30 Ted Talks

Here’s the list and quotes from some of the 30 Ted Talks I challenged myself to listen to in August. Some were recommendations, but most were chosen related to the things I’m interested in and thinking about these days. Hopefully you’ll watch and enjoy some of these as much as I did. I should put the links, but that’s effort!

1. How to find and do the work you love
Scott Dinsmor
“80% of people work in jobs they don’t enjoy because they think they have to.
Surround yourself with people who inspire you.”

2. How to find your passion and inner awesomeness
Eugene Hennie
“Ask yourself what do you like? Embrace yourself. Once you embrace it, everything else becomes easier.
Make the impossible the new possible.
Embrace confrontation.
Do what’s right.”

3. Every kid needs a champion
Rita Pierson
A must listen for everyone who teaches or works with children in any way.
“While you won’t like all the kids you teach, the key is to never let them know.
Teaching and learning should be a joy.
Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them.”

4. The power of vulnerability
Brene Brown
“The ability to feel connected with people is why we are here.
We need to believe that we are enough.”

5. Dog friendly dog training
Ian Dunbar
I love the work that this man does, and he always makes a lot of sense.
“You get a little puppy. His only crime is that he grew!
Dogs, horses and humans are the three species that are so abused.
They are so beatable, that’s why they get beaten.
Teach a dog to want to do what you want it to do.
Let the dog think that it is training us. Allow what was once the distraction in training to be the reward.
We have to learn to enforce a behaviour without force.
Training dogs and teaching children is very similar if approached in the correct way.”

6. What must our dogs be thinking when they look at us
Billy Collins

7. Which country does the most good for the world?
Simon Anholt

8. How to get your ideas to spread
Seth Godin

9. The single biggest reason why start-ups succeed
Bill Gross
“Execution definitely matters a lot. The idea matters a lot. But timing might matter even more.”

10. The dangers of wilful blindness
Margaret Heffernan
“People know there is a problem with something, but they say nothing.
Humans are all, under certain circumstances, wilfully blind.”

11. Every conversation can change a life
Pat Divilly
I listened to this again after hearing it first in February when it went online. One of my favourite talks, and definitely worth a watch.
“The world is a mirror and when you go out there smile at people and take an interest in people … believe in people when you don’t believe in yourself then your whole world changes.”

12. Measuring what makes life worthwhile
Chip Conley

13. How to make work/life balance work
Nigel Marsh
He talks a lot of sense!
“. We should stop looking outside. It’s up to us as individuals to take control and responsibility for the type of lives that we want to lead. If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just not like their idea of balance.”

14. The happy secret to better work
Shawn Anchor
This is very funny!

15. in the key of genius
Derek Paravicini and Adam Okelford
I absolutely love Derek’s story and Adam’s work. Reading his book is brilliant, and this talk gives a small idea of what it’s about.

16. How autism freed me to be myself
Rosie King

17. The world needs all kinds of minds
Temple Grandin

18. What I’ve learned from my autistic brothers
Faith Jegede Cole
“Normality overlooks the beauty that differences give us, and the fact that we are different doesn’t mean that one of us is wrong. It just means that there’s a different kind of right… The chance for greatness, for progress and for change dies the moment we try to be like someone else.”

19. How I learned to communicate my inner life with Asperger’s
Alex Generous
A very funny insight into the life and challenges of someone with Asperger’s.

20. How I use sonar to navigate the world
Daniel Kish
“It’s impressions about blindness that are far more threatening to blind people than the blindness itself.”
I love this quote!
He’s a funny guy. Echolocation has its uses, but I’m not going to give up my dog to use it any time soon!

21. Questions that move us forward
Hugo Pereira
“What have I experienced in life that is worth sharing?”
“We are the average of the five people we spend most of our time with… Are they challenging you enough?”
“Would you do anything different in your life if you knew you could not fail?”
“If there is a small hint that you want to change something, then what is holding you back?”

22. Try something new for 30 days
Matt Cutts

23. Kids, take charge
Kiran Bir Sethi
“When children are empowered, not only do they do good, they do well.”

24. Why would God create a tsunami?
Tom Honey
I don’t know, and I still don’t after listening to this!

25. Rethinking foster care
Molly McGrath Tierney
Someone recommended this. Have no experience and not sure if I totally agree.

