Two excellent Ted Talks

I recently realised that Ted Talks are available as podcasts on the iphone Podcast app. They range from under ten minutes to under an hour long so you can easily binge a few episodes. After listening to handle of talks over the past few days, these two stood out.

The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly 

Summary:

“Anger is a powerful emotion — it warns us of threat, insult, dignity and harm. But across the world, girls and women are taught that their anger is better left unvoiced. Why is that, and what might we lose in this silence? In a provocative, thoughtful talk, Chemaly explores the dangerous lie that anger isn’t feminine, showing women’s rage is justified, healthy and a potential catalyst for change.”

This witty, honest talk is fantastic. Chemaly opens with an anecdote about her mother; she came home from school to find her mother standing on the veranda with a stack of plates that her mother then threw like frisbees through the air and they shattered into thousands of pieces. Then her mother turned round and cheerfully said, “How was your day?”

Chemaly focuses on the fact that the idea of women as a comforter, or as feminine conflicts with the idea of anger often meaning violence, fear and isolation. Yet, it is a human emotion, and one that really drives action. When women are angry, according to Chemaly, they show how seriously they take themselves, and show other people they should take them seriously too.

“If men knew every time women cried from white hot rage they’d be staggered.”

I am often filled with “white hot rage” as she calls it, especially when I do cry. I don’t cry because I’m sad a lot of the time, I cry because I’m angry with the world, with injustice, with a situation I find myself in, with cancer, with inequality. I’m comforted to know that the conflict I feel about my anger is normal. It’s healthy. I related so strongly to Chemaly’s speech, and I’m so grateful I found it.

Also I appreciated all of her on the nose comments.

In anger, women think, “are you kidding me?” and her mouth says, “I’m sorry, what?”

Her point is, inequality is real. Women feel rage, as men do, and it’s a powerful motivation to force change within our life or society.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself about Everything you do by Stacey Abrams

Summary:

How you respond after setbacks is what defines your character. Stacey Abrams was the first black woman in the history of the United States to be nominated by a major party for governor – she lost that hotly contested race, but as she says: the only choice is to move forward. In an electrifying talk, she shares the lessons she learned from her campaign for governor of Georgia, some advice on ow to change the world – and a few hints at her next steps. “Be aggressive about your ambition.” Abrams says.

Stacey also opened with a powerful anecdote that gave me goosebumps. Stacey was chosen to be valedictorian in her year at high school, and all the valedictorians are invited to meet the governor of Georgia. Stacey’s family couldn’t afford a car, so took the bus to the governor’s house, walked to the gate and the guard looked at them and said: “You don’t belong here, this is a private event.” He doesn’t check the list, ask for their name or invitation, because the bus tells him a story – that they’re poor. Thankfully Stacey’s parents stepped in and after grilling him extensively he checked the list and let them in. Twenty years later Stacey ran for governor in Georgia to be the woman who removed the guard and opened up the gates. She lost the race, it didn’t go to plan, and she has to face the dreaded question, what now?

“I can’t tell you you will always overcome those obstacles, but you will be damned if you do not try.” 

Stacey’s mantra for getting what you want makes a lot of sense. You ask yourself three questions: 

“What do I want? Why do I want it? How do I get it?”

Stacey’s speech is incredibly powerful, eloquent and impassioned. It is inspiring to listen to a driven intelligent woman standing up and “aggressively” driving change in her community. Despite her defeat, Stacey’s determination to get exactly what she wants in a methodical way (without revenge – sad times) spurs her forward. If you want to achieve a goal, no matter what it is, you should listen to Stacey’s speech and address her three questions. I was so motivated, and so inspired by this remarkable woman.

“Do not allow setbacks to set you back.”

Now I don’t want to be governor and I can’t vote in the USA, but I can tell you two things: Stacey will be governor one day, and she will change the state of Georgia in remarkable ways. 

“We know what we want and we’re going to get it even if we’re tired, that’s why God created naps.”

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