Top Ten 2015: Most Inspiring TED Talks

In 2015 I discovered TED Talks. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. They’re just people with awesome ideas who are willing to share with the rest of us. Some are experts in their fields. Some are just people of influence. I really enjoyed learning and being inspired. These were my favorites:

10 “The Surprising Truth About Rejection” by Cam Adair

9 “Everything You Know About Addiction is Wrong” by Johann Hart

8 “The Secret to Self Control” by Johnathan Bricker

7 “Lessons From The Mental Hospital” by Glennon Doyle Melton

6 “The Shocking Truth About Your Health” by Lissa Rankin

5 “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” by Amy Cuddy

4 “Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling” by Emilie Wapnick

3 “The Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer

2 “You Can Be Enough” by Marisa Peer

1 “The Power of Vulnerability” by BrenĂ© Brown

Honorable mention: “If You Don’t Understand People, You Don’t Understand Business” by Simon Sinek


Tribute to the selfie. 🙂

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Lie #30: War Against Conflict

As a premortal spirit, I had this idyllic vision of what earth (school) was going to be like. I was excited. I looked forward to learning all kinds of cool things and becoming like Christ. It was going to be awesome! And then I was conceived and came into my mother’s body and it was not like I expected. It was nothing like I expected. It was painful and confusing and disorientating. It was traumatizing. I had been led to believe in the Garden of Eden and what I experienced was more like hell. At least, that’s how I perceived it.

As a small child, I still wanted to believe in the ideal—in family, in connection, in creating what you want in life. So I practiced this and I continually failed. I failed at making a happy family, I failed at relationships, and I failed to create what I wanted. In fact, I seemed to be creating what I didn’t want. So because that was working, I created more of what I didn’t want—isolation, stagnancy and disconnection. And I felt like a failure. I believed I had stopped creating altogether. No more stories, no more imagining. And yet, I have still been living in the world that I created for myself. I have been perpetuating it.

This is really the essence of the struggle. Finding your place, figuring out what you can do and who you are and who you want to be, through what manifests in your state of being. What kind of an existence have I created? What does it look like? How do I feel about it? If this is the way it is, it must be exactly what I wanted. So if I stop and look around and I don’t like what I have, how do I create something different? This is the path I have been on: how to create something different.

This morning I listened to an interview Oprah Winfrey did with Alanis Morissette, and what Alanis was saying helped me realize that my heart has been at war* with the struggle. I do not want to struggle, I do not want pain, I do not like change, so I have been resisting all of the healing I have tried to implement, because struggle is actually required to learn and grow. Accepting conflict is actually the key to allowing myself to heal. My intention now is to be at peace with conflict. If I can somehow get there, I can reach a place where I no longer need it. Alanis has reached that place. I think Oprah has reached that place. Now they’re simply enjoying the life they have created. They are sharing it with people, they are teaching others how to do it. That’s where I want to go. I want to be part of this mysterious club of peaceful people. But in the meantime, I want to enjoy the struggle, because that’s what is going to get me there.


*Good information on hearts being at war: The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict


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Lie #29: Receiving


Christmas is approaching. In the past, Christmas was something I dreaded. I didn’t want any happy Christmas music or Santa Claus and I especially dreaded the whole gifting routine. If I didn’t spend a lot of money buying presents for everyone I loved, I must not really love them, because in my mind presents equaled love. So if I couldn’t come up with the perfect gift for someone, I didn’t really love them. And I would always go on and on about how the holiday season isn’t so special—why can’t we all behave with kindness and give presents all year round? I was really good at wearing the Grinch hat. (And I adore that book.)

But I think the root of the problem, since I was very young, was not knowing how to receive. I turned my nose up at gifts. I told people not to worry about me and to place their focus on others who needed it more. I believed I had everything I needed, and if I didn’t, I could buy it myself. There was no need to surprise me with something that I most likely didn’t want or need. Just leave me out of it.

And that left me out of a lot. I essentially blocked that thing called the Christmas Spirit and I was just fine with that. But those of you who know about that Christmas Spirit and who really enjoy the holidays can understand exactly what I was missing out on. The holidays made me miserable. I just wanted to skip the months of November and December and go on a cruise.

