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5 Important Lessons from TEDxNewYork

The first independently organized TEDxNewYork at Weylin B. Semour’s in Williamsburg took place this past Saturday, giving Halloween goers (and the BKB team) a brain massage for their hangovers. The theme of this TEDxNewYork was Grand Central, and their mission was to stir up interesting conversations, new ideas and to incite action:

“In a city like New York, it’s easy to take the same route every day, eat the same turkey sandwich, talk to the same ten people. Every once in a while we have to stick our heads out of our myopic little holes and ask ourselves: Wait, why do we do this again?”

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When you live in a fast-paced city, it’s important to slow down and ask the why. Here are our takeaways. Five important lessons we learned from TEDxNewYork:

1) “Most Powerful Ideas are Dismissed by Big Companies” – Albert Wegner
Some really powerful ideas can be easily dismissed by huge companies, but don’t be discouraged to keep pushing them until evolutionary change occurs.

Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to be a maverick.

2) “Our bodies and our minds work in tandem to shape how we see the world around us” – Emily Balcetis
Psychologist Emily Balcetis drove home the point that perception greatly affects outcome. Focus is key.

Takeaway: When you keep your eyes on the literal prize or goal, getting there is a whole lot easier. Are you a cup half-full or half-empty kind of person? In a study testing people’s perception of difficulty with exercise goals, Balcetis learned that perception is a subjective experience. People that are either physically fit, or more determined, actually judge distances to be shorter and more attainable than others.

3) “This talk is about nothing. Zippo…I’m saying a whole of nothing, or everything” – Will Stephen
Writer and funny man, Will Stephen spoke on how to sound smart while giving a TedTalk.

Takeaway: Everything in life is about attitude, delivery, and confidence. Sometimes how you say something is just as important as what you’re saying.



4) “When inspiration strikes, just be ready to act on it when it does” – Starlee Kine
Beginning with Geico caveman commercials and ending somewhere around 18th century composers, it turns out that inspiration is rarely birthed from nowhere. The question “Where do ideas come from?” led American Life host, Starlee Kine, on a fairly concrete pathway from ad execs, to authors (did you know George Saunders inspired a series of Geico commercials?), to other writers, to musicians, to a pet parakeet…

Takeaway: Inspiration is everywhere – in the people around you, in art and culture, and, sometimes, in pets – like Charles Dickens’ raven.

5) “Thank you for being present” – Somi
Artist Somi blew away the crowd during her soulful performance. No tweets were blasted during that time.

Takeaway: First, wow Somi can sing. Second, her simple thank you at the end reminded us all to put down the phone once in a while, open our minds and enjoy the moment. To be present.

Find out more about the speakers here, and follow TEDxNewYork on Twitter & Facebook.

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