This weekend I went on a TED Talks spree. I must’ve seen about 50 videos on everything from James Cameron and his love for the deep sea diving to The Child President. I know TED is sometimes viewed as making scientists and philosophers appear as performing monkeys for the masses, but I beg to differ. Take a tour through TED Talks and I guarantee that even after a 5 or 10 minute talk you’ll feel a little happier, a little more optimistic and perhaps a little more inspired.
The Digital Upside
In a time where I can go onto the internet and view all the horrors of humanity, I can also view the other side of humanity. If the internet has made voyeurs out of us then why not see both sides of the story? I like watching the creative collages of image videos on youtube, instead of the ‘Charley bit me’ video. I take a university course on COURSERA instead of losing myself in a game of ‘candy crush’. I even answer questions on yahoo in a particular area of expertise instead of trolling as ‘anonymous’ on media websites.
I don’t mean to say that the things I don’t do are wrong or shouldn’t be done, what I mean is to take it all with a grain of salt. Go watch the money dancing, then go watch something that will make you think.
Optimism = Creativity
It’s easy to despair. I think of corporations that are taking over the world and the ever increasing managerial culture’s restructuring; which can boil down to, for example, firing 10 doctors in favor of a new head manager who then charges just as much as those 10 doctors combined, while the patients are the ones left holding the short stick. I like to check out how society is trying to change this incredibly bleak prospect into something completely and totally new, I’d even say revolutionary. Like the culture of online learning for free. Why not contribute to this and be an active participant instead of a victim of society?
At the end of the day, I think negativity is inversely proportional to creative output. Being negative leads to thinking – what’s the point – why write / paint / direct / photograph / cook, when it’s all going down the drain anyways?
Whereas, and of course it’s implied, creativity thrives in the wake of optimism. Leading us to think that if it’s not good, I can make it better. It leads us to be participants instead of only voyeurs. It leads us in the steps to greatness.
So even in the sight of despair, go and be inspired. Even when you know you might never be great, or famous, or intelligent, or beautiful, or thinner, etc, know that perhaps you might learn to be happy. Which, in the end, is what we’re all looking for.