Andrew Thorp

Founder, Speakeasy Groups

This conversation is closed.

Have you reinvented yourself, or started a movement?

Seth Godin, Sir Ken Robinson and Derek Sivers all talk about the potential we have to effect the change we want and start something that attracts attention and gets followed. I believe this too, but I'd love to hear from people who've done it. What was it you changed, and why? What struggles did you have and how did you overcome them? And what lies ahead for you?

  • Jun 7 2011: I started a movement. Twelve years ago, I started a business that helps low-income and other vulnerable populations move to self-sufficiency through an online community, online training and a computer and internet access in their homes. If they complete their program goals, they earn ownership of the computer.

    Our program helped start the movement of using technology in social service programs. In the beginning, we had many people who thought it couldn’t be done. “Poor people with hock the computers for crack!” they declared. “Social services have to be done face-to-face,” they said. “This will never work!”

    The nay-sayers were wrong… We've served more than 10,000 families in 180 programs throughout the U.S.. We've helped people on welfare, at-risk youth, people coming out of prison, kids coming out of the foster care system, Native Americans, and many more. We’ve been studied by several universities and the results have been outstanding – our program in Dallas has resulted in 84% of our participants getting off welfare AND staying off (up to seven years after program exit!)

    Opening a new market has been a struggle – particularly because most of our programs are paid for through the government. We’ve learned that getting outstanding results isn’t the only thing that matters – sometimes we’re fighting against the whims of the general public (“the government shouldn’t spend money!”), sometimes we’re fighting against people being set in their ways (“we need to see the whites of their eyes to really know they’re doing it!”), sometimes we’re fighting against program staff that just don’t really care about helping people.

    Add the drone of those voices to the difficulty of maintaining a business in these economic times, and you get a sense of the constant negativity pushing back against us from all sides. It’s relentless. Sometimes it feels like it’s just too much to keep enduring. But we fight on, for our achievers, because it's changing their lives.
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    May 25 2011: I've not started a movement, not have a reinvented myself. Actually, I think what I have to say is that you don't need to "reinvent" yourself to change the direction of your life, whether professionally or personally, and I'd encourage young people, my children, whoever, to do different things each year. Not see life as a ladder.
    Just thinking of work... I've worked in TV Research, Advertising, Management Consulting, FIlm, Six Sigma, and indeed have certainly lived that cliched idea of 20 years of experience not 1 years experience repeated 20 times.
    Outside of work... Don't get stuck in a rut, then you don't need to "reinvent" yourself. Live in different countries, travel lots, try different sports.
    So, summary: Make reinvention unnecessary!
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      Jun 12 2011: I absolutely agree. I moved to a different country last year, quit my job to go back to university and during the first two months, I had the impression of having reinvented myself. But then I realized I was still the same person, just in another environment with a different structure and a different influence on me... and it felt great, because I am quite comfortable with being myself. So I gained confidence, knowing that even in a different country, in a different situation, speaking a language which is not my mother tongue, I could still be myself. I am looking forward to moving to another country in 2012, because I love being challenged and it will be a great experience to rediscover myself once again in yet another environment. I must admit the ladder is quite present in my striving... but mainly because I know I need to reach a certain level, before I can be heard and before I can contribute to initiating the changes I have in mind... to "start a movement".
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        Jun 13 2011: You always were who you will become.
      • Jun 13 2011: @ James, yes I also didn't like the word 'reinvent'.

        I'm stil not sure if there is a word to describe myself and by the looks of it Simone too - Constantly on the move, and (for me) doing very different jobs which I mentioned a bit below. But I now find myself with lots of different 'unrelated' experiences at 32yrs that a potential employer can't make head nor tail of. They can't seem to think out side of this box they keep going on about ;) Probably because they are stuck in their own box - so I think the only way forward isdo something to link it all together or be self employed / entreprenurial, which makes sense if you take Thomas' idea. hmm - I don't particuarly like change, but I am good at dealing with it as I am adaptable. I guess that has been me all along.
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    May 16 2011: Leaving my dull 9-5 and starting a band.

    The Rolling Vibe
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        May 24 2011: Your encouragement is appreciated.

        In fact, it reminds me that there have been key figures in our band's history that provided unsolicited support and encouragement. I swear there were times when we were tenuous, at best, and the confidence we drew from these people was what saw us through to the next level of competence.

        I was always pleasantly baffled by those like-minded friends and patrons and their, to quote Pete Townsend, "warm momentum"..
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    May 16 2011: I stopped excessive shopping. I realized that it was a psychological form of obesity. I stopped at the market crash in 2008 when I realized that we are brainwashed to spend and consume and accrue debt--I understood the scale of it. Furthermore, that factory workers suffer, the earth is mined and the air gets choked just because of our knee-jerk want for some piece of crap--became a true realization. It was a huge awakening. I am looking for a new economy to participate in that is more sustainable. And now, I wonder what other illusion I might be under and not know it? I tell everyone I meet and they seem to have this suspicion too.
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      May 16 2011: Oh yes. Consumerism is an illness. I've chosen not to have credit cards in my life and I try and be as debt-free as possible. I did an experiment about twelve years ago where I got two credit cards and used them for about a year just to see what it was all about and to make sure that I was making the right decision for myself. I was. Each time that I used them during that year I felt like I was stealing or being somehow untrue to myself. Because I don't purchase, or have the ability to purchase experiences on a whim, I don't immediately get to do a lot of the things in life that I would like, but when some experience does come my way, it's very sweet.

