Passion for an Idea Worth Spreading

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Do you have a great idea that the world absolutely must know about and have a huge passion for sharing it? If you don't have both of those things, you're probably not going to be invited to speak at TED. Now, I know this is a course on how to speak at TED, but I would caution you, I really don't think it's particularly productive to just sit down and say, you know, I want to write a speech for Ted today, because I think it would be prestigious would make me look cool. It would make my friends think I'm smart. If I spoke at TED, that's not the attitude to have. If you look at most of the speakers who speak at TED, they have been speaking on this subject for years and years and years, to a wide variety of audiences, anyone who will listen to them.

Al Gore has spoken at TED many times, but he gave his speech on the environment thousands of times before he ever addressed a TED audience. And he may get $200,000 a speech when he gives that talk now. But for years and years and years, he gave that presentation for free. So, I would ask you to really step back a minute, rather than thinking so much about. I want to prepare this TED Talk, think about the subject you have the ideas you have, that you really have a passion for. Ask yourself, if you absolutely knew you would never, ever, ever be able to speak at TED, would you still want to speak on this subject?

If the answer is maybe not, then you shouldn't waste your time anymore. You're not a good candidate for speaking at TED. Again, watch the people who speak at TED, do some research on them. Check them out on YouTube, quite often, you're going to find very similar speeches they've given sometimes much longer, but similar speeches on the same topic, hundreds of times in other venues. And you can see they've been speaking on this subject for a long, long time. You've got to have, for starters, a subject and you've got to have some expertise.

It doesn't mean you have to be a PhD and a professor from Harvard. But you have to have something where you're living in this world. This is not a high school debate class where you just arbitrarily pick a topic of Oh, euthanasia of for it or against it. It's not like that. Ted does an excellent job of weeding out people who are just looking for something to put on the resume that they spoke at TED, they are looking for people who had spent years sometimes decades, sometimes a lifetime, completely immersed in a particular subject or particular issue. Doesn't matter if it's creating new formats of distributing music, or if it's creating low cost housing, they want people who live in that world who are true experts who are speaking on it but are doing it and are living it.

So you've got to find out what that is. Now, you should not have to spend a lot of time going to the internet figuring out what you spend time on. You should know what you spend time on every day for the last year, half a dozen years or even decades. That's what you need to pull from. Speak from your experience. Of course, it's nice to put in new research that changes your thinking.

And a good Ted speech does have an element of surprise. A great Ted speech will have a way of shifting your thinking about a particular subject. For example, one of their recent speakers talked about how her whole life, she advises people to minimize stress, get rid of stress, stress is a killer. But she did more research and found out that particular types of stress and your attitudes towards stress are what's important if you have a good attitude towards stress, and you see it as a challenge that can help You reach your goals, it actually doesn't hurt your health at all. It can enhance your life and enhance your health. So, look for something where even if you've worked in a subject area for 10 2030 years, you've learned, you've changed, there's something new.

And that's what excites you. Now, Anthony Robbins has spoken at TED. He's not the main person, I want to be your role model because he's somewhat out of the norm. But again, he's someone who's been speaking his whole life. Whether you love him or hate him, I don't think anyone can deny he has a real passion for his particular brand of personal improvement, personal development. And whether Ted ever invited him or not, would have no impact on how he spends his life.

And the fact that he's speaking often hundreds of times a year. And he had to change his point he's used to speaking for three days. He had to speak for 17 or so minutes. So there's a lot of have different types of speakers. But the one thing you do see is people have a passion. Now, they're not all gung ho and high energy like Anthony Robbins, sometimes people are very restrained, and don't even move their feet at all.

But you can tell, they really, really care about this. It could be about something of truly global significance of how to minimize war. Or it could be as one Ted speaker did devote an entire presentation on how to tie your shoes more effectively by doing one thing, the opposite way. There's all types of good speakers out there, but there's always something to change your way of thinking, where you feel like you learn something interesting and quite often useful. So you've got to figure out what that topic is, what is it that you're already living in, that you're already an expert on, that you have a true passion for? That's where your topic has to come from.

Not by glomming on to some hot topic of the day

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