2018: A year in TED talks

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It takes a remarkably stoic soul not to be touched by the passing of the year and excited for the beginning of a new one. We at the TEDxWarwick Blog are not immune to such sentiment, so we decided to look back at the TED talks that resonated most this past year.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable | Luvvie Ajayi

After realising that fear was holding her back, writer Luvvie Ajayi, decided that 2015 would be her year of ‘do it anyway.’ That year she would make sure she actively pursued anything that terrified her. From going on her first solo vacation to the Dominican Republic to swim with dolphins, owning her craft by penning her first book as well as facing her biggest fear, skydiving; Luvvie realised that “comfort is overrated.” While being quiet about things is staying comfortable, only one domino is required to fall to start a chain of dominoes following suit. Citing worldwide movements such as #MeToo and recounting publicly calling out pay inequality at a conference where she was asked to speak, Luvvie stresses that change only comes about when we step outside our comfort zone. Why not ‘do it anyway’ in 2019?

Why you should make useless things | Simone Giertz

Simone Giertz is an inventor in the field of building useless things. She was a straight-A student throughout school but has always had performance anxiety, which even pushed her to tears as a high school student after getting a B on a maths test. From inventing an automated helmet for brushing her teeth to an alarm that slaps her in the face to wake up every morning, Simone has created the fool-proof setup to overcome her performance anxiety: instead of trying to succeed, she tries to build things that will fail. Simone has never been to engineering school and teaching herself about hardware became easier when she removed the pressure and expectations to succeed all the time. Check out her TED talk to see her crazy inventions and hear why we should all get into the practice of creating useless things.

Great leaders do what drug addicts do | Michael Brody-Waite

In a world with too few great leaders and too many drug addicts, Brody-Waite’s talk rings true. Leadership is not all grand gestures, complex strategy or machiavellian schemes; it is sticking to basic concepts when it is hardest. It’s meant to be taxing, it’s not supposed to be easy. Neither is recovering from a drug addiction. Right or wrong, I can’t see a way this talk isn’t one of the most relevant of the year. We are plagued by addictions to a great many things: drugs, technology, money. But we seem to think that deficiencies are only harmful in the biological sense, ignoring the lack of leadership, morality, and compassion prevalent in our daily lives. Why not take the first step in solving that?

Is the world getting worse or better? A look at the numbers | Steven Pinker

I cheated a bit on this one. The talk is actually about 2017, but since it was given in May, I decided I could include it at a stretch, given that his overall point is relevant today. Pinker’s message is that despite all the whining and belly-aching we like to indulge in (and I consider myself a world leader in that area) our lives, on average, are better than any that came before. Certainly, this is not the case for everyone, but it is the nature of humanity to move inexorably forward, like an unstoppable force without an immovable object (although climate change might soon put an end to that). When the night is darkest, it serves to look at the spots that burn bright, and Pinker’s talk is one of them. I can’t think of a better way to start- or end- a year, than staring into the light.

Happy holidays! Keep an eye on this space as more content will be posted soon.