      Edit: I should say that Consumerism is more rightly an illusion that has been put upon us, as I don't want to imply that anyone who shops for anything is ill!
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    Jun 6 2011: I am reinventing myself...I am creating a movement that will empower students of all ages. Every fiber of my being believes that I will overcome the struggles and will succeed in my dream of promoting peace through multicultural awareness. I feel success even though I am just beginning my movement...much hard work to get there, but I know I will make a positive impact on first langauge literacy through second language learning. Now...back to work I go!
    • Jun 13 2011: Audrey, the very best of luck with your goal. If I can supply you with a few Gimpy's Secret books let me know. We are having very good success with Gimpy's message teaching children how to get along, in private, public, and multi-cultural schools. Learn to love one another, everthing else is secondary.
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        Jun 14 2011: Elaine, I just LOVE what you are doing!!! I think we may definitely be able to work together to improve our dream of promoting peace! Would love to see/read/share your book!
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    May 30 2011: I joined the Peace Corps and, after spending three years in the "developing world", found that I was the one who needed to develop. There is a lot of wisdom in the world that isn't flashy and might not fit nicely into a "buy this newest thing" economic system, but I think it's the kind of wisdom that I was longing for. Community. Kindness. Patience. Having enough. Helping others. Simple ways of living that, at the end of the day, I think we all love. I'm not sure what a movement like that might look like, but it's something I look forward to being a part of.
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    May 16 2011: Like many I came from a challenged background filled with family problems. But that never stopped me from eventualy growing up to be exactly who I wanted to be, it just made the ride a little bumpier. In 1999 I reinvented myself from plant worker to highly skilled consultant. I went back and finished college and graduated top of my class and started a whole new career in consulting. Now, over 10 years later it is time to reinvent myself again for my later years coming soon. Everything from the type of work I do, where I live, my health and fitness , my relationships - all on the table for a fresh new coat of paint. Retirement may not be a huge luxury for me like others more financially fortunate so I get my happiness in every day while I have it. I am now perparing at age 50 to go back to college again, this time for a PhD. I always look at Cher as a good role model, one who can regenerate and successfully reinvent herself decade after decade and still be herself. It just takes a good attitude, effort, and time. What else can one do better that?
  • Jun 12 2011: I am part of a new movement that is gaining momentum everyday. It is the TOL Movement. Based on 30 years of scientific research, resulting in the recently published work "The Technology of Love," by Charles E. Hansen

    I am the author of the first secondary work extracted from the white papers. My book is, "Gimpy's Secret . . .it's what's missing." Looks like a children's book but it's not just kid stuff.

    We now know what love is, how it works and what has to be in place to cause it to occur. Very exciting. Has nothing to do with religion or politics although it should have everything to do with them.

    The movement is being directed from

    Thanks for the opportunity to share :)
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      Jun 12 2011: I love what your doing and hear you 100%. Love is the only way! Thank you for sharing!
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    May 30 2011: I have a wise girlfriend and after a long conversation realised that I am not in control of all the outcomes.At the same time I feel excited and came up with this poem:

    Intelligent adaption
    And potential hold sway
    Infinite possibility
    And a mindful new day

    A pre-packaged narrative
    Built upon history
    Starts to give way
    To a book rich in mystery
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      May 30 2011: Christopher,

      Lovely and inspiring!

      I wonder, given your theme of adaption, possibility and "giving way" if "an evolving narrative" fits your focus a bit more than pre-packaged. My experience is there is something quite solid about my narrative, but also that it is iterative. So as I build upon my history and open a book rich in mystery, my narrative evolves, too.

      In any case, your poem is a wonderful expression of realization that we aren't in control of all. Which is really quite exciting, as we write and live each chapter.

