Archives for the ‘Ted Talks’ Category

Eat Pray Love


Pure Inspiration

One of the ways I listen to Ted talks is on a Sunday afternoon as I do my weekly ironing. And so it was, one Sunday evening around 6 years ago that I first stumbled upon Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk “Your elusive creative genius“.

The talk was so inspiring, in fact, it awakened my long slumbering dragon of a wish to write a novel of my own one day. A book that would be published through a reputable publisher and inspire its readers.

A Dragon of a Wish

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Of course, I didn’t really understand what that meant until I was much older, so old and weary from Life’s distractions, threats and challenges that I almost stayed away instead of confront and befriend my dragon of a wish.

One of the most important things I learned was “to be a writer, you have to write“. While that seems like common sense, it’s anything but easy or straightforward. Just because you know what to do, doesn’t make it easier to do. Especially when it’s tied up with the hopes, fears and anxieties that come with realising a lifelong dream.

Along the way, I came across many personal gremlins, some nastier than others. Such an undertaking forced me to dig deep and I got cleverer with each encounter. With each gremlin’s put-down or criticism, I would take a deep breath, smile then say, “To be a writer, I have to write and so I write. Goodbye!”

Dreams Do Come True

Thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert’s inspirational talk, I’ve written and published my first novel “The Dream Team Nightmare – Boost Team Productivity Using Agile Techniques” (also available on Amazon) and presented my first TedX talk about my concept on “Enterprise Gardening: Transforming workplaces into somewhere we belong”.

Time to Awaken Another Dragon

Last weekend, I discovered Elizabeth Gilbert’s just given her second Ted talk about “Success, failure and the drive to keep creating”. Here’s to awaking and befriending more dragons!


Live Long and Prosper


Curiouser and Curiouser

The concept of a Peace Day, while applaudable, is a curiosity to me. If we’re to believe that we’re at what is probably the height of civilisation in the history of humankind, why then do we need a special day to encourage us to make peace with one another?

Begin with a Dream to Make Believe

The reality is that peace remains elusive, be it personal or world peace, much like contentment and humility. The good news is that there are plenty of us trying to make peace instead of war. May El-Khalil shares the story of how she turned her passion for running from tragedy into inspiration to all those around her. Check out her Ted talk here.

Make Peace Every Day

So how about we each of us make peace part of our every daily routine? Who will you choose to make peace with right now? Later on today? And tomorrow? To achieve world peace requires a lot less effort when each of us does our bit. Happy Peace Day!

Happy Father’s Day

Unconditional Acceptance

Strange But Not Surprising

Just as there’s no definitive job description for “Mother”, “Mum” or “Ma” (or whatever you call your mother or mother figure), there isn’t one for “Father”, “Dad” or “Da” either.

Love No Matter What

To me, “Father” means gentle, kind, patient, loving, responsible, lead-by-example, team player, always learning and makes things better. After watching an inspiring Ted talk by Andrew Solomon, I have added to my list “accepting”.

According to Andrew Solomon, a father or parent not only loves their child unconditionally, they unconditionally accept who their child is. They accept who their child has chosen to be. They accept who their child has become.

The Transformative Power of Love

Now that I’m a parent, I realise acceptance is a big ask of a parent, perhaps even more than unconditional love, because it demands we forego judging our children.

So how do we stop judging our children when we spend so much time and effort judging what’s good and bad for them when they’re little (and may be even long after they need us to make decisions on their behalf)?

The answer lies in what defines a father. By being gentler, kinder and more patient with ourselves, we don’t just become better parents, it’s a chance to change who we are and become a better person.

Finding Mojo

Not waving but drowning

Do you feel exhausted and frustrated? Or perhaps you feel annoyed and demotivated? May be you’ve had this feeling a thousand times before but can’t quite remember how to shake it? The French have a special name for this state of being. They call it “ennui” which roughly translates to boredom (and possibly something much darker). Whatever you choose to call it, don’t just wait for it to pass. Not this time.

In order to rediscover your mojo, we need to first agree on its meaning. defines it as “the art or practice of casting magic spells; magic; voodoo”. In essence, it’s getting into the groove or feeling the buzz. In practice, it’s creating or doing things that make you feel remarkable, amazing, happy.

In his Ted talk, neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert has come up with an unusual premise of why the brain has evolved. According to him, our brains have evolved not to think or feel but to move. To create mojo.

Not drowning but waving

If Daniel Wolpert’s premise is true, that we’re creatures created for mojo, then the first step to rediscovering our mojo is to get moving.

  1. Stop what you’re doing right now (in a safe way).
  2. Say the one thing you’d really like to do today to get your mojo flowing again OUT LOUD. (Remember, you don’t have to realise your world domination dream today. That would be like trying to swallow the sun. Instead go for the smallest baby step you can do today towards your goal.)
  3. Just do it.

Instead of “not waving but drowning”, get moving to find your mojo. Because if your mojo is missing, it misses you.


Strike a Pose

Whether you’re a first time developer, manager, leader or parent, according to Amy Cuddy in her Ted talk, the key to increased confidence in what you do is to strike a pose. Literally.

While your mind can clearly control your body, according to research, changing your posture can significantly affect what you think. Especially how you perceive yourself.

Years ago, while I was totally daunted by the prospect of my final year French spoken exam, a girl who lived down the corridor shared with me the secret to her consistent high performance in exams.

“Of course I study for every exam,” Miss High Achiever said. “But there’s something else I do right before I go into the exam room. It’s very silly, but it works.”

It turns out my friend would spend a few minutes psyching herself up in front of a mirror, usually in the ladies toilets. She would stand tall, look herself in the eye then say just loud enough for herself to hear, “You’re the best. You’re the best. You’re the best.”

At the time, out of desperation, I tried out my friend’s tip. I did much better than I ever imagined in my final year French spoken exam.

Of course, spending a year out in France as a language assistant helped as did my intense revision.

Standing in front of the mirror just before my exam telling myself “You’re the best” didn’t turn me into a narcissist anymore than it did with my friend. Instead, it reminded us that no matter what happened, we were going to give it our best shot.

And that’s my takeaway from Amy Cuddy’s Ted talk. “Fake it until you become it.” With enough practice, preparation and self-belief you, too, can make it.

This tip got me through one of my scarier moments in 2012 when I gave my first TedX talk last year.

How are you going to fake it until you become it?

World Book Day 2013

Calling All Bookworms

What better way to celebrate this Thursday than with World Book Day in the UK?

I love everything about books. Holding them, reading them, writing them, reviewing them, talking about them and re-reading them.

If you do too, then here are a few suggestions to make the most of World Book Day and beyond:

Happy World Book Day!