Monday, August 10, 2015

What I Learned Today: Inspirations from TEDxKL


This year's TEDxKL theme
I draw inspirations from a lot of things. Books, movies, websites, everyday conversations, the sky, my dog. Name it. I'm a firm believer of lifelong learning, that there's always something new and valuable to pick up even from the seemingly mundane things.
One of my favorites is TED videos. The first time I discovered the TED App on iOS, I spent the whole day on the couch watching speeches and presentations from all kinds of people across the globe. The thing I like the most about it is that on top of known personalities, the TED stage has also been an avenue to showcase ordinary people with extraordinary contributions to the society. Be it in the field of technology, energy, business or simply fighting for causes such as gender equality, right to clean water or even child marriage. It has revolutionized the way we share and celebrate inspirations, and who to draw them from. Age, race or PhD requirement is unheard of.
 
Thankfully, my company sees great value in exposing employees with these kinds of events and agreed to sponsor me and my colleagues to attend the second TEDx in Kuala Lumpur. It's been a while since I've drawn so much inspirations in a day, it would be a shame to keep it to myself. As TED puts it, these are ideas worth spreading.
 
Here are my favorite takeaways; may you be as inspired as I am, today and always!
 
Afdlin Shauki: actor, comedian, director and activist

  • "I'm excited to be wrong because it means I will learn something right."
  • "You don't lose anything by adding value to other people's lives."
  • "Visiting India, and other rural places while directing my films taught me that you can be happy without having a lot of stuff."
  • "If you want to live an extraordinary life, never accept the status quo. Think about the perceptions, and challenge them."
I love this guy, and not only because he's funny. Sure, he makes a living making people laugh. But starring and directing films in Tamil (India) and Thai when you only know Malay and English is no laughing matter. He came from a poor family who could only send him to school 50% of the time. He had to alternate schooling with his siblings. When everyone told him that he wasn't cut for the big screen, he challenged the perceptions of what actors should be, and proceeded to making and directing films that would eventually win awards internationally. More so, he put his fame and fortune to good use and set up his own foundation and started a mission to help the refugees of Syria in Jordan. Big guy with a bigger heart.
 
He said a lot of good things, but I can relate best with his statements on "being wrong." Not really proud of it, but I'm an obsessive compulsive perfectionist, and I find it hard to stomach that being wrong is not a mortal sin, that it's actually alright. In fact, mistakes can lead to better outcomes, because it stretches people's limiting beliefs, or perceptions of such. The most successful people are not the ones who don't commit mistakes, but the ones most quick to recover. I want to belong to the latter.

Irshad Mobarak: naturalist, conservationist, Mr. Awesome
http://www.tedxkl.com/irshad-mobarak

"Be fast when it's needed, be strong when strength is required, but remember that the most adaptable always survives."
 
Irshad spoke about nature's natural relationships (namely commensalism, mutualism and parasitism) and related it to human behaviors. The evolution of man, history, war, even genocide! He said Hitler wasn't a glitch of nature but a product of convoluted idea that the fittest (in this case, the superior race - blonde, blue-eyed Aryan) survives, or should survive. I've always been intrigued by the Nazi era and its ethos, and wondered how it was possible for human beings to be so corrupted and consumed by the ideas of superiority and playing god. I've read several books about concentration camps and such, and have watched documentaries, but it's my first time to hear its co-relevance with nature and evolution. I clapped so hard, my hands hurt!
 
Catch this guy in his responsible wildlife tours in Langkawi. I've heard it's a must!
 
Meanwhile, install the TED App or subscribe to the website and get random inspirations daily. It's addicting, so consider yourself warned. Have a good week ahead!

Spot the Edelman logo. 
 The venue (Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil) is 12 stations and 1 cab ride away from my place, hence the tired eyes, but it's all worth it! :)

 
Much Love,
Dang

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