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        May 30 2011: Hi Andrea, I see exactly what you mean. I enjoy reading your contributions and welcome constant interpretation and re interpretation. It's only very recently that I have tried my hand at poetry , but I find that that same 'musical' moment that might drive me to write is similar to the 'open state' that invites possibility.I am going to heed your words because I enjoy a book that evolves with a 'twist' and without a need for flashbacks. And thankyou for kind words..
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      May 31 2011: Nice words, finely captured.
  • May 27 2011: I have reinvented myself since the onset of graduation. Realization of self-goals have been a major reason of such a change in outlook. I thank the people around who had me motivated in some or the other way. I have started thinking less in the product sense and more in the impact sense. Dreams are meant to be big, else whats the use of it? I truly believe in such a concept. Presently I want to build an initiative of a direct social media forum for people from Pakistan and India to provide an unadulterated public opinion about each other. My idea is to introduce the common man from both countries in the true sense.
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      May 29 2011: Your thoughts inspire me to share one thought I constantly consider: Some ten years ago I re-invented myself by the topic of culture; today I am always thinking of starting a new activity in social media - for social welfare, quite a different area. But I am positive that my knowledge and learnings from culture would be an avantgarde step for social welfare - I can see this everywhere: this crossover synergies. Reading your CV I am fascinated about the crossovers of competences you have - and now you want to cross and bring togehter India and Pakistan. This is the best way to go! I hope you succeed.
      • May 31 2011: Thank you Bernd. I hope I am able to take this idea forward and implement it in a much wider scale. I expect to get the support from all change agents and the TED community!
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    May 27 2011: I've completely reinvented my self over the last two years. I'm 36 and up to two years ago I was a socially awkward, science oriented ICT specialist who believed in absolute truth, absolute fact and who was I dare say emotionally congested and distant. I neither let anyone in on an emotional level nor was I able to access my own emotions very well.

    My reinvention was triggered by a scientific article about the discovery of quantum entanglement and non-locality.
    These ideas where completely contradictory to my believe in absolute truth but they were science and as such, not to be ignored by me. It created a paradox that grew to culminate in a crisis of faith (I was and still am an atheist, but apparently you don't have to have a religious believe to have a crisis of faith).
    It triggered an internal war between my believe in science and my believe in absolute truth.
    My believe in science won. This forced me to open up to ideas about quantum and string theory, multi dimensional space, and a so called reality existing of no more than probabilities and biasses and all the possibilities that it brings.
    This was a massive change in the way I looked at the world. Over the next two years I changed from that emotionally congested and awkward guy to a very open hearted, much friendlier and much more complete person.
    So much so, I've even started writing poetry. Before I would have laughed at the suggestion I could contemplate writing poetry let alone actually doing it and delivering works that people can appreciate.

    I've changed careers too.
    I used to be a very technical and ICT architect. I switched to project management and team leadership and within 2 years have grown at an unbelievable pace to program and corporate change management.
    Where I used to stay away from any interpersonal challenges, I now joyfully seek them out.
    When I look back, I barely recognize my old self any more.
    I feel I'm finally who I was supposed to be to begin with.
  • May 27 2011: I just graduated from high school, and I felt I had to reinvent myself over the past year because I realized how much of my life was on some kind of an autopilot: my tastes and actions were defined almost entirely by the social mood. So if doing homework was distasteful to most people, it was to me too. Now, though, while I still don't love homework unconditionally, when I do like it, I have reasons, and those need to fit with who I see myself as and who I want to be. While I don't mean to say that I have some sort of concrete plan for that, I do want to actively shape myself, rather than be a bystander to the process, then wake up later and have regrets.

    To me, it really seems like the change has to come from within (no matter how clichéd the expression) because knowing something works in theory, and actually realizing it, are two different things- which is why I don't usually feel advice helps. In the end, I think you have to come to the conclusion yourself, and someone else's idea won't cut it for you, because it doesn't fit perfectly.
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    May 25 2011: I don't think I am reinventing myself, I am currently discovering more and more about myself.
    I can't seem to find out what I want to do in the future(i am now finishing high school), because i am interested in so many things.
    Unfortunately,the educational system in Portugal is terribly organized,because you are limited, so to speak, at the age of 15 to what you are able to do with your life,you must choose a very limited set of subjects to study throughout the next three years, and that limits your possibility of enrolling in areas you discover while you are in high school...
    As for a movement,I can't say I call it that,but I try very hard to get the people who surround me(people who are more or less my age) t be interested in things,and expand their horizons,but unfortunately,i have been constantly been meeting a dead end,all teenagers think about nowadays is booze,smoke and sex. Pitiful world I must say
    • Jun 5 2011: Sebastian,
      Hang in there. It does get better as you get older. Even though your high school doesn't allow you to experience all the things you would like to, is there a way you could find someone to mentor you in the area that you have interest in? Or are their workshops or conferences that you could attend at your library, city building etc? Just a thought.
      Also, I hate to see your last line about how all teens think about is booze, smoking and sex. I find that hard to believe. I honestly feel that they care about the world and those around them, but it is way "cooler" to act as though you don't care and only think about those things listed. In addition, it may be the age you are at- but most people don't like to be told what to be interested in or that they need to expand their horizons. So maybe it is your timing or tactic in trying to get them to realize it. But keep trying- they will soon find themselves thinking of others beyond themselves. It just seems you have matured and evolved to that point faster than they have.
    • Jun 6 2011: ok - I've started writing here without actually knowing what I am going to say, - but I know there's bear with me.

      Firstly - keep your ambition! do not get sucked in to way the other students are. You have time to succeed Sebastian so don't wory about it too much.

