art & literature

Seven Inspiring Ted Talks To Watch During The Lockdown

Sheena Joseph | Jun 02 2020
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The days of staying home are not over as the pandemic is still around and forced the government to extend the lockdown. You may have checked movies and books from your ‘to-do’ list. It is time to do something different. With all the uncertainty looming over the world, you can use some inspiration. And it is no secret that Ted Talks are a great source of inspiration, knowledge, and motivation. Here are some of the must-watch Ted Talks of all time.

1. How Trees Talk To Each Other by Suzanne Simard

Ecologist Suzanne Simard spent 30 years in Canadian forests and came out with proof for a fact - 'trees talk to each other'. In her Ted Talk, Simard walked us through her experiments that led to the discovery. She states that trees lead complex social lives like many other living beings and they communicate frequently over vast distances.

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Simard explains that there is an underground network that connects trees that allow the trees to communicate and the forest to act as a single organism. The ecologists talk about how her idea was perceived as crazy in the beginning which led to the lack of a research fund. Simard did her experiments the cheap way with duct tapes and plastic bags. Her story will open your eyes to a whole new world and reminds you that trees are as much as living beings as humans are.

2. The Danger Of A Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is known for her highly successful novels and non-fiction books like 'We should all be feminists', 'Half of a yellow sun', 'The thing around your neck', and 'Purple hibiscus: A novel'. Her Ted Talk enlightens you about how humans find it difficult to understand other cultures and traditions. 

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In her talk, Chimamanda tells the story of her finding an authentic cultural voice. She also explains how we risk a critical misunderstanding when you hear only a single story about another person or country. When the world is in dire need of cultural sensitivity, the award-winning writer’s talk is guidance. She speaks about how children are impressionable and vulnerable to stories, citing her own example.

3. Your Elusive Creative Genius by Elizabeth Gilbert

The author of the best-selling memoir 'Eat, Pray, love' Elizabeth Gilbert gets immensely personal in her Ted Talk. Her account of what happens in the journey to success and what comes after that resonated with many artists. She opened up about being asked: 'aren't you worried that you are never going to be able to top your previous work' (which became a bestseller).

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Gilbert says that she is afraid of all the risks that come with the profession. She also points out that the world has given creative individuals a reputation for being mentally unstable and at risk of failure. The writer breaks down how to get ahead of this attitude in her talk.

4. Racism Has A Cost For Everyone by Heather C. McGhee

Public policy expert Heather C. McGee shares insights into how racism has been fueling bad policymaking and hampering the economy. She prompts viewers to rethink if the future can be different. She points out it costs every nation to remain divided and every individual's fate is linked.

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McGhee's journey began in 2016 with a national television moment that went viral for its element of compassion between a black woman and a prejudiced white male. She says that she realised racism has cost him a lot of things too. She details that economic policies have been backfiring on privileged people who designed the policies to benefit.

5. Are Indoor Vertical Farms The Future Of Agriculture? by Stuart Oda

Investment-banker-turned-farmer Stuart Oda draws attention to a very obvious problem that the world has been facing for years - hunger. The global population stands around seven billion at the moment and it will reach 9.8 billion by 2050. Food grown by current farming methods is not enough. Oda says indoor vertical farming is the future. This technique is nothing but growing food on tiered racks in a controlled, climate-proof environment. 

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Oda warns that if humanity is to survive, we need to grow significantly more food using significantly less land and resources as the population is not only getting bigger but denser too. He goes on to explain how this demographic challenge can be solved with controlled environment agriculture. He takes examples from existing industrial parks in North America, urban city centres of Asia, and arid deserts of the Middle East.

6. Why Winning Doesn't Always Equal Success by Valorie Kondos Field

A recently retired UCLA women's gymnastics team Valorie Kondos Field, who held the position for 29 years, blatantly states winning is fun but it does not always equal success. The woman is known for her leadership and who was voted as the coach of the century is brutally honest on her Ted Talk. And she says the secret to her success has nothing to do with winning.

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Valorie calls the 'win at all costs' culture a global crisis. She points out that people at the top of the pyramid often leave as emotionally damaged individuals. She calls out the habit of being hyper-focused on the end result and sweeping the human component under the rug.

7. The Beautiful Balance Between Courage And Fear by Cara E. Yar Khan

Cara E. Yar Khan's talk is for all those who have ever been scared to chase their dreams. She was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition that deteriorates muscle. But she dared to pursue her biggest ambitions despite warnings and instructions to limit her dreams. The inspirational figure reveals her secret to success - finding the balance between fear and courage.

She points out that her childhood dream of working for the UN in different countries came true due to her courage. Khan says courage is the result of a lot of work and tough reflection. She says: "without fear, we do foolish things. Without courage, we will never venture out to the unknown".