Tuesday, November 10, 2015

TED Tuesday: How The Worst Moments In Our Lives Make Us Who We Are

"That which does not kill us makes us stronger." 
~~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Good Morning Folks,

I've found a very inspiring talk to share this morning. I'm wallowing in the beauty of this wonderfully crafted story.

Writer (and Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons doppelganger), Andrew Solomon, closed out this year’s TED Conference in Vancouver with a talk titled, “How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are,” which explores the impact of the traumas people face and how they turn those traumas into the foundation of their identity. 

His speech bought the audience to tears as he described his experiences with self-identity in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and, most recently, fatherhood.

Now he turns inward, bringing us into a childhood of struggle, while also spinning tales of the courageous people he's met in the years since. In a moving, heartfelt and at times downright funny talk, Solomon gives a powerful call to action to forge meaning from our biggest struggles.

Growing up, Solomon was bullied for being gay, leading to years of depression, during which he even attempted to change his identity through a version of conversion therapy. However, he soon realized that he would be unable to change himself, and instead, “forging meaning and building identity became my mantra.” 

“I dug terrible wounds into my psyche,” he said. “I would have had an easier life if I was straight, but I would not be me. And I now like being myself better than I like being someone else. 

“Stories are the foundation of our identity. It took identity to rescue me from sadness. 

“You need to take the traumas and make them part of who you’ve come to be. And you need to fold the worst events of your life into a narrative of triumph, evincing a better self in response to things that hurt.” 

Speaking of those suffering social discrimination or harassment daily, he added, “All of us with stigmatized identities face this question daily: how much to accommodate society by constraining ourselves and how much to break the limits of what constitutes a valid life.” 

During the speech, Solomon also opened up about being a father, and in what ways he has taken joy from the trivial moments of his day-to-day life with his child and husband, aware that not long ago he never thought that level of happiness was achievable in his own life. 

He says, “We could have been ourselves without the delights, but not without the misfortunes that drive our search for meaning."


Thanks to dot429 for their contributions to today's post, to TED and most importantly to you for listening.

Let's all go make things happen today. I look forward to seeing you soon.
Love Life!

Mitchell D. Weiner
Chief Happiness Officer  

Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form.TED Tuesdays on MitchWeiner.com highlights some of today's most intriguing ideas. Look for more talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more— HERE

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