      @Brooke re: his last line - I think he is generalising and doesn't mean ALL teenagers, however, I do to some extent agree with him - about there being a problem. Teenagers have everything at their finger tips these days, and it comes to them without much effort. Their parents and grandparents are relatively wealthy (baby boomers) who enjoyed a huge surge in the property market and relative value of their assets. Some of these were able to easily afford a deposit to help out their kids - thereby propagating and strengthening the market further. My point being they have grown up with relative easy and become lazy (at least not really seen the need to work hard) - remember I know this is certainly not about every one. The other side to this is those that haven't been helped, see such a big problem ahead that it's almost too big a problem to conceive, and so far away in their future that it doesn't warrent much thought. Therefore live 'for the now'.

      I've travelled the world extensively, and am saddened by those I have met who really want to learn but don't have the opportunity to, yet here so much is downright wasted. I used to be a workaholic at school - then fell behind as I started to go out more with the other kids. In the end I guess I can only blame myself for not being stronger - however I have learnt from it, while also don't regret it as maybe I picked up social skills also etc.

      I will post above about me reinventing myself, as I'm running out of characters.
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    May 22 2011: I am in the process of doing it as we speak. I am 56 this year and have lead a varied and full life. It has taken me until now to really become comfortable with who I am. I am in the process of working out what to do with all of this experience I now have. The challenge is that with a family and a young daughter (4) to look after how do I do this while chasing my dreams and being a good father? It's a fantastic time in my life at the moment.
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      May 23 2011: Lee,

      A thought, regarding your challenge of chasing your dreams and being present enough to chase your daughter around as she grow:

      As I've worked through transitions in my life over the years, I've tried to regularly re-orient myself by considering how I can "triangulate" my purpose, passion and predicament.

      Purpose is what I good I can do.
      Passion is what I am intrinsically and emotionally driven to do -- my dreams.
      Predicament is about where I am situationally or environmentally, in terms of family, expertise, cultural concerns, etc.

      This allows me to prioritize and focus on embracing aspects of my unfolding identity without losing sight of the in situ realities in ways that make them constructive, rather than obstructive of my bigger picture ideals. I try to engage each as iterative and encompassing and try to keep in mind extraneous or impulsive distractions.

      There are times these are unclear. And others when I wish I could do it all and more. But for the most part sticking to my orienting themes pays off in discernible ways, not least is giving me a fuller perspective of who I am.

      • May 25 2011: thanks for sharing your insights on the "3Ps" .
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        May 30 2011: Wise and concise - a great way to frame our lives, Andrea.
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    May 22 2011: I had joined my high schools swim team because of nothing more than the whim suggestion from a friend, and good ol' curiosity. Not only did I join the team, but I stuck with it. That season had to have been the intimidating and demanding thing. one thing I truly learned about myself is that I do not have a natural talent for competitive swimming. what seemed easy for everyone else, even freshmen, took twice as much effort from me (I was a Jr. at the time). Part of making a change though is persistence through opposition.

    As for my surroundings, well I don't think I have initiated much change yet, but as time goes on I want to more and more. To be more specific I want to do something to revolutionize education as I'm sure many of you do as well.

    But here's the situation I'm in:

    I am current an undergrad at the University of Hartford. I going for a B.S. in Physics. The problem is I like to question things. I want to know not only how things are done, but why things are done. I like to slowly and meticulously explore through topics and have as complete of an understanding as possible.

    What I have learned in college though is that in order to succeed you need to cheat. You need to cheat yourself, your school, your professors, and your peers. The biggest thing now is In it of itself is a great tool but students have come to abuse it. For those of you who don't know cramster is a site that has all the answers and solutions to almost any textbook. A site created to check your work and learn from your mistakes. Students though blindly copy the solutions and hand in the assignment for credit. So what happens is I understand how to do the work and why to do the work but am left with a lower grade than students who just blindly memorize steps.

    I want to correct this. I want to be rewarded for the Idealism I hold rather than be punished.

    I'm willing to commit myself completely given good guidance.
    When I commit myself to something I stick to it.
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      May 31 2011: Yes, there is a problem of cheating. But if you want to do research, you will do it. Keep working. Cheating exists in publications, research, etc.
    • May 31 2011: i'm also an physics undergrad and I face the same situation in my country's education system. I guess this is one of the main problems of education as the students or prof value the grading system so much while doing many things blindly just to get the grades. Such an education system is defeating the real purpose of education - to develop oneself, rather than producing workers for the society.

      Someone has to push for a change in the education system someday.
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    May 20 2011: We had a terrific meeting in Manchester (UK) this morning. It's a concept called MojoLife and 4 of us co-founded it to help people find their purpose and passion. There are so many people bumping along the bottom (as Sir Ken would say), unfulfilled with their lives, looking for work, feeling flat or kind of at a cross-roads. They've lost their spark, but we believe that when people 'find their thing' they come alive. All the co-founders went through some kind of life-changing experience but have now found their purpose, and we're attracting new opportunities all the time (eg to present the concept to our Prime Minister in July!).

