Musician Amanda Palmer’s
Heart Opening TED Talk

I am drawn to two very different kinds of people, people who live at the center of things, and people who live at the edge. Those at the edge have always frightened and fascinated me. They are the authors of innovation, not because they seek to innovate, but because the distance they stand from the center affords them a different kind of sight. They see possibilities in things that others might dismiss. I have seen with this same kind of outsider’s eye while also craving an insider’s sense of balance and place. Lately I’ve made peace with these hungers and embraced the decidedly ordinary parts of who I am: the me who wants to say something new and offer something of value, but who also wants to connect and find the places where I fit in this world. I thought of these twin hungers of mine, to be ordinary, to be extraordinary, while listening to musician Amanda Palmer‘s TED talk on The Art Of Asking, which is really a talk about human connection, the kind of deep human connection we all long for and too rarely experience. She speaks as an outsider, as someone who’s first job out of college wasn’t a job at all, but the kind of outsider move that ordinary people frown upon. And yet, it provided her with a consistent, reliable income — and so much more. Her job that wasn’t a job gave her a deep experience of the power of human connection, and that experience has shaped the course of her life. It shapes how she delivers her music to the world, and it shapes the way she is paid.

Mashable said about Palmer’s talk, “Amanda Palmer wins TED.” Susan Cain, author of the New York Times Bestseller Quiet, about the power of introverts, called it “A gorgeous talk.” Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk called it “Fascinating, poignant and innovative.” Professor Brené Brown, author of the runaway hit Dare Greatly, about the power of vulnerability, said, simply, “Amanda Palmer just blew me away at TED.” Maria Popova, author of the brilliant, cerebral, intellectual-cultural smorgasboard of a blog, Brainpickings called it “The best talk so far, by far.” Palmer’s husband, bestselling author Neil Gaiman said, “I have never been happier or prouder.”

The praise is well deserved. Palmer’s talk is a poignant reminder of how connected we really are — by simple virtue of our humanity, and it portends a world, already being ushered in, in which our connections to one another are what we’ll matter most of all, not in a mushy, Kumbaya way (or not only that), but in tangible, worldly and, yes, financial ways. That’s what social media and crowdsourcing and ideas we haven’t dreamed up yet have brought us. As we speak, the world is in the midst of what I call the Interconnectedness Revolution. If the Industrial Revolution brought us a prosperous world (though often at the expense of people and the planet), the Interconnectedness Revolution is bringing us a world predicated upon a simple truth: that there is only one of us, and that the way forward is to connect.


PAULA PURYEAR is a Lawyer, Film & Television writer, HuffPoster and Founder of Revel In It Mag.

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