Today we hosted a TED session in the SMG Inspire Me space that featured Tom Uglow from Google, Eric Berlow a complexity scientist and TED Fellow and Ronda Carnigie from TED. They talked about a variety of topics from one celled organizams creating communities to Sweden letting their citizens take over their Twitter account.
But the most amazing part of the discussion was when they began to discuss uncertainty and how in a world full of control freaks we’re becoming less and less able to deal with a world full of uncertain outcomes. For example, Eric is also a teacher. He started to notcie that students would always ask him “what do I need to know for the test” and “what do I need to do to get a job.” They require perspecriptive instructions and guidelines to make sure they “get an A” at everything. But life outside the constructs of school doesn’t come with guidelines and instructions. The students we are breeding that don’t know how to deal when things go wrong. Eric worked hard to help students understand that things do go wrong and that it can provide new ways of looking at things and whatever comes, you’re just going to have to do something about it.
Tom chimed in with a really great quote. He said, “failing is the best way to find out what you should to better next time. It stinks with things do go wrong but learning can be a great incentive.
Being that I always come up with good questions after panel sessions are over. I wonder what they would have said to people who say: What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
Isnt’ failing part of the deal? I mean we’ve all participated in activities or sports or had hobbies that we’ve failed at. Don’t those failures make you realize what activities you’re willing to work harder at? Don’t those failures teach you good sportsmanship? We can’t all be winners.
Sure I would do a lot of things differently if I knew I couldn’t fail but without that risk, where’s the reward? We want the victory without the risk. We want to control every single thing around us to ensure to minimize the risk and ensure our success. This risk management and control can be absolutly exausting.
Eric shared the time old “You can’t control the world but you can control how you react to it” adage. But he also shared that you should know what you like and know what you’re passionate about because when you’re passionate about something not matter what comes along, the world will awlays feel a little less out of control.
This of course lends itself to identifying what it is that you like and how you can make what you like into a career path. Eric shared that if you asked a child what he liked, he’d know exactly all of the things he likes. If you ask an 18 year old, she’d proabably say “I don’t know.” But surprisingly, most people don’t even know that they can do something they really love as a career, they just need to be willing to invent it.
Tom made a really amazing observation. He said that when you have too much fun, you restrict yourself. You’ve convinced yourself that you’re not allowed to enjoy your work and that everyday has to be just that, work.
At some point many of us lost the ability to be proud of what we liked to do. Whether it was because a dream was not lucrative or was a what-are-you-going-to-do-with-that-major type situation, many of us have relinquished ourselves to work life that is less than fulfilling.
It was really the most facinating session or panel I’ve attending during this Cannes. It was great to then see them take those same principles about wanting to feel fulfilled within work to a brand fulfilling a need with the consumer. And how authenticity is the basis of sucessful branding. Because much like not being true to yourself, being untrue as a brand is incredibly fake and lends itself to doubt and distrust.
I really can’t say enough about the session. I wish I had recorded it so that I could share it with you all.
So what are you passionate about?