Friday Five: The Ted Talks Edition


What kind of background noise do you like to have on while you are working?

I’m a little bi-polar in my musical choices- I either want to listen to Celine Dion or Notorious BIG. Both take me back to my high school days, and I like to listen to them and either weep or get really riled up.

Recently, after some criticism about my affinity for gangster rap, it did occur to me that I wasn’t really growing my mind by listening to either musical genres. Just to clarify real quickly – I do not think that we need to be in a 24/7 state of learning. Sometimes we just need to not think. That's why I don't watch serious movies – there's too much thinking involved, and often times too much sadness. But, when I am working, that is a time when I should be thinking, so I might as well think to the max! That's why I added TEDTalks to my list of things to listen to between Sarah McLaughlin and Dr. Dre.

As photographers, creatives, entrepreneurs, humans, we all have one thing in common – no matter what language we speak, or where we live- we all appreciate beauty. We all want to create beautiful things. For some people that might be a delicious meal, a perfectly curated Instagram feed, an extensive sneaker collection, or the most incredible Showit website this side of the Mississippi. These five TedTalks all deal with some aspect of beauty, and I hope that you will be inspired and challenged as you create beautiful things today.

Bill Strickland went from being an at-risk youth in a very poor part of Pittsburgh, to being appointed to the White House Council for Community Solutions, which oversees volunteering and community service on a local and national level. He teaches us that fountains, respect, a hot meal, and an opportunity can transform a person, and in turn a community.

Danielle Feinberg has a great story. I shared this TEDTalk with my kids because I wanted to show them that their talents and interests are valuable, and with hard work and determination, they can use them to do whatever they want. I am sharing it with you so that you can be encouraged in knowing that your talents and interests are valuable, and you can use them to do, and create, whatever you want. Be bold! Work Hard! Don't give up! No matter what the other well-meaning adults around you are saying.

Richard Seymour makes an interesting point in that we don't just see beauty, but that we feel beauty. If you've ever watched So You Think You Can Dance and just found yourself a sobbing, blubbering mess- it's cause you've just experienced beauty. If you've ever written something and caused someone to relate to you, or created an image that has made people laugh out loud, you have made something beautiful.

This next TEDTalk is not my favorite, but it's still very interesting. Maybe I don't like it that much because the speaker is a little bit awkward and some of her jokes fall flat. Or maybe I don't like it that much because the speaker is Cameron Russel, a gorgeous  AND smart fashion model. Ugh. Some people seem to have it all. But that is her point exactly, that perception is deception. She says she is trying to be fearless, and that means that she is simply trying to be honest. And honesty is truly a thing of beauty.

We all need community and the support of our tribes. Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn are Dutch artists who have created tribes of artists, and brought neighborhoods together, from impoverished areas in Rio, to equally tough neighborhoods in Philadelphia, through the use of colorful paint. Lots and lots of paint.

TED really has ideas worth spreading, and so do you!

What are some of your favorite TEDTalks?

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