I thought TED was an actual bloke. I knew it wasn’t him giving all the talks. I’m not that silly. But I thought the whole thing was started by someone called Ted. Turns out, I am a bit silly. Turns out, TED Talks were started by a bloke called Richard.
The day started bright enough, bouncing off the walls, getting through plenty of work, briskly walking during lunch. Pushed it just a bit too far. But I didn’t want to completely waste the afternoon; called into the uni bookshop, prepared to be enticed.
Forgot to take my glasses with me.
No surprise then that I came out with the biggest, brightest, simplest front cover facing up on the shelves.
What makes your heart sing?
Page 20 and the confrontation starts. “Ask yourself: …” OK. I’ll play. I ask myself.
The answer is a hazy picture, a warm and fuzzy feeling, that I cannot translate into words. The picture is so hazy I cannot even work out where, or when, or what might have been happening.
I read on.
Page 21 and Matthieu Ricard is explaining that “happiness is a ‘deep sense of serenity and fulfillment’.” Now, any Australian who’s seen the movie, The Castle, will probably be recalling Darryl Kerrigan’s fondness for a bit of serenity about now. Not surprising, given he lived next door to an airport. Once I get past the image of Darryl fighting to keep his home, I realise that my difficulty in locating and translating these moments is because they weren’t associated with specific events.
My heart sings in the in betweens; a realisation possibly triggered by remembering those moments in between the roar of planes in transition between land and air … just over Darryl’s back fence.
The author’s reason for encouraging us to track down this moment of song is to discover what we’re really really passionate about.
I’m not passionate about starting a jigsaw. I’m not even passionate about finishing a jigsaw. Instead, it’s those moments in between when the struggle is rewarded with a solution.
I’m definitely not passionate about kneading a new batch of clay. I’m rarely passionate about the end results that emerge from the kiln. Instead, it’s those moments of trying something different and seeing if it works and how it works, or even why it didn’t work.
It’s not about publishing a new post. It’s those moments when a sentence comes together, when a paragraph feels right, when a word emerges from some rarely entered recess of my brain.
Solving problems creates a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment.
Now this isn’t revelatory. I already knew I enjoyed solving problems. Not just my problems, either. I actually have to stop myself “solving” other people’s problems. I have a cup emblazoned with “You can’t teach a pig to sing. You only waste your time and annoy the pig.” I’d prefer the catchphrase to be less brutal. I don’t really think other people are pigs when they disagree with me. But I was drawn to the underlying sentiment of living life in a way that doesn’t annoy other people.
What I realised today is that this passion is not born of a need for approval. Approval tends to be associated with the end product.
Now, I can see the thought bubbles popping up all over … “Isn’t arriving at a solution the end product?” you ask. Even if it’s not the final end product, it’s an end product in itself. You have ARRIVED at a solution.
So I dig deeper.
For there to be a problem needing a solution, there must first be something I don’t know, don’t understand. To reach the solution, I must search, reflect, learn, ponder, marvel, engage.
I must explore.
I must be creative.
And therein lies my song;
in the in betweens.
GALLO, Carmine, 2014. Talk like TED: The 9 public speaking secrets of the world’s top minds. Published by Macmillan.