I entered the hall and I just felt that familiar spirit. The spirit of movers and shakers. Guess what! I was attending TEDxYerevan event…along with around 300 people, craving for food, not the one you eat for lunch, but the one for thought, the one that makes you better… a better human being.
1st Lesson of Inspiration: Nothing compares with the joy of feeling connected!
We started off with spreading the spirit of Ubuntu throughout TUMO Center for Creative Technologies. In case you don’t know, Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning ‘humanity to others’. It also means ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’.
I came to learn this concept and just fell in love with it! As we keep on staring at our mobile phones during social events as a way to escape "awkwardness" of meeting new people and stay in our comfort zone, we have forgotten those tiny beautiful elements of human connection, such as looking into each other’s eyes and being present (without occasionally checking our Facebook Newsfeed).
Throughout the event I had that craving desire to bring my Ubuntu into life, turning off the phone, putting aside all kinds of urgent business stuff, and just connect with people. By that I mean something as simple as being the one to say hi and give a beautiful heart-made conversation go!
Larisa Hovhannisian: CEO at Teach for Armenia
2nd Lesson of Inspiration: The key to a Life of Meaning is defining your own narrative! Larisa Hovhannisian’s talk was the one I was most looking forward to, as her commitment to such a big cause, as Teach for Armenia truly resonates with my deepest values! For an individual who has so positively touched the lives of so many children in Armenia, Larisa seemed truly humble on the stage, a quality that definitely defines a leader.
The question that is a must-takeaway from her speech is “Are you living your own or someone else’s story?” In the world, where success and happiness are often defined by our bank account, our professional status or the brand of the car we own, it is absolutely critical that we make a conscious decision to define our own values and have COURAGE to live up to our most cherished dreams.
Indo-Japanese couple Sunil Kumar V Kaushik and Yuka Yokozawa
3rd Lesson of Inspiration: There are Golden-Hearted People everywhere in the world. Meet them! An Indo-Japanese couple Sunil Kumar V Kaushik and Yuka Yokozawa, who have been traveling for almost an entire year on a folding bicycle with a budget of less than $5 per day, are the most awesome tourists you could ever meet in your life.
Their talk was super-engaging and the audience couldn’t help but laugh, as we were listening to the crazy adventures of these tourists. I would not even call them “tourists”, as they are the embodiment of love, kindness and humanity.
This couple made quite a brave choice to embark on a journey throughout the world to experience so many different nationalities, cultures and religions. Yes, they ARE truly brave as they made a decision to believe in humanity vs hostility, in love vs hatred and focus on what truly unites human beings, not what separates us.
As a result, they keep on meeting hundreds of golden-hearted people on their journey, wherever they go. Why? Pretty simple. These two travelers themselves have golden hearts. As the famous quote, attributed to Steven Covey says, “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are."
Taron Lizagub: Founder & CEO Knoxlabs
4th Lesson of Inspiration: “Keep calm and white-hole!” Taron Lizagub started his speech by inspiring us to be more mindful in everyday life and notice wonders all around us. Everything we see for the first time, we experience it as a wonder, but soon after we tend to take it for granted, because as humans we are prone to hedonic adaptation. So let's keep the curious child in us awake!
And soon Nietzsche’s spirit was throughout the hall, as Taron was describing 3 phases of transformation (those of a Camel, a Lion and a Child) that bring an individual to the state of Uberman (Nietzsche’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra" is definitely among the must-read-in-my-lifetime-books).
Quite an interesting point that Taron made was comparing the phase of being a Camel to the theory of black holes. A black hole is a spot where gravity’s pull is huge, ending up being dangerous for anything that accidentally strays by. Similarly, at the stage of being a Camel, we buy into whatever is sold into us by society instead of making our own conscious choices.
We have a choice not to stop at Camel phase or at black hole, we have a choice to evolve into a Lion and finally to be reborn into a Child and find ourselves at white-hole. As the white hole (we still don’t know for sure whether white holes are just theoretical concepts) gives out energy, similarly at a phase of a Child we are free to create and give our best to the world. So keep on white-holing!
Laura Bailey: World Bank’s Country Manager for Armenia
5th Lesson of Inspiration: Let’s reconsider our “Single Stories”
I really loved the speech Laura Bailey who is the World Bank’s Country Manager for Armenia and, fascinatingly enough, also an avid story-teller (a trait not much common among professionals with Economic background :)).
Her speech reminded all of us about the power of education for bringing our positive impact into the world. “As you have received the gift of education, you also have the responsibility to exercise your right as a citizen”, she said and I couldn’t agree more.
As Laura was talking about her work experience in post-conflict areas, such as Timor Leste, she invited us to reconsider the “Single Story” each of us may have about an event, a particular phenomenon in life. I believe this point is so vital to grasp, especially for countries & regions who have been struck by long-term conflicts, such as South-Caucasus.
The lesson is that as we keep on retelling “one and the same story” of the past over and over and over again throughout generations, we prevent ourselves from building a peaceful and sustainable future that upcoming generations have the right to live in. The beautiful quote by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, applies here just so well, “When we reject a single story, we regain paradise”.
This was just a very quick look at my extensive notes during TEDxYerevan event. I still need to dig deep into all these ideas… inspiring, mind-blowing, thought-provoking…
There are events in life, after which you are never the same person, as you were before. TEDx Yerevan 2016 WAS such an event!
Be The Masterpiece,
Feel free to express your views about ideas you read in the article. I am much looking forward to learn from you!