Saturday, April 21, 2012

What I Learned from TEDxPortland 2012

1.)  People are willing to put up with a building that's difficult to use as long as it looks beautiful.

2.)  Our rivers are burning because we have as much red tape for fixing our waterways as we do for damaging them.

3.)  When a woman is well educated, her entire family - her entire homeland - benefits.

4.)  Children like to play outside, but it rains a lot in Oregon and city planners don't seem to think covered play areas/skate parks are important.

5.)  The mayor of Portland is not as entertaining as an 11-year-old skater boy.

6.)  We are all cubists and if we can see everything from every perspective at once, we'll end up with something extraordinary.

7.)  People love unexpected happiness.

8.)  The World Wide Web isn't flat.  When you take away 404 pages and allow people to fill in the cracks, what you get is Wiki-magic.

9.)  Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words and a thousand pictures can be better than a video.

10.)  I'm not the only one who struggles with being vulnerable.  Unfortunately, vulnerability seems to be the dividing quality between secure and insecure people.

11.)  We're killing good and bad microbes indiscriminately, which is making us sick.

12.)  Many places on Earth still don't teach their girls/women to read or swim.  This can be lethal for an entire gender.

13.)  A group of trombones is called a chorus.

14.)  You have to continue to respect fear or you'll break yourself.

15.)  No matter how clueless you are, you can achieve your dreams long as you have talent and Thomas Jefferson. 

16.)  It's not always necessary to think outside the box.  Sometimes, you can just change size or contents of the box to solve a problem.

17.)  It can be helpful to embrace a sucky situation as your own.

18.)  TEDxPortland knows how to put on a conference!

"Yay" Us...Not "Booo" Them

I was inspired to this topic today by seeing Elizabeth Lesser's video presentation at TEDxPortland. I've posted about sportsmanship before, though never on one of my own blogs. I'm talking about the habit of tearing down "the other" side so that your group seems to have more importance.

My seven-year-old is a huge sports fan. He's also a huge smack-talker, so I hear a lot of "Boooooo, Rockets!" and "You stink, Lions!" and even "Your team plays like poop."

 Now, I understand his's the same passion that I have for anti-racism and pro-femininism mentalities. I do not, however, understand the need to villainize those who feel differently. Making another group evil does not, by default, make your group good. If someone asks "Why is Bud Light a great beer?" it would be weak to hear the answer "Because Miller Light is crap." That's like saying that your selection is at the top of your list because all of the other choices are at the bottom. A best of the worst scenario. Wouldn't it be more impressive to be at the top because you deserve to be there?

I think a big part of this issue stems from people believing that everyone else should be just like them. (I like cheese, you should too.  I believe in God, you should too. I sort my books alphabetically, you should too.)  Well, I don't. And my life is working out just fine. There would be so much less hate in this world if you could let me be me, and you be you.

In conclusion, if you want to say "Anarchists are the Best" go ahead. But if you want to post on your wall that "Democrats are a bunch of tree-hugging communists", I'm probably going to mute you.