But something different happened this year. I went to a conference in October and found a subject I really wanted to learn. It’s called the Body Code System. This doctor, Bradley Nelson, who created it, was up on the stage showing us how it worked and he did it with this magical kind of ease like someone who really knows something like the back of their hand, and I wanted that. I wanted to know what he knew and I wanted that knowledge to be second nature and I wanted to use that knowledge to help myself and others. I wanted it so bad I could taste it. I went to his web site when I got home to look up how much his program cost and it was a thousand dollars. If I had had $1000 lying around with no particular purpose right then, I would have bought it and I’d be learning it right now. But I didn’t have $1000. And I knew that if I started saving a little money each month it might take me around six months to be able to buy it. And I knew I could do that. I’m very self-sufficient and if I want something I find a way to get it. But just for fun I asked God: Is there a way can I get $1000 sooner?

One morning shortly thereafter I was walking on my treadmill watching TED talks and this one came on called “The Art of Asking.” The talk was by a musician named Amanda Palmer who has since written a book on the topic and is currently using her own technique to share her music with the world. It seemed a little “out there” but I was touched by her sincerity and by the goodness of her heart.

And then I had the thought: what if I started a campaign? A fundraiser? What if I could simply ask for help in raising this $1000? And in return I could offer to help anyone who contributed by sharing what I learn? Wouldn’t people go for that? Immediately I heard a chorus of negativity in my head say all of the lies I believed: “You can’t ask people for money.” “You can’t take a handout—that makes you weak.” “That’s like receiving government assistance—that’s for poor people.” “It’s shameful to have to ask for money when you have what you need.” And so on…and on, and on. Apparently I had many beliefs about asking for help.

But I thought, why not? It wouldn’t be easy. All of these nasty negative beliefs made me feel like a beggar. I might invite some criticism. I’m sure Amanda Palmer has had her share. But what if I could raise the money in two or three months rather than six or eight? I could be learning sooner, I could be helping myself sooner, and I could be helping others sooner. And most importantly, what if there’s a lesson here for me—that I need to learn how to receive?

I know what you might be saying, because it’s kind of a focus in our culture: It’s better to give than to receive. Receiving is selfish. Asking for help is weak. The truth is: there is balance in everything. In order to give, someone needs to receive, and in order to receive, someone needs to give. The flow of the universe is about both. My attitude has always been very one sided: I need to give. I feel compelled to give. Give, give, give. What happens when you give and give and never allow yourself to receive? I’ll tell you what happens: you start to feel resentful. God gives and in return he (hopefully) receives our gratitude. The earth gives and in return she (hopefully) receives our respect and our care. Parents give and in return they expect the same things. Really, every time we say the words “thank you,” we are in the spirit of receiving. Feeling grateful and making lists of things we are thankful for is really in the spirit of receiving.

So I decided to go ahead and do something courageous. I found one of those fundraising web sites and I put myself out there. It wasn’t comfortable and it really stressed me out. I even had a new stream of toxic thoughts that said nobody was going to contribute and people couldn’t afford it and it’s the holiday season and how dare I ask people for money at a time like this? But I have had to put that all away and humble myself enough to allow my friends to support me, because I want this really badly. And being on this side of things has changed my heart a little. You might say it’s grown a few sizes. And it’s been awesome. I feel loved and I feel brave.

I am, however, only halfway to my goal, so I still need some help. If you would like to support my cause, here are the ways you can do it:

  • This is the fundraising web site (they use WePay and they take a percentage):
  • Paypal:
  • I accept checks if you still like writing those. Email me and I’ll give you an address.
  • Or, if you know me, I also accept cash. 🙂

Oh, and one more thing: I’m sorry to anyone whose gifts I rejected at Christmas. That message is particularly for my mother, on the off chance that she reads this.