    We invite people with great stories (especially of reinvention or new starts) to join our meetings and share their journey, and this morning we heard from an extraordinary lady, Shari Royle, who lost half of her face in a horrendous car accident. She now runs a funky promotions company in South Manchester, but also campaigns for people who've suffered facial disfigurement.

    I guess our message is you CAN move your life in a direction of your choosing, but it takes courage and support and not a little inspiration to find your path.
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    Jun 14 2011: We are living in a society which has evolved itself way beyond what we have adapted ourselves. Some individuals have always been gaining new insight into finding calmness in such chaos. Most of us naturally follow them, as they have ideologically invented themselves to a better state of being.
  • Jun 7 2011: I have resolved myself to seek the truth as can be proven, query about that which has not, speak the truth as I know it, be a logical, rational, and global thinker. I try to make life simpler, look at solving the cause of problem, and try to be proactive. I try to follow one rule or ask myself one question when faced with a decision. Do the right thing, and what is the right thing to do? If I can't make the situation better, at least try not to make it worse.
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    Jun 7 2011: I am (as many have said) "in the process" of doing it right now... The thing is that I haven't done anything REALLY good or great yet and it's hard to draw a line from where and when you've reinvented yourself... and to what?

    Well, one of the things I have done is become more influential, I try to guide people to what their looking for even if they don't know what it is... I share stuff and I tell people about dreams and visions more then i used to... I'm more open in general and have greater respect for people... And it's mainly thanks to TED!
  • Jun 6 2011: continuing from below. I will say I am a very capable person and find learning new skills and jobs pretty easy. Like you Sebastian I am interested in pretty much everything! This might be my downfall or be part of my victory, however I am enjoying the journey, and am currently aiming to get a peer group around me, so they may offer advise and thoughts, so I may learn more. I would like to go back into academia, however I first want to own a couple of houses for security first, I could be wrong in my thinking, but it's the route I am currently on (for now;)).

    Here's my life briefly in order (I'm 32):-

    Marine Biology Degree
    Movie Stunt Training - I still would really enjoy doing this!
    Factory Work - saving to go travelling - was easier to save than by doing a graduate training job.
    Travelled for 1 yr - became a scuba diving instructor
    Back home - Factory work again - aquired some debt travelling - the overtime available paid it off quickly.
    Security Industry
    Built and ran my own high end retail business in Laos
    Security Consultant - where I am now (temporary - as I am trying to get into property development)

    How's that for reinventing? I know this might not be as big a jump as someone trying to change career after 20 years in one field - but it can be done.

    As far as movements go - it's a small thing, and was relatively easy to do, but I started a Facebook group to help a pensioner from being forced out of his home where he had lived for 74 years! We got 11,000 people joining and put pressure on the council - he was allowed to stay in the end. I still smile when I think of him tending to his vegetables. Sorry - I hope people don't mind my little essays.
  • Jun 6 2011: One of the most beautiful examples of how someone reinvented herself was given to me recently by my 17 year old daughter: she took her weaknesses and turned them into a triumph!
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    Jun 5 2011: I reinvented myself as soon as I attended my first TED Conference in 2008! I then took Seth Godin's advice and started two tribes: TEDxPeachtree and the Atlanta Music Project (based on "El Sistema" - see Jose Antonio Abreu). TED gave me the courage and inspiration to turn my ideas into reality, and I am happy to say that both organizations have become successful, sustainable, nonprofit organizations in the Atlanta community! Thank you TED!
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    Jun 3 2011: Yes, an eudaimonia movement aka happiness +
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    May 31 2011: Yep, I gave a presentation on the self-empowerment theory behind my re-invention first, being a logical kind of guy:-)

    I can give you a few examples of how it's worked, to provide proof, if required.

    Hope that makes sense, but please drop me a line if you want to hear more!


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    May 31 2011: My wife and I are just begining to develop our "Play Games Not War!" and "Join a Team Not a Gang!" movement through a children's board game I developed but shelved years ago called Hand2Hand. The easy to learn game is based on an acient Japanese children's street game called "Jan Ken Pon" or "Rock Paper Scissors". RPS has been used to settle disputes for hundreds of years and is still very popular in all parts of the world today. So why can't we next time they give a war---get there first and start playing fun friendly games like H2H instead of murdering each other?

    WE are raising money to get started right now through projects like..... ....Thank You
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    May 31 2011: Hi Andrew,

    I've recently made some major changes in my life, and although I'm in the very early stages, I wanted to share my idea because I've been inspired by this page (any constructive criticism is welcome).

    After 4 years of school to acquire a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Health and 2 years of unsatisfying employment as an Environmental Health Officer - more recently known as a Health Inspector - I'm currently in the process of putting together a business plan for a food distribution network that focuses on locally sourced foods, beginning with vegetable propagation and preserves, and expanding from there. Because I have an extensive understanding of the regulations, I'll be able to "cut through the red tape" for my clients.