26. The transformative power of classical music
Benjamin Zander
This is really good.

27. How architecture helped music evolve
David Byrne

28. When meds fail: a case for music therapy
Tim Ringgold
I totally get everything he says. The connection that people have with music and how it affects us is powerful.

29. How I started writing songs again
I really like Sting, so it was a nice surprise to find this. The songs are great, as well as his down to earth talk.

30. Do schools kill creativity?
Ken Robinson
“I don’t mean to say that being wrong is the same thing as being creative. What we do know is, if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original — if you’re not prepared to be wrong. And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They have become frightened of being wrong. And we run our companies like this. We stigmatize mistakes. And we’re now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. And the result is that we are educating people out of their creative capacities.”
This was an entertaining and educational talk to end my Ted talk challenge.


Even though I’ve lived beside the beach in Buncrana for most of my life, I’m a little bit afraid of waves. I’m afraid for a good reason though. When I was eight, I was knocked over and turned head over heels by a wave on holiday in France. Ten years later I was on holiday in Thailand with my family. We spent a good part of Christmas day on the beach. The following morning we found ourselves in the middle of what we knew later to be the Asian tsunami!
Not only have I still continued to go places on holiday and swim in the beach, I decided that one of the 30 new things I wanted to do this year should be related to water. I knew that Torie had gone surfing before, so I knew there were people not too far away who were willing enough and crazy enough to help a blind person overcome a fear of waves. After finally finding the courage to contact Dan from
Long Line Surf School
by email, I knew there was no going back. Challenge 13 was planned for 1st September, and my PA Donna and I found ourselves at the surf school just outside Limavady at ten o’clock this morning.

Dan was full of enthusiasm when he met me to bring me surfing. I was nervous and not so enthusiastic. When I say I’m going to do something, I stick to it, so I put on the wetsuit and we headed for the beach. Benone beach is one of Ireland’s longest beaches. At seven miles long, there was plenty of space for Donna to walk Sibyl and let her off for a run. The surf school has been operating for five years, and there are six instructors in total, based in Benone and Portrush beaches. Their passion for what they do, along with the fact that they want to make surfing an option for as many people as possible with different abilities through their
disability surf lessons
is very impressive.

After chatting with dan for a few minutes, I quickly relaxed because I knew I could trust him. He’s a trained lifeguard after all. We walked in the water so I could feel the size of the waves and how deep we’d be going. It was always shallow enough which was perfect for a first lesson. I knew if I fell off I could stand up really quickly. Then he showed me how to lie on the board on the sand, before taking it into the water. The nine foot board means it’s long enough for the instructor to move and direct from behind. The first while was like bodyboarding, and I went into a few waves facing them, and then out to the shore. The feeling both times was brilliant, even though I found facing the oncoming wave a bit freaky at first. After a while Dan would tell me when to kneel, and I’d move quickly from lying to kneeling on the board as the wave took it into the shore.
We went back on to the sand again to learn how to balance and put one foot forward after kneeling on the board. I did this lots more times in the water. Apparently I have good balance on the board, especially for a beginner. All that yoga must be paying off!

Obviously the point of surfing is to stand on the board and ride the waves. Dan had a brilliant way of building me up to this gradually, though there was never any pressure to do anything. He’d suggest different things I could do, but If I’d wanted to stay on my tummy on the board for an hour, he’d have let me. The more I went on one knee, the more I was tempted to stand. The more I thought about it, the more I put myself off. We decided I’d do it three more times, as the weather was starting to change. The waves became a bit bigger, and it was harder to walk out towards them. I got a few ear-full and eye-fulls of water along the way, but when you’re totally soaked, you don’t care anymore. On my second last surf in to shore, I stood up before I even had time to think. The feeling was amazing, and I wished I could have balanced longer. Instead I half fell into the water and poor Dan nearly got his hair pulled as I tried to kneel in the sand. Did I mention he had the patience of a saint? I stood again for the final time before jumping into the water and laughing. I was buzzing at that stage. I could have ran the length of the beach!

Surfing with Long Line was such a brilliant experience. The work they do is amazing, and I can’t recommend them enough. It’s a great feeling when you decide to do something completely out of your comfort zone and actually really enjoy it. It takes a certain kind of person to make that happen, and Dan did an amazing job. Believing I could do something that I know nothing about, and describing what was happening during the lesson so well made this challenge work. And it worked so well that I really really want to go back sometime and do it all again.