TED Grégoire Courtine

TED talks are wonderful… for proving how dumb you are, how little you’ve accomplished and how much of your precious life you have already wasted. These free, on-line videos (Yes, they give them away for free. What do you give away for free?) are meant to get people to think outside their comfort zone, to look at the bigger picture and to, hopefully, get people to act. But what it really does is shame you for living the life you currently choose to live.

On the TED website it says: “TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas.” Whether it is technology, education, science, design, business, global issues or even entertainment, TED is dedicated to making “great ideas accessible and spark conversation.” That is a very noble cause. But such dedication also confirms what you already know in your heart – you are living your life all wrong.

Almost every TED talk is informative or inspiring, led by people who are fascinating, courageous and persuasive. These are people with ideas – important ideas – that they are passionate in sharing to the world, with the hopes of making it a better place. They are intelligent over-achievers who only want to make the world a better place before they leave it.

These are horrible people.

I watched a TED talk a month or so ago where a spinal cord researcher talked about how his lab succeeded in getting a paralyzed rat to walk. Great. Even the rat is winning at life more than me. To make matters worse, the spinal cord researcher was inspired by none other than Christopher Reeves and his journey to create awareness for spinal cord research. And if that weren’t enough, the guy giving the talk, Grégoire Courtine, had a killer French accent… and AMAZING hair.

Just re-reading the above paragraph makes me want to crawl under a rock in shame for the little I have done for my fellow man.

Or better yet, check out the TED talk from Maysoon Zayid, an Arab-American comedian with cerebral palsy. She is beautiful, funny, a philanthropist, and an advocate for the disabled. Zayid is dealing with stereotypes and discrimination on multiple levels and she handles it with grace and wit.

Yesterday I punched my dishwasher because it was too loud.

And it’s not so much that these people are better than me (and you) for trying to do good (yes, they are). It’s that TED talks put it out there for the entire world to see. I know that there are amazing people out there, achieving amazing things on a daily basis. I get it. I don’t need TED talks to shove it in my face. And trying to not watch all of these TED talks is like trying to not poke at that canker sore on your bottom lip. You shouldn’t, it’s painful, but you just can’t help yourself.

Even TED talk’s Twitter feed is further proof that you are living your life ass backwards. They have two and a half million followers – and follow only two hundred and nine. Let us remember something; this Twitter handle is not even a person. It is a conference. A conference – something most people are loath to go to – has more Twitter followers than Macklemore.  It has more followers than The Daily Show! Don’t even bother looking at how many followers you have – you don’t need that painful of a reminder about how little you inspire others.

But, just in case you needed more reason to feel like your life is insignificant, remember that TED is global. These talks are from people all over this big blue marble. So while you sit there eating handful after handful of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, concerned about when you’ll find the time to binge watch the sixth season of “Sons of Anarchy,” just know that somewhere on Earth someone is onstage with a head mic, talking about how a tiny community in a Third World country has learned how to communicate with only eye blinking and because of that there is no crime and everyone lives until they are one hundred and three years old.

[*To anyone who thinks I am overreacting or just plain crazy, there is a TED talk by a guy named Yann Dall’Agilo titled, “Love – You’re Doing It All Wrong.”]

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