If you had 18 minutes to give the talk of your life, what would you say? I discovered the Web site TED not long ago; I’m addicted. “TED—Ideas Worth Spreading” stands for Technology, Education, Design. One of the fundamental principles of TED Talks is that a speaker has 18 minutes to express his or her ideas or thoughts on a particular field of study, specialized practice, accomplishment, or discovery.
Having listened to some of the brightest researchers, leaders, educators, scientists, and specialists speak on everything from neurological fetal development to the value of failure, there is one universal theme woven into the fabric of these talks, which is why I’m hooked. Each speaker is on a quest for discovery. Regardless of his or her field of study, personal experiences, academic degrees, or intelligence quotient, this person wants to contribute and make a positive difference in the world.
So, if you had 18 minutes to give the talk of your life, what would you say?
I Thought I Knew Everything
I’ve been pondering that question lately.
- Before I was married, I thought I knew EVERYTHING about marriage. And then I got married.
- Before I had children, I thought I knew EVERYTHING about raising kids. And then I had children.
Then I realized that my kids were struggling and that my marriage was falling apart . . . and that I didn’t know much about marriage or about raising kids.
Endings . . . and Beginnings
But I made a discovery that changed everything. In fact, some of the greatest discoveries in our lives come after we’ve fallen apart, failed, lost the business, the house, the mate, or whatever we thought we had together. Sometimes even our faith has to blow up before we can really find Jesus. And that is the discovery I made . . . that sometimes God allows us to encounter or endure devastating circumstances that appear to be total disasters for the purpose of shredding every false belief about human ability, for us to know who Jesus really is, and for us to trust Him as He puts our lives back together. It’s an extraordinary discovery: the end of you in many ways is the beginning of you . . . so that God will bring Himself honor.
I don’t know if any part of your life is in shambles right now; my guess is that something isn’t working or you have hit an end and can’t figure out what to do or where to turn. Maybe all your best thinking got you where you are today, and things aren’t quite what you expected. Maybe it’s time to discover some new things. Let’s begin with language . . . how you think and what you say make all the difference.
A discoverer says things like:
- I don’t know.
- Help me understand.
- I’m so sorry.
- Can I help?
- What is possible?
- Please forgive me.
- I was wrong.
- I love you!
Let Me Hear from You
You don’t have to be a guest speaker with TED to be a discoverer; life is a quest and discoveries are everywhere. I wonder what you would discover if you began to say, “I don’t know” or “I was wrong” or “Will you please forgive me?” or “I love you.” Why don’t you choose one or two of those statements and let me know what you discover this week. Get ready to be amazed!
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