Sunday, 27 April 2014

Uncensored version: Five inspiring TED talks delivered by women

Because of censorship laws in the Sultanate of Oman, I've been forced to censor articles that I write for publications.

This is a version of the article on Five inspiring TED talks delivered by women that I would’ve wanted to write. Only the write-up on the last talk has been modified.

Five inspiring TED talks delivered by women

Psychologist Amy Cuddy spoke about how humans could manipulate their brains to tackle stressful situations.

She says that confident people have high testosterone levels, while stress generates cortisol. She adds that it is possible to programme your brain to excel when it comes to stressful situations.

“Before you go into the next stressful evaluative situation, for two minutes, try doing this, in the elevator, in a bathroom stall, at your desk behind closed doors,” she explains. ”Configure your brain to cope the best in that situation. Get your testosterone up. Get your cortisol down.

“Don't leave that situation feeling like, oh, I didn't show them who I am. Leave that situation feeling like, oh, I really feel like I got to say who I am and show who I am”.

Amy Cuddy was named TED’s Global Speaker of 2012.

In 1996, neuroscientist Jill Taylor suffered a stroke to the left hemisphere of her brain. Through her experiences while she was suffering, she was healed herself through self-realisation.

The brain’s left hemisphere is “that little voice that says to me, ‘I am. I am.’ I become a single solid individual,” explains Dr. Taylor.

Dr. Taylor experienced her body shutting down. “I essentially became an infant in a woman's body”.

“Because I could not identify the position of my body in space [sic] my spirit soared free, like a great whale gliding through the sea of silent euphoria,” she recalls. “Nirvana. I found Nirvana.”

“If I have found Nirvana and I'm still alive, then everyone who is alive can find Nirvana,” she realised.

“The more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner-peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love says that people should manage their creativity and not panic when envision the right idea at the wrong moment because creative ideas always come to people.

Her inspiration for this is musician Tom Waits, whom she once interviewed.

“He was driving down the freeway in Los Angeles. He's speeding along, and all of a sudden he hears this little fragment of melody, that comes into his head as inspiration often comes, elusive and tantalizing, and he wants it, you know, it's gorgeous, and he longs for it, but he has no way to get it,” she recalls.

“He just looked up at the sky, and he said, ‘Excuse me, can you not see that I'm driving? Do I look like I can write down a song right now? If you really want to exist, come back at a more opportune moment when I can take care of you. Otherwise, go bother somebody else today’.”

She advises people to not be overwhelmed by the creative process.

“What I have to keep telling myself when I get really psyched out about that, is, don't be afraid,” she finishes.
“Don't be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be.

Amy Purdy’s life changed forever at the age of 19, when she lost her legs to meningitis.

She vividly remembers the first time she wore her prosthetic legs. “They were so painful and so confining that all I could think was how am I ever going to travel the world in these things?

To heal, she envisioned the life she’d wanted to live. “My leg maker and I put random parts together and we made a pair of feet that I could snowboard in,” she recalls.

“I started snowboarding, then I went back to work, and back to school. Then in 2005 I co-founded a non-profit organization for youth and young adults with physical disabilities.”

“My legs haven't disabled me, if anything they've enabled me,” she says. “They forced me to rely on my imagination and to believe in the possibilities. It is believing in those dreams and facing our fears head on that allows us to live our lives beyond our limits.”

Today, she is a professional snowboarder and a three-time World Cup gold medalist.

Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee is transforming her homeland of Liberia by empowering its women.

“My wish is to be educated. And if I can't be educated, when I see some of my sisters being educated, my wish has been fulfilled. I wish for a better life. I wish for food for my children. I wish that sexual abuse and exploitation in schools would stop." That is the wish of the African girl, says Leymah.

“I'm now on a journey to fulfil the wish, in my tiny capacity, of little African girls,” she says. “We set up a foundation. We're giving full four-year scholarships to girls from villages that we see with potential.

“All of these great innovators and inventors that we've talked to and seen over the last few days are also sitting in tiny corners in different parts of the world,” she adds.

“All they're asking us to do is create that space to unlock the intelligence, unlock the passion, unlock all of the great things that they hold within themselves. Let's journey together.”

Empowered by the teachings of Mrs. Gbowee, the girls in a Liberian village launched a campaign for voter registration. They were able to mobilise young women.

“They went to those who were running for seats to ask them, what is it that you will give the girls of this community when you win,” she recalls.

Liberia has one of the strongest rape laws and one man who had a seat was fighting to overturn that law because he called it barbaric. “Rape is not barbaric, but the law, he said, was barbaric,” she explains. “And when the girls started engaging him, he was very hostile towards them. These little girls turned to him and said, we will vote you out of office.

“He's out of office today.”

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