I Stopped Listening to TED Talks – Here’s Why

Stencil.puppies Blog

Why I Don’t Listen TED Talks Anymore

Some of the most powerful moments of clarity I’ve had have come from TED talks. For example, Brown’s TEDx on vulnerability opened an old wound when I heard her say, “They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful.” I was raised not to show any type of weakness or vulnerability, while at the same time physical beauty was praised. To hear that I had it all wrong was a huge and powerful shift in how I felt about myself and how I related to others.

TED talks are powerful, bite-sized nuggets of insight and wisdom we can learn so much from. They cover everything from technology and mindfulness and they challenge us to open our minds and shift our thinking. So why did I stop listening to and watching them?

Information Bingeing

It’s in my nature is to seek knowledge and be a student of life. My Dad died, after a long battle with cancer, when I was just 16 and to this day his legacy to be a lifelong learner rings in my ears. My Dad was a college professor and I’ve followed in his footsteps teach part-time at a local university.

I love being a student of life who seeks knowledge, values spirituality and practicing mindfulness, so it was easy for me to get sucked into the cycle of consuming all the information I could find. I own every single one of Brene Brown’s books for heaven’s sake (and yes, I’ve already purchased her new release)!

I would listen to podcasts on the way to work and I’ve signed up for more online courses than I’m willing to confess (remember I have issued with vulnerability).

If consuming information had a calorie equivalent I would be clinically obese.

But just because we listen to podcasts, watch TED talks, sign up for online courses, read the latest personal growth book, and attend seminars it doesn’t mean we are absorbing all this information in a way that transforms our lives. Transforming our lives is about quality and specificity, not quantity.

Like we do with making healthy food choices we need to become more discerning and mindful about the information we consume. Just because you have an all you can eat ticket to information doesn’t mean you have to consume all of it.

Listening to our inner echo

Like I said about Brene’s TEDx talk on vulnerability, it really did create a mindset shift for me. But there are many other TED talks have I listened to or watched that I can’t remember one thing about the talk. With Brene’s I went back and listened to that talk (and her follow-up one on shame) three times, I took notes and drew a mind map of what I learned. I did this because I slowed down and noticed there was something  I needed, no my soul needed, to learn.

I was hearing my inner echo. The small quiet voice we so often dismiss as irrelevant.

When we have a noticeable emotional reaction and are moved by something we should also make the time to sit with the concept or idea. I call this listening to our inner echo. For any type of learning to transform our lives’, we need to make time to digest and absorb this information.

Our inner echo is the internal voice that comes back to us when we hear something that our soul needs. It’s a deep resonance of what we already know, but need it to be sent back to us through the thoughts or interpretation of someone else.

So often when we are in such a rush to keep consuming information we forget to listen for the echo. In other words, we keep going back to the information buffet before we can sit quietly long enough to know if we’re satiated.

I have learned to be more discerning about both what I consume and about letting it digest before diving in for more.

Yes, I still indulge in TED talks, podcasts and other sources of information, but I’m much more decerning. Much like I no longer just eat a Kit-Kat chocolate bar when I’m craving a chocolate fix. Now I seek out luxuriously dark chocolate that I only need a small amount of to satisfy my craving.

Listening to your own inner TED talk

As I have curbed my appetite for information consumption I have increased my meditation time and my time of letting my own mind wander and script beautiful talks that play out in my mind and my journals.

Rather than thinking that everyone else has the answers and if you just watched, listened and read enough, someday you too would be so wise, give yourself permission to be so vulnerable and beautiful as to trust your inner echo has all the wisdom you need.

Instead of going back for more and more from the information buffet make time each day to listen for the echo of your own story. The most powerful shift you can make is trusting that you have all the information you need. You a wise, wonderful and beautiful soul, with a unique purpose in this time and place.

The world needs you to hear the inner echo. The world is waiting for you to completely wrap yourself in who you are at the very center of your soul. Stop searching for someone else’s wisdom, trust in your own because the world needs more people who love and believe themselves.