TedxOdense

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

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Yesterday, as part of my plan to expand my atlas both literally and figuratively, I attended a local Tedx Talk. I wanted to expand my view of the world by listening to people being in different places with their lives than I was. I never did that before, and had it not been for my colleagues, I wouldn’t have known that it was taking place – even though I live less than 200 meters from the theater where it was held.

I was introduced to sessions about robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and just a general introduction to the world that we will have to deal with in the near future. I also met a living replica of Adam Sandlers character in the movie 50 First Dates. His name was Bjarne Wædeled, and after a shattering accident 5 years ago, he lost more than 97% of his short term memory capacity. This basically meant that you could see how he several times on stage was confused as to why he was there. Being a former procurement boss of big companies in Denmark, to having the last 5 years clouded in a smoke of fog not being able to remember anything, his take on life was truly inspiring. He was of course accompanied by a partner, René Winther Madsen, who basically acted as his external brain.
There were talks about climate change, dissecting animals publicly at the local zoo and entrepreneurship. There were dancers and beatboxers and everything else that a person like myself don’t normally get exposed to. Even though we only used something along the lines of 5-6 hours in each others company, it felt like I had been traveling to the moon and back with all the expressions and stories I was so fortunate to hear.

Two things stuck with me from these presentations. One of them was from Daniel Rye, a freelance photographer who during a reporting trip to Syria was captured by Islamic State, and was held there for 13 months. He told us about one of his experiences 2-3 weeks after he had arrived to where he was being held captive. He explained how he got chained to the ceiling by his personal guard, having his arms hanging above his ears – not knowing whether he was going to be executed or tortured again. He was afterwards told that he would be released after 24 hours, and the two thoughts Daniel instantly had was “I am happy that I have my feet on the floor” and “That means that the mosque has to call for prayer 5 more times – that should be easy enough”. Having two positive thoughts popping into his head after being taken hostage and tortured really shows the strength that people are able to generate in extreme situations. Adapt or die.
The other thing that really impacted me, what the sentence I started this blog post with.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

This is such a simple, yet provocative statement. Having done nothing out of the ordinary for the last 5 years, this really spat me right in the face. I did my studies, I kept my training schedules, I read my books and I excelled at my job. That’s all good fun, but the predictability, stability and conformity that it brought along with it has been suffocating me lately. Coming closer and closer to my goal of finishing my thesis, I can in my heart of hearts honestly say that my thoughts about selling everything I own and travel the world pleases me.

If you should leave this post with anything, it should be to go to a Ted(x) Talk. I’m not saying you are going to get an epiphany like I did, but I promise you that you will see the world differently, and you will be more welcoming towards people different from you. The guy who got kicked out of math and was told he would never excel in anything and that he should stop making weird noises with his mouth later won Denmark’s Got Talent, is currently a 3 times Danish beatboxing champion and literally filled the theater with awesome tunes that got people jumping out of their seats, screaming and applauding him throughout his 15 minutes performance.

I realized that it is okay to be different.

#TedxOdense #FirstThingsFirst #TedTalk #Tedx #Expandingatlas #MitOdense #BeDifferent #Outcast #Entrepreneur

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