TED Conversations

Colleen Steen


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What motivates people to move through their own pain and become teachers and role models for others?

We see many examples on TED of people who have faced incredible adversity and challenges in their lives. What are the beliefs and characteristics that cause their continued effort to educate, support and encourage others? If we could identify, teach and encourage these qualities from childhood, it seems like it would be an important, powerful force in our world.


Closing Statement from Colleen Steen

For my "closing statement", the question is asked..."what did you conclude...was the question effectively answered...let people know the final answer". WOW!

I honestly don't think any question is 'effectively answered" until every single person in our world has responded to the question. There is always more information and insight to explore...in my humble opinion. We did, however, have some great comments, which may lead all of us to more questions and explorations in ourselves, and for that I am grateful:>)
I thought my last statement was my "closing statement". Nice to have another go at it...thanks TED:>)

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    Mar 16 2011: I really think it's because they go through adversity that they end up being so inspiring and fulfilled as human beings.

    This is really bad, but my dad used to say that pain purifies us. I do believe it is true, in a certain sense. Once we get to the bottom and have ''all odds against us'' (sorta speak), then we can truly make a difference, because it becomes not about us anymore. It's the most selfless but also selfish role one can take (as in you basically use your life to teach and help others). I cannot imagine anything more fulfilling.

    And as to what differentiates them from someone that cracks under the negativity of past bad experiences? Probably their will, and capacity to not dwell on self-pity.
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      Mar 17 2011: Hi Codruta, and welcome! I agree with you that sometimes hitting bottom causes us to look upward. As Kristine says, when we start reaching out to others, sometimes, it puts our own challenges in perspective. In reaching out to others, we also realize more about our connections to each other, and as you say, it's not just about oursleves any more. Good comment...thanks:>)

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