TEDx conferences are known to serve up thought-provoking and inspiring talks around the world. TEDxToronto, held on Thursday, did not disappoint in that department. The day offered plenty to muse about. Here are just a few of the ideas worth sharing.
1. “Sometimes you need a push to cross your threshold.” — Drew Dudley, host
“Thresholds,” in the sense of crossing thresholds to achieve change, was the theme of this TEDx conference.
Dudley’s biggest dream a few years ago was to give a TED talk. The threshold he struggled to cross was simply applying to make that dream a reality. He was simply afraid of rejection and failure, and at the time, he was comfortable in a job which provided him a decent salary. (Side note: Someone once told him that the three most addictive things are crack, carbs and a salary).
Long story short, he applied and gave an awesome talk.
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He’s since founded a leadership development company for youth and has given 800 speeches on five continents. Dudley thinks everyone should examine where in their life they’re “settling.” It might be a job or a relationship. They key thing once you figure it out is, not to settle for a day longer.
That obviously takes courage. But Dudley has a “game-changing question” he recommends you ask yourself in those moments:
“Am I capable of five seconds of extraordinary courage right now?”
Those five seconds might be all you need to make a life-changing move that puts any threshold within your grasp.
2. “I didn’t know what male privilege was until I lost it.” — Nina Arsenault, transgender artist
Arsenault has transitioned from man to a woman so she’s seen firsthand just how different the two sexes get treated, and how far our society still has to go in many ways.
In her male body, she says, “People respected me, people listened to me. I could have far-out ideas and I was considered ‘avant-garde’…and insightful. Not ‘cooky idea Nina.’
3. “You, too, are a city builder.” — Zahra Ebrahim, archiTEXT
Ebrahim is all about involving the community in bringing about useful municipal change. “You don’t have to be an expert to make change happen,” she argues. “Just a willing collaborator.”
We have a tendency to try and “fix” whatever’s broken in a city rather than find an alternate solution that could work better, Ebrahim adds.
One initiative she worked on saw students repurpose an old police station in Scarborough to create a space they wanted to use. They raised $2 million for the redesign project. It took seven years to complete, but they did it.
4. “What are you lying about?” — Jordan Axani, social entrepreneur
Remember Axani? He’s the one who offered a free around-the-world ticket to a girl with the same name as his ex-girlfriend after she dumped him.
Axani has done a lot of soul-searching since then, and one of the conclusions that he’s come to is that we fake it. A lot. We offer people a “press release version of our lives” — whether it’s through our perfectly-crafted 老域名怎么购买 bios, our Instagram captions or our superficial exchanges that often go a little something like this:
Person 1: “Oh hey, how are you?”
Person 2: “Oh good, pretty busy. But things are going well. How are you?”
Person 1: “Oh, I’m busy too.”
Sound familiar? Axani calls it “one of the crises of our generation” and urges people to think about what they’re lying to people about themselves. And stop.
5. “The men who pay for sex are your colleagues, neighbours, brothers, fathers and husbands.” — Valerie Scott, sex worker and advocate
“They are doctors, academics, off-duty policeman, musicians and accountants,” Scott continues.
“Most people think accountants most be boring in bed. That isn’t correct.”
She wants people to know that sex workers aren’t who or where you might expect. They’re wives and mothers. They’re at PTA meetings, at your grocery store and in your yoga class.
In normalizing sex workers and what they do, Scott hopes it will help change the public’s perception of them.
Did you attend Thursday’s TEDx conference in Toronto? Share your favourite moments from the day in the comments section below!