The TEDxTeen conference was an opportunity to inspire, and be inspired. The people who surrounded me at the conference have manifested their inspirations to something that will help change the world. These incredible people were not afraid to ask the question "Why?" And, they were most certainly not afraid to defy whatever limitations preventing the rest of the world from challenging the boundaries. I came home with so many wonderful lessons, so many new inspirations and so many new ways that I want to manifest them. Here are the top 10 things I learned at TEDxTeen.
1) It's okay to come in second: We live in a world that pushes us to always be first, telling us if you are not first, what you did was not as important. Chelsea Clinton, the host at TEDxTeen, started the day off explaining how coming in second may be one of the most courageous acts one could perform. She told the audience, that there are three big steps to changing the world, (1) Start where you are, (2) have the courage to come in second, and (3) Because you can, you should. Changing the world is a big feat, but Chelsea broke it down into three easy steps that anyone can take.
2) There is not one look for a leader: Anyone can be a leader. It is a responsibility that is not reserved for any gender, race, point of view, age or personality. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.
3) Use your imagination: Your imagination is one of those things that will never cease to amaze you. It is what helps you picture a change even when one is difficult to see. But, even change that is good can be scary. In our society, we have a problem with imagining the impossible. Kuha'o explained to the audience, that sight is actually a limitation. Until you see something done, you do not believe it. One of my favorite quotes is from the movie Alice in Wonderland, "Sometimes I believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast." It is a practice that helps us think of way to defy limitations and yet we have never taken this seriously. Maybe we should.
4) Talk less, act more: It's time to do, not to talk about doing. In the past, I have found myself asking the question, "Where do I start?" But, I think that is the same question as "How do I get in the pool?" The answer: just jump.
5) Smile: My dad always told me that everything is more enjoyable if you do it with a smile. And, at TEDxTeen, I learned that not only are smiles contagious, but they connect people in ways that have never been acknowledged before. So, now we have a day to celebrate Happiness, thanks to Joseph Peter. The first International Day of Happiness is on March 20.
6) Allow yourself to be surprised: What goes along with that is to allow yourself to wonder when you don't know the answer. Tania Luna from Surprise Industries explained that people don't like surprises because they feel out of control and inferior, but when people accept surprises, you go outside of your comfort zone -- and that's how you grow.
7) What you carry in your handbag is more important than you think: You always have to be prepared. Tallia Storm carries her demo CD and that is how she was able to get the gig of her dreams opening for Elton John. You don't need to have your entire portfolio, but be prepared to show someone your passions, your drive and possibly your inspirations.
8) Trust your instinct: Less pro-con lists, more going with your gut.
9) It is good to be naïve: Being naïve means asking questions. Asking questions means finding answers. Finding answers means pushing boundaries. And pushing boundaries means creating change. Sounds good to me!
10) The worst thing that can happen is you get caught trying: Bottom line is that you have to fuel your passions. Statistically, there is more of a chance to succeed if you try. If you don't, you will likely fail. So, don't let your fears of failing, rejection, or hard work ever stand in the way of perusing your passions. Thanks Chelsea, for my new motto!
Thank you to everyone who presented this weekend and to everyone who put the program together. I can't wait until next year.