TED Conversations

Rachel Miller


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What's your story?

Unlike a typical "question-answer" forum, I am deeply interested in learning the stories of people from around the world. There's no "right" or "wrong," just a space for sharing what makes you, you!

TED and TEDx speakers are given a literal stage for sharing their story, their passion. But what about YOUR story? And YOUR passion? Every single person - an official TED-talker or not! - deserves a platform for sharing their story.

Ever since I can remember, my parents have always said "You ask too many questions!" because I've always been a curious person (and especially a curious child - I bet my parents didn't think they would have to answer so many questions about, well, everything!). As an adult, that curiosity has turned into a fascination with learning about why we are the way we are, and how we get to where we are right now.

"What's your passion?" is actually a pretty loaded question. Because within it is history, hope, pain, experience, knowledge, and the list goes on. But by starting to ask ourselves what defines our "story" and our "passion," I truly believe that this is where our hope for a better future begins.

Maybe you're still figuring out what your passion is, or what it means for your own life. That's ok! I believe that by starting the dialogue about our story, the themes of passion unfold by looking in retrospect over our lives.

So, what's your passion? Where does your story start? And where is it now?

I'm excited to read your responses!


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    Aug 9 2013: My story would take days to write, but I found out that I cannot understand my story without understanding my fathers' story. My father was a first born child and his mother died giving birth to him. His father resented him for this and put him in an orphanage. His father then got married and his new wife took my father to raise. The stepmother was mentally ill and was eventually committed to a psychiatric hospital for the rest of her life. So this is who my father was...a man with a father that hated him from the day he was born and a mentally ill step mom. This is my story before I was here.
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      Aug 13 2013: Amy, how insightful! It is really remarkable that you understand that your story begins generations before it physically started with your own life. Understanding these pieces is so crucial in overcoming the muddle we sometimes must overcome in order to move forward with a passionate and fulfilling life. We are each intrinsically tied to those who came before us; but also, our own selves in our own rights. So remember that while your story is best understood in the context of other stories, YOUR story is still yours to write!
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        Aug 13 2013: Rachel, Thanks for understanding where I was going with this comment. Yes, my life is my own, finally. For the first thirty years of it I was tormented, abused beaten and intimidated by this man, but then it stopped - because he died. I held my anger for ten years until I realized that it was only hurting me. Then I went to his grave, sat on the ground and told him I forgave him. I told him that I realized that he was who he was because of what happened to him. Then I left and the anger stopped. Finally I was able to live my life without that pain and I did - starting with examining who I was and how I got that way. There is a TED speaker by the name of Brene Brown who put it so clearly when she said "Your parents cannot give you what they do not have." My father had no ability to love, no patience, no self worth no confidence no rationality because his parents did not give it to him. They just did not have it. This truly did help me move forward. I now realize that we all are who we are because of what we have been through - kind of like that saying "children learn what they live". While that is true, I also believe that we have the ability to change the pattern. My marriage is loving, my home is calm and peaceful and I tell my son I love him and I am so proud of him every time we talk It may be difficult, but with all my heart I believe that people can change the pattern of what they grew up with and chose their own path.
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          Aug 13 2013: I agree with you that people are shaped by their beginnings but many people respond to a challenging childhood by creating lovely and peaceful homes in their adulthood.

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