Today I have woken up feeling really frustrated. I have a funny feeling in my tummy, and it has nothing to do with the copious consumption of pumpkin pie of late. If you have read my posts about ‘signs’ (yup, still banging on about the signs) then you will know that I feel like I am on a path to somewhere, and now more so than ever.
When I started this blog, it was meant to be a light-hearted account of the weird and wonderful situations that I sometimes find myself in. Having often been asked if my life were real (I have yet to explain the story that resulted in me pouring melted butter in my ear, or the time I accidentally made a quiche- I don’t like quiche) I wanted to ‘explore my creativity’ and start writing. But of course, one of the challenges of publicly broadcasting your life is the constant consideration that ‘No One Cares’. This mentality combined with a lack of confidence for self promotion could seem like an obstacle for success. And success is now important to me because instead of only writing about how Molly and I like to go on little adventures, I want to integrate a more meaningful and worldly cause (without becoming a preacher). I just need to figure out what that cause is.
Jessica Hargreaves of Beyond Travel Company invited me to attended an independently organised TED event that she helped to organise, in Tunbridge Wells. The 13 inspirational speakers carried positive ideas with important messages and I came away feeling that a whole new opportunity had opened up. There now seems to be an accessible way to help make the world a better place and that ‘normal’ people, with ‘normal’ messages do have the ability to do big things, and help inspire others.
Although all of the talks were truly brilliant, the below were particularly relevant:
- Anna Wharton gave a talk on the power of story telling. She said that we all have the ability to conquer the world in our own unique way, and that our story could change a life, or even save a life. She gave examples of some of the amazing people she has worked with, including Adele Bellis, who was the victim of an acid attack and has used her story to become an ambassador for domestic abuse. Every voice has power, and we should express what we know and what we are passionate about.
- Elise Pacquette gave a talk about how success and failure are intrinsically linked. She spoke about the importance of teaching our children not to fear failure, and how we should all take something that has happened in our past, make it good, and pass it on. We were given some examples of successful fails, such as Mr Dyson making 5,126 prototypes of a bag-less hoover. How Jack Canfield submitted his book ‘Chicken Soup For The Soul’ to 144 publishers who all said no (the 145th said yes) and how JK Rowlings manuscript was rejected 12 times. None of these people feared failure and their eventual success was immeasurable.
- Nat Tailor spoke about the Ex Ice Maiden, and how she is part of the first all female team to cross the antarctic via the south pole, which is in the top 10 hardest marathons in the world. She expressed how important it is to find your spark, and listen to it. Her final message was that the thing you have failed at, is not doing something, but not trying it in the first place.
- Lucy McLeod spoke about sex and relationship education. The national curriculum for sex education has not been updated since 2000. We are now in a different world, a world with mobile phones, easy access to pornography, and a generally accepted standard of beauty. She expressed how important it is for good communication (at schools and at home) regarding consent, manipulation and harassment because we have all been moulded to believe there is a value in secrecy. We need to protect children whilst giving them a chance to become adults.
- Rebecca Hirst is a nutritional therapist and spoke about listening and trusting your gut, which is home to 100 million neutrons and connects to the brain via the Vegas nerve. Your gut is the home to 90% of the serotonin found in the body and it acts as the powerhouse of immunity. When you are feeling good, you can do amazing things and we need to listen to our gut instinct because it never lies.
During lunch, when talking about my blog, I was asked how I thought Molly would feel about the public account of our lives? I have stories to tell, but I don’t know if I wish to share them because I do not know if I want Molly (or the world) to know about these personal and private accounts of my life. But what if these stories are relevant and could be used to help other people? More importantly, what if these stories (and the fact that I did not fail to share them) inspire Molly and reaffirm the fact that she can always talk to me about anything? I will never be able to change the world, being somewhat Intellectually challenged (to put it politely) I will not have the power as a voice of change, but perhaps I have an ability to use my voice to inspire?
So now I have to figure out where to start. I want to adopt all of the Syrian Orphans, I want to tie myself to a tree in a rain-forest, I want to protect elephants from the Ivory trade, I want to help spread a message of parental equality, flexible working for parents, global warming, poverty, human rights, homelessness, racism, and general humanitarian goodness. My gut is telling me that this is my correct ‘path’, but I am currently standing at a philanthropic crossroad with a thousand different directions and I don’t know how to figure out which way I should start heading. I guess a good start is to learn how to not fear failure, and just hope that people do care.
If you fancy being inspired, find more information about the TEDx RTW events here.