Last week, I livened up chore time by popping in my head phones and listening to some TEDTalks. If you’ve never heard a TEDTalk, they are speeches and performances given by experts in a wide range of fields, with the common thread of the talks being “ideas worth sharing”. The speeches are delivered live at TED conferences throughout the world and the best are published on TED.com and are available for free download through iTunes Podcasts. Some of my favorite talks of all time are The hidden power of smiling, Your elusive creative genius, and The power of introverts.
One of the talks I listened to last week struck a cord with me. The speech was given by polar explorer Ben Saunders and was about why people should still explore the world even though, today, we can find almost anything we want to know about the world on our computers, without standing up. The talk resonated with me because it touched on one of the main reasons why we were eager to have the experience of living abroad: we weren’t just excited about site seeing and eating pasta, but looked forward to facing the unknown and the challenge of leaving our comfort zones. Since moving to Italy, we’ve relearned that nothing compares to firsthand experience. Before we moved, we read books and blogs about what it would be like to be an Expat in Italy, but the lessons didn’t sink in until we made the leap ourselves.
This is what Ben said in the closing of his address:
If I’ve learned anything in nearly twelve years now of dragging heavy things around cold places it is that true, real inspiration and growth only comes from adversity and from challenge; from stepping away from what’s comfortable and familiar and stepping out into the unknown. In life we all have tempests to ride and poles to walk to and I think, metaphorically speaking, at least we could all benefit from getting outside the house a little more often. If only we could sum up the courage. I certainly would implore you to open the door just a little bit and take a look at what’s outside.
Here’s the video of Ben’s full talk.
Now stop reading this, put down the computer, and go outside!