April 28, 2010
TEDx San Francisco: Courage & ResilienceTEDxSF was held at San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences yesterday afternoon and evening. The idea behind TEDx events is to extend the spirit of TED, held for years in Monterey and now in Long Beach, with several simulcast events happening at the same time.
I attended a TEDx Berkeley recently and was planning to be on a plane to Japan in a week or so for TEDx Tokyo, but a handful of technology innovations I'm working on are keeping me stateside. TEDx a great idea and a way to bring TEDsters and other like-minded people into a room to share great ideas, network, grow and make connections, that can in turn, lead to other amazing initiatives that can make the world a better one.
Self organized, they are independent events. This week's line-up included movers, shakers, leaders, artists and creators like relationship expert Dr. John Gray, Guitar Hero co-founder Charles Huang, Fighter Nathan Quarry, counterterrorism professor Celina Realuyo, conservationist and whale lover Dr. Paul Watson and among others, advocate of the notion that genes mixed with choice can lead to success David Shenk, who I found amusing and thought: "this is someone I'd like to have lunch with someday."
Singer/songwriter Bhi Bhiman, born to Sri Lankan parents, sings his lessons. For the most part, he writes about struggle and injustice (here's a taste of his music), although he writes love songs as well as tunes that incorporate an odd sense of humor that might invoke an outburst of laughter when you least expect it.
He demonstrates how location, background, less than ideal odds and color do not need to get in the way of your passion, your dreams, your talent and your success.
I've met John Gray and heard him speak several times. I agree with his notion that women, particularly Type A, career-oriented women of the 2000s don't get enough Oxytocin. Yet, if you have not heard him speak before or read his books, he may have lost you at the the Venus and Mars book reference in his intro line.
Gray is spot on when he talks about the kinds of things that give women more oxytocin and let's be honest, we all need more of it. I know I do. The problem is that we (women) dig our own graves in that we often flea from precisely what gives us pleasure and what we really need because the hormone that gets results, particularly in business and competitive sports, is not Oxytocin, but testosterone, the steroid hormone that an adult male produces about ten times more of naturally, than a woman.
What's interesting is that testosterone lowers stress in men, but not in women. "Ever seen a man on a couch?" Gray asks the crowd and everyone laughs at the all too familiar visual, even those who have lived with CEO-type energies. "They're recharging their testosterone," he says. He adds an interesting 'updated' reference to the masculine cave 'need.' "Men used to go to their caves and come out after a recharge. Now, they're going to their caves and are not coming out." OR, they're coming out more slowly or much later.
It's not inaccurate, but it's also not that simple.
Part of the issue that women are starting to go into their caves too, but not to restore testosterone, but because the world around them becomes so overwhelming that when they're trying to deal with or attack it all, and the home is no longer nurturing, they need to figure out other ways, things and places to get that necessary oxytocin recharge that keeps them balanced and healthy.
He very quickly warms up, and brings amusement to his talk on inherited responses: Epigenetics, Courage and Resilience. He talks about the mystery behind gene expression and how sentiment has changed in recent years.
Shenk takes us from The Bell Curve to the modern day thinking of Michael Meaney.
Geopolitical and enterprise risk management expert Celina Realuyo expert talks about taking charge of our own personal 'risks,' and setting up a plan of action to deal with them, long before a crisis happens.
She walks us terrorism examples, snow storms and power outages. Her takeaways largely had to do with the same ones World War I and II children lived by: be prepared for anything. Don't we all have an Aunt Betty and Uncle Melvin who had basements filled with huge water bottles and dozens of canned baked beans?
Fighter Nate Quarry reminds us not to give up regardless of your odds. Sometimes it doesn't take much more than knowing what your priorities are.....for him, making sure he had time with his little girl (after a divorce), being fit, strong and financially capable enough to take care of her, and not losing in a ring with someone he mentally knew he could beat, is enough.
There's always a moment and it exists for all of us, when we know we must succeed, must rise above what we're capable of and do a downward bow to perseverance and courage because it's either the right thing to do, or something in us knows that if we don't, we'll never forgive ourselves for not taking the leap of faith.
Isn't it sometimes as simple as: Believing in something bigger than ourselves just because?
Julie Wurm on Being True to Ourselves.
Michael Warr touches us with his poetry.
LOOP!STATION entertains with an enchanting mix of dreamy vocals and cello.
Below are a few random shots taken at the event.
Michael Levit, Suzie Katz and Sumit Guha
Frog Design's Kristina Loring, Poet Michael Warr, Renee Blodgett
LOOP!STATION's vocalist Robin Coomer
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