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Lie #28: I Don’t Belong

We all crave acceptance at some level. Sometimes it’s in a community or among peers. We may feel alienated from our friends or even from our families. I’ve heard the phrases: “I don’t have any real friends,” and “I have no family.” I think the lie in all of these scenarios is I don’t belong. I don’t belong to a family, to a community, to a group. Whether or not you actually have a family and a group to belong to, you may not feel like you do, and that’s what is important. We can look and behave like the people around us, but it’s essential to actually feel like we are connected to them through love and acceptance, whether or not we actually look and act like them. And it’s not necessarily about how they treat us. They can be kind and they can do everything to help us feel acceptance, and still we don’t completely feel it. That feeling needs to come from within.

I went to a conference yesterday, among like-minded people. On the surface, these people were part of my faith, my community, they were people who believed as I do, and yet as I sat among them in various classes, listening to them and agreeing with them, I began to get a headache. Deep down I was listening to voices that were telling me that I didn’t really belong there, that these were not my people, and I began to feel a sense of isolation. I looked around. I wore pretty much the same kinds of clothes as they did, my hair looked similar, my language was the same, and yet I felt apart from them. I even chose to sit apart, not really joining in, not really fully participating. I tried to figure out what was going on.

It wasn’t until the last class of the day, led by a woman known as the Drum Circle Goddess, that I began to formulate the lie that I had been believing. This woman, to lots of conservative people in my community, would seem “weird.” Not because of the way she dressed or because of the way she spoke or carried herself. Nothing about her appearance would make you look twice. But her class was about “healing vibrations.” Now, I am not new to energy, but this was something I had never experienced before, and it made me stop and wonder if I could accept a woman like this into my circle. The class began. There were drums, there was music, people were excited and involved, and I watched with fascination as this woman led the crowd in rearranging the chairs in the room so that there was a large empty area. I watched as they all formed a circle and beat the drums like a Native American prayer. And I found myself wanting to be involved. I felt the energy of what was happening and I liked it. I found my soul drawn to this circle and these people, and I joined them. And my headache disappeared and I finally understood. I am weird. I accept and embrace weirdness in others, but I don’t think until that moment that I had ever accepted it in myself.

So now I say, I am weird. Because weird is wonderful and healing. I enjoy the idea of doing what is different and offbeat. I belong with those who accept that about themselves. I rejoice in belonging with them. They are my family.

Because the truth is, you can’t really feel a sense of belonging and acceptance and connection until you can fully be yourself and accept who that really is. Who are you, really—down deep inside your soul? And do you love that person? Do you allow that person to flourish and thrive? Because that is the joy of being alive! Thank you, Drum Circle Goddess, for teaching me that.


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Lie #27: Lofty Goals

At times you may feel, like I have, that you have some great mission to accomplish on this earth. It most likely involves helping others—changing the world. You may have aspirations to be a great novelist, a journalist, a physician, a psychiatrist, a filmmaker, a physicist, a Mother Teresa. Perhaps you believe that there’s something incredible that you can do that has never been done before. You want to leave your mark on this earth.

I think we all do. I think we all want to be remembered. But I think these types of goals—the ones that could certainly be attainable and yet just out of reach—are only a distraction. Your real mission, your sole purpose for coming to this earth—you’re already doing it.

I do not doubt that there are those among us who will rise to recognition and do something that no one else has done, so don’t let me discourage you from getting there. All I’m saying is that if you’re worried you have some amazing thing to do and you feel like you’re just sitting around waiting for it to materialize, chances are you’re already on your way. You’re already on the path and making great strides.

A modern prophet has said, “The most important…work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.” (Harold B Lee, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Chapter 14) President Lee counseled with a young surgeon about the order of our priorities, that “a man [or woman] has responsibility to himself, he has responsibility to his family, he has responsibility to the Church [or community], and he has responsibility to his profession; and in order for him to live a balanced life he must so try to find the avenues by which he gives service in each of these areas.” So your first priority? You. Then your family, then your community, then your job. But let’s not forget that as we help others we are also helping ourselves.

If God himself declared that His work and His glory was in bringing immortality and eternal life to his children (Moses 1:39), shouldn’t that be our goal as well, if we desire to be his servants?

I have let go of my need to “do something great someday.” I’m already doing it. Looking too far forward has only kept me from seeing what is right in front of me.


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