TED Conversations

Cleo Abram

Student , Columbia University - Columbia College


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We can learn by exchanging and discussing our own lists of "10 Things I Know to be True."

After listening to Sarah Kay's beautiful speech and poetry, I tried to write my own list of "10 Things I know to be True." I learned one thing immediately: I don't know much. I learned a second thing more slowly: that's okay! I tried to distill my limited understanding of the world into this list, without being overly philosophical nor literal.

One thing I know to be true, but that is not on my list, was that Sarah Kay was right when she said that if you share your list with a group of people you will find that someone has one thing very similar, someone else has something totally contrary, another person has something you've never heard of, and still another has something that makes you think further about something you thought you knew.

So let's share ours, and find out! What do your lists have on them?

Here's mine:
1. Fiction can, at times, feel more real than fact.
2. One person, with a good idea, can change our world.
3. There are things about our universe that we will never understand.
4. #3 is not an excuse to stop trying.
5. Everyone has a story worth hearing.
6. There is always another side to the story they tell.
7. Questions can sometimes teach more than their answers.
8. Children can sometimes teach more than their parents.
9. Everyone should travel.
10. No one's truth is universal.


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  • Nov 14 2011: One of my favorite TEDTalks. Sarah Kay is amazing.

    1. A kind or helpful word/action that is done without superiority or ulterior motives will never go unappreciated.
    2. Confidence is at its best when people have become the best versions of themselves, or are working tirelessly at getting there.
    3. Ideas only come to those who first listen to the ideas of others.
    4. All goals that are worth achieving are not goals that can be acquired by the faint of heart.
    5. Fun and relaxation are just as important as working and studying.
    6. The world is bigger than me.
    7. There are times when it is great to be connected - relationships are extremely important. However, everyone needs to be alone sometimes.
    8. Excitement and passion should never be hidden.
    9. It is not a bad thing to feel as though you're "out of place," but you should never stop looking for your place.
    10. Education holds the key to inspired minds who are willing to stand up and fight for what they believe in.
    • Nov 15 2011: Kari
      I do like your number 6. We do forget that.
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      Nov 15 2011: HI Kari- if your #1 should ever go unappreciated - it won't matter anyway because it was done with the right motives and that feels darned good.
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      Nov 18 2011: What a marvelous list! I wish to share some reactions, without taking away from even one of your items:

      2. Everyone is on a path and at their current best and therefore can be appreciated, except the few who don't know empathy.
      3. Don't forget listening to those who have died. For example, I think every man who wants a spouse should read Anton Chekhov's "Rothschild's Fiddle," and imagine re-writing the story from Marfa's viewpoint. That story changed my life.
      8. A corollary is: don’t react to silence, rejection, or feeling ostracized.
      9. If being a big fish in a small pond makes you uncomfortable, consider becoming a minnow in the oceans. That’s how I chose to be a human being and member of the community of living species with no desire to reduce my associations again in my lifetime.
      10. Because of the internet, there has never been a better time to educate yourself.

      I hope my comments help convince you how great your list is.


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