like a credible source to listen to. He dropped out of college and somehow became one of the richest men, so I assumed that he would have the right answer to the everlasting question of how I should live before I die. No one will ever have the right answer, but by listening to the late Apple founder, I gained some knowledge on how he believed people should live before dying. In his TED Talk, Jobs says he is going to discuss different stories, his first about dropping out of college. His speech then becomes a little cliche, as he discussed how you should always take risks.

He goes into into detail about his career and being fired from Apple, but then rehired proving that college isn’t everything. Everyone knows that Jobs went on to be very successful in his lifetime, but he never really went into detail on how to live before you die. Of course he talks about “finding what you truly love,” and how “sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick but don’t lose faith,” but in his last story he talked about death. When he started to talk about death it became relevant to the answer I had been seeking. Jobs said that “remembering that I’m going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking I have something to lose,” and that is how he lived his life.

If I can live my life the way he did I think that my life will be better off. He describes how his whole perspective on life after he focused on dying. Ironically he died not too long after his talk.  Jobs’s TED Talk could have been more powerful to me. I thought I would be getting something different and unique from someone like Jobs. It was the typical “live your life to the fullest” speech like everyone else says. The way Jobs’s talked wasn’t as persuasive as I thought it would be. He didn’t really end up convincing me to live my life that much differently than I do now.

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Ellie Mitchell

Junior, Page Designer When Ellie isn’t nannying or babysitting she likes to spend most of her time enjoying long walks on the beach and hang out with her friends. Ellie loves food such as Chipotle, Chik-Fil-A and Noodles and Co. Ellie is a nice girl who loves to be involved with everything at East, especially Harbinger. If you ever need to find her you can probably go to her bed and find her online shopping. Read Full »

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