Tag Archives: TED

Becoming Powerful

This post was updated on May 10, 2013 at 7:00pm. 

If you’ve ever walked through the world feeling powerful and confident, you know that power and confidence can be felt in the body. Like the endorphin rush of exercise, they buoy you. If you grew up with that feeling, and sustained it into adulthood, you may take the feeling for granted, may not even know it’s there. That is, until it’s gone.

My hope for you, of course is, that your experiences with the loss of power will be of the mundane variety, like the mild anxiety before giving a big speech, or going on an important job interview, or arriving at an event where you don’t know anyone, but want to make a strong impression.

The social psychologist and Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy, known for her research on non-verbal communication, stereotyping and discrimination, emotions, power, and the effects of social stimuli on hormone levels, suffered a much greater loss of power following a brain injury, sustained in a car accident when she was 19. I experienced a similar loss of power when all of a sudden, at the height of success in my budding screenwriting career, I found myself significantly cognitively impaired. Which is why I hung on Cuddy’s every word when I first heard her TED Talk on body language and found there the answers I’d been looking for for over 10 years. I’d wanted to know how I could regain the unwavering sense of power and confidence I’d had, then lost and been unable to fully regain.


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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.


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Or Thanksgiving All Year Long

Thanksgiving is the one holiday that has the sole purpose of bringing people together around the dinner table just so they can spend time together (okay, and eat a really delicious meal). A whole holiday dedicated to connecting? I’m all in. So in that I’ve decided that, from now on, I’m to have Thanksgiving all year long. In other words, I’m going to treat every day like the opportunity to connect it really is. I’m going to step out of my protective Cancer crab shell and take more risks, in order to connect more deeply, with more people than ever before. 


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Daring Greatly’s Brené Brown
Talks Vulnerability At TED


One of the many things I’ve learned from Brené Brown, author of the bestseller, Dare Greatly, is the meaning of the word courage. It’s from the Latin, “cour”, meaning “heart”,  and the original definition is “to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.” What Brown has to say about courage and vulnerability, and the role vulnerability plays in our ability to live realized lives, will break open your heart, and break down the walls of shame and unworthiness that have kept you from the life you deserve to live.


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Coach John Wooden &
The Meaning of TED

TED, the nonprofit committed to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” is one of the most exciting developments of the last twenty years. Founded in 1984 to bring people together from the fields of technology, entertainment and design, TED has  become so much more. It is the preeminent public square of our socially-connected, socially-conscious times, and it’s making a real difference in our world. TED’s mission is simple: to spread ideas. But the scope of their work and span of their reach are grand. In their own words:

“We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.”

TED has never been more necessary than it is today. It provides a place for robust conversation about the way we live, now and into the future, at the very moment when we must, out of necessity and desire, begin to dream up and make a better world. 


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