    Demand for local food is burgeoning and will continue to gain popularity, and my business plan creates the shortest possible "farm to fork" connection and will help to accelerate the availability of locally sourced foods.

    My business will act as an interface for interested individuals and will include educational materials on the requirements of operating this type of business, assistance with food labeling (sending food samples for laboratory analysis to acquire nutritional information), and a supply contract where inventories and wholesale pricing schemes are determined. My business will have a low one-time fee for wholesale listing and to cover the aforementioned costs associated with bringing the food or food product to market, and this cost will be relative to the lowest application fee according to major suppliers in the area.

    While the business grows, I will have exclusivity contracts with select restaurants, and eventually grocery stores, until inventories grow sufficiently that I'm able to consistently service a larger number of clients. This is beneficial because these businesses will almost certainly be advertising in-house and this provides a basis for brand recognition and help generate interest at no expenditure.
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    May 30 2011: I woke up one day and care to know what's happening in my planet earth and after doing basic research and knowing that our world is in crisis, I had the desire to reinvent myself and my world. What if there are many more people like me realizing the dire state of our world and therefore willing to help. Where do we channel our desire to effectively move our world into an equitable, sustainable and happy global home? Then I started to simplify the problem. Our fundamental problem is the shortage of energized hearts in our globe. We only have enough energized hearts to make our world comfortable to many people but for how long? How about the rest of our global family? How about the future? Truly energized, happy and content hearts can only be powered by our human interactions - our family, relatives, friends and co-workers. We energize each other by affirming our core identity as someone of great worth (as conscious human beings), great intellectual capacity and intrinsic good will. We continue to energize others by helping each other aspire to their full potential - we appreciate each others' accomplishments and improvements of our external identities - our looks, education and moral integrity. Our hearts are made to be happy and as long as we feed our hearts with false form of happiness, we will not last. But we don't have to. We have our family, relatives and friends. We have our hearts. We can start giving our love, we can start energizing hearts.
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    May 30 2011: While I am in the process of reinventing myself, it is just cake batter at this stage so there is nothing to show yet.

    However I am impressed with the very beginning of two potential movements here on TED.
    I hope it is consistent with the purpose of your question, Andrew because it is not often we get a glimpse of what could be a movement in its naisance.
    They can only become movements for better understanding if others find them to be worth participating in so I ask you to explore the topic of movements by checking in on the very genesis of two her on TED!

    The first is trying to get a sense of what TEDsters consider common ground and a wonderful contributor added a survey feature. Please go to the question, click on the link and help us learn what is really common ground- and then if you feel good about it tell 3 others (exponential growth is what he's after- Pay it forward!)

    The second is addressing the fact that there are so many areas of the world that people don't know enough about. It would really inform the TED community to share your experiences of an under represented or less than understood country through your own experiences (good and bad) your pictures of your travels, wikipedia links or anything else you could add. It can be found at the link below. Please pass the experience on to others too!
  • May 30 2011: i think we have capacity to change what we do, but this can become very difficult when we are asked to change who we are in order to change what we do. In my own life basic change can be effected by will power eg changing software or changing from running to cycling but when i tried to change my diet or cutting out alcohol it seemed like it was linked to who i was. This change felt more like transformation (worm to butterfly) or deep change and was difficult and the control was very limited and involved lots of struggle. so i have manged deep change in my life and subsequently developed a change product but change is most often painful and the deeper it is the less control you seem to have.

    The rewards of the changes i have made have resulted in a more fulfilling life and a sense of being alive, but has this made my life easier? i am not so not sure
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    Tero -

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    May 30 2011: I'm in the process right now. I've come to realise that I need to rediscover myself and transform into someone more in-tune with the earth and my own self. I want to embetter and improve my abilities and clear my mind. This is all a process of self-actualization, which I believe takes a life-time to truly achieve.. but it is easier to get there and truly be a good person, who makes an impact, if you can correct your path. Better diet, better thinking, better actions.

