I spent the last hour physically getting drenched in mist while mentally saturating my brain with ideas worth spreading. After wasting away my morning by mindlessly surfing the Internet, I decided I should take a walk. A looming deadline sneers at me, and an unfinished project threatens to disturb my peaceful spring break bliss. In an effort to stave off the gremlins, I grabbed my phone and ventured out into the thick, fog-soaked morning. A variety of TED talks kept me company as I leisurely strolled through the neighborhood, nourishing my mind, body, and spirit.
One of my favorite new thought leaders is the Canadian educator, George Couros. He recently Tweeted a link to a provocative TED talk titled, I'm Seventeen. The ideas presented by Kate Simonds challenged me to rethink my definition of student involvement. When she invites adults to collaborate in the change process and insists on mutual accountability, I was moved and inspired. By neglecting the voices of the young, we have inadvertently taught them their opinions and solutions don't matter. And when they shut down and disengage, we blame them. I applaud this tenacious teen for speaking up and speaking out on behalf of the future leaders of our democracy.
Next up was a lengthier, and somewhat intellectually demanding talk by Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert. Social science fascinates me, and I enjoy hearing about field experiments and research studies that teach us about human behavior. In his twenty-one minute talk titled, The Surprising Science of Happiness, I found myself thinking about the evolution of the human brain, my own psychological immune system, and the true secrets of happiness. When he described how a shopping mall full of Zen monks wouldn't be all that profitable, I cringed at the truth of our consumer driven society and how I play a part. The phrase "bounded ambition" will linger with me for days.
Finally, I ended my walk with a short talk from the wildly popular New York Times journalist, David Brooks. In less than five minutes, he eloquently explains the dichotomy of the "two Adams" who live in each of us. By comparing and contrasting a resume to eulogy, he forced me to meditate on some heavy truths about balancing ambition with character. In many ways his talk reminded me of the Elephant and the Rider presented in the Heath Brother's book, Switch. This internal battle is real, and for most of us, we ebb and flow between the two opposing forces.
After updating my activity tracker and cushioning my calorie intake for the day, I hopped on my blog to record all the jumbled thoughts racing through my mind. Providing our bodies with exercise and healthy nutrition is equally important as nourishing our souls and intellect. This TED talk walk energized my mind, challenged my assumptions, and knocked the edges of my thinking. I hope you too find some nuggets of truth to chew on as well.