    It is difficult, but in my mind, definitely worth it!
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    May 30 2011: I feel like I'm re-inventing myself everyday, every week, every month. As a musician, I seek out new ideas for songs, new ways of interpreting them. As an entrepreneur, I'm always looking for a better way to manage my team, for fundraising, for product development and as a TEDx organizer my team looks to me to lead them in new and exciting directions. Of course, being a catalyst for change comes with the obvious pitfalls : lack of funds, lack of commitment from others, intellectual fatigue and the BIGGEST problem ? Lack of TIME.
  • May 30 2011: A quote I appreciate along these lines is: "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds. It is something one creates." -- Thomas Szasz, psychiatrist
    I would not say that I have ever reinvented myself as such, but I strive to constantly create a better me. I have known people who change personas and I find it somewhat disturbing, as it makes me wonder who is the real person.
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    May 30 2011: Laziness was one of my big struggles, it lowerd my self esteem and kept my energy lower then i would have liked, i overcame it with surfing and snowboarding, they gave me an outlit in which to express myself, as well as honestly gave me a reason for living for myself, so that i could then focus on others, i find facebook is a great way to get information out there, and many times i have linked inspiring TED videos on the news feed which is a start. and by having the intention to serve others or this planet you get karma points or whatever you want to call it that makes you feel alive and fresh. serving others is a great way to reinvent yourself, as well as simple and shallow it may sound have something you possitively identify yourself with, such as surfing or being a great idea man (or Woman) for TED and working at that!
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    May 29 2011: Some terrific contributions here folks. I especially like James Walker's take on reinvention - that it's not really necessary if you expose yourself to a multiplicity of experiences. Once you get curious about the world around you, it becomes a very rich place indeed. But I do believe people can discover their purpose and passion through this process of curiosity. It seems to me those who speak at TED combine a thirst for learning (in many areas) with their particular focus or niche.
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    May 22 2011: More and more the different approach our youth is taking on social aspect is starting point for ventures or movements. It seems to me that they not only are more involved on issues on the social level like environment, disease, politics and human right, but also the actually are taking steps to create a better world.
    In this they tend more than we have ever seen to collaborate on a different perspective, and more on a Global level, both on the content as on the tools they use for it. Not only do they have more information than ever in history, they process it in a completely different way and use it in giving meaning to their life. They want to have a cause and give their life meaning.

    Sure, Social Networks haven’t been here for more then 10 years, but it gives some extra perspectives and possibilities to these “kids” that come in very handy since they are very much aware of the globalization of our society. Diseases often don’t stop at “virtual” borders, and over the last months we have seen that violence, and democratization in one country easily ignited the same in neighbored counties.
    Priyanka Jain started iCAREweCare, a non-profit community to support the global conversation amongst students worldwide by setting up a on-line community that not only supports the connecting between students that feel a like on a subject, but also connects (local) groups, organization and NGO’s to them. Also one can see what their friends care about and what they are doing with it.

    These kind of developments makes me wonder what the implication for healthcare will be ones theses “kids” are coming into position to take their position as future leaders in for instance healthcare. They KNOW that collaboration is more powerful that the most common way of working apart, they SHARE information in a way that it is easily to be found, the DEMAND to be informed about the options and choices they have or the WILL attend to somebody else that DOES.

    I can't wait 'til future arrives ;-)
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    May 22 2011: Hi guys well i changed when i was eductated about a Resource Based Economy by Jacque Fresco. For almost 10years i worked as a draughtsman with various companies wondering what im doing and why im doing it. So i left the 9-5 to study design and rapid prototyping, which is now my business activities.

    Im looking for like minded people to start a non-profit/social enterprise using 3D Printing technology to help in the renewable energy sector and to provide jobs within my community.

    Say NO to Planned Obsolescence. xD
  • May 22 2011: 48 I left my carnation of me, 6 time Olympic Games Ceremonies Director (50 stadium events in 25 years) published autobiography two years ago The Back Side of Wonderful Recieves Emmy Award in 2002 for Choreography, and last year at this time did not go to my normal day job, I just followed ART hp,e and it kept me!

    I Picked up a box of 120 count crayons and a torch and began to create 20+ hours a day 7 days and nights a week. I reinvented myself and invented a new medium, unless you think any of my work , pls see if this reminds you of your childhood then WOW I want to see you growing up?

    Today i have 28 cents left in any form or money, yet I am so proud of this belief in Wonder at age 48, on paper I have nothing and owe the world a lot, ON GLASS MY CANVAS I create entire Universes of Joy and Wonder, I created because I had to, with every fiber of myself it was not letting judgement or fear ground me. Colors were enisted and flung... not you or others can STOP my PRIDE FROM LIving the HONOR IT CREATED, YQU MEET YOUR HUMBLE CREATOR EVERYDAY
    ....JACKPOT WOW WOW WOW you see the path. understand its ALL of us and say HELLO to the greatest man you'll ever meet again YOU!!!!!!!!!!

    WOW I just love this person I met who can create the new world before its time for recess and at 48 walks away with the greatest 28 cents he will ever make!!! CHA CHING!!! FREEDOM!
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    May 22 2011: Great group of movement-eers. I simply followed the money I was donating to a group the "helped" the homeless and then accidentally crated an education model that changed them into self-sufficient, responsible community members. Did I mention it changed my life too?
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    May 22 2011: Yes I did it a couple of times. First when studying in Unversity I found it is better to be a Humanist than a moderate Religious Person so I evolved that way. The impact was a shock in my family as I gave up all rituals (my parents were not fundamentalists in their thoughts or practice though).

    Secondly again I evolved from Humanist to Naturalist as to my understanding being humanist means I may be cause of harmful impact to other species which is part of our environment. The change in me was not that visible so the impact is until recently when I protested the act of caretakers of my apartment complex who decided to kill all the bees of whole bee hive (these bees suddenly built the hive recently) using insecticide , they looked at me in a way that I am "Starnge". One of them told well all the apartment dwellers told us to do so you are the only person against it. I told I am just against killing using insecticide you can just drive them away by some other means like using fume..... they answered "Sir decision was to use insecticide".................
  • May 21 2011: i have initiated a school for the gifted , for all kids within a regular school. with a group of teachers , the achool's CEO and a group of perants , we have managed to build a special learning program , that on a regular basis was designed only for gifted children, and we managed to place a special day , that ALL school children will be able to have those courses. we did not delete any of the regular classes , but added 1 hous of studying to every day.
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    May 21 2011: In 2003 I quit as director of a political lobby association and started my own topic on my own risk: the national conference for creative industries in germany.
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    May 20 2011: Well I am not sure whether this is reinvention. But after college I decided to not take up a job and work on my own, so that I can do more useful, relevant and interest things. Right now, I get the opportunity to teach kids science and English. Its fun and a great learning experience for me
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    May 19 2011: Andrew,

    Movements, by definition, are led by many people, not just one. However, I have sought to catalyze change. Media has dubbed a couple of my culture change ideas movements. One of these, an initiative I started with local citizens and leaders from many different sectors and perspectives, called DynamicShift has informed a larger national movement called We The People.

    I started DynamicShift in 2009 when I noticed how polarized political rhetoric was undermining the success of my community. Our efforts focused on using “positive agitation” methods to engage nonpartisan productive dialogues. We engaged many leaders and pundits representing both conservative and progressive beliefs (and many middles).

    Traces of discussions we’ve had with them can be perceived in efforts they’ve engaged since we first began communicating our then rather outlandish ideas.

    Including an unprecedented dialogue led by a conservative think tank leader I’ve met with regarding the themes, and between Republicans and Democrats. Among the latter were colleagues of liberal leader Hubert H. Humphrey who was instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement and was Vice President during Lyndon Johnson’s administration. One was Vice President Walter Mondale.

    DynamicShift efforts are most connected with We The People, started by my colleagues at the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg College In Minnesota, USA, The American Democracy Project and bipartisan citizens, groups and leaders. Including everything from conservative faith leaders to White House staff and many colleges that are part of The American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

    They, collectively, can accurately be construed movement leaders. My ideas for change are among many more ideas, efforts and energies they are synthesizing.

    (We The People inspired a TED question I posed today which asks what people believe the phrase is meant to imply:

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    May 18 2011: Thanks for your contributions so far. Like Jessica I found the Sivers talk wonderfully inspiring - makes you want to get off your backside now and make a difference. I love the way Seth Godin talks about social media really being an opportunity to LEAD - "we own the means of production now!" unlike Marx's classic factory owners. And I was blown away by Simon Sinek's message of the Golden Circle (TEDx talk). Start with your WHY, not your what or how when you describe what you're about. People who are on a cause attract attention from people who find something resonant in their message. The key, he says, is to find people who believe what you believe. Empowering stuff - love hearing your stories.
  • May 17 2011: I am currently trying to see if humanity is ready for bigger evolutionary changes and hence ready to pursue much riskier experiments in space than they did till now.I believe we need to take bigger steps in order to move ahead in our research involving outer planets and our potential to maybe inhabit them one day. And on that note I think one of such big steps would be to see what developmental changes would a new born incur if given birth in space. And I would be willing to do it. Obstacles I see many such as technological advancements, people's opinion which might not be ready to embrace this idea and laws and regulations which might prohibit me to pursue this due to human rights regulations. But crazy as it may sound I am certainly up for it to do this:)
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    May 16 2011: I became a medical cannabis patient in Montana - educated myself - and started a magazine. I now have a rather large following - and am getting involved politically.
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    May 16 2011: The change I would identify with is when I became a carer - my mother in law lives with us now - and this has changed my life and brought new challenges. What I can say though is that this role does not attract wide attention (actually most carers are somewhat invisible). The role however requires the carer as an individual to take on the role of being of an individual who is inventive, determined, sympathetic, eloquent and have an amazing ability to both initiate and adapt to change. Taking on this role has made me aware of qualities and capacities I didn't realise I had in such abundance. I find myself challenged by a system that I am myself challenging. Onwards and upwards!
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    May 16 2011: If the revolution's outcome is positive and bring some change then everyone supports. I haven't tried yet but i want to do something for the world.
  • May 16 2011: I am trying to change the art world! I have just set up a gallery which is a social enterprsie as well as being a fine art gallery. I am also trying to make bespoke art accessible for all whilst giving something back in the form of charitable donations. Any comments on this idea are appreciated
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    May 16 2011: I am yet to do this myself, start a movement that is, but I was very inspired by Derek Sivers talk. One day I hope to be the begining of something bigger than myself - I think the key no matter what is that you have to be committed to it before you have the security of knowing others will follow you.