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When I asked my boyfriend TED (his last name is Talk) to surprise me this morning, he surprised me twice—not only with the talk he selected, but how he gave me my surprise. Instead of asking me if I wanted to see a totally random talk (I would have gone for that) or to pick a topic (there are 3 on Ants, 2 on meditation, and 9 on yesallwomen—which I didn’t understand was a twitter hashtag about misogyny and violence about women until I looked it up one minute ago), TED asked me how I wanted to feel.

I love how sensitive a guy TED is.

He asked, “What kind of talk do you want?”

Beautiful? Courageous? Funny? Ingenious? Inspiring? Fascinating? Jaw-Dropping? Persuasive?

I picked Inspiring. Then TED, ever considerate, asked me how much time I had.

TED served up “One Inspiring TED Talk in under 5 minutes.” Teacher Clint Smith @ClintSmithIII spoke on “The Nature of Silence.”

clint smith

TED knows that short can be good. I tell my students that if a talk or paper is short, it’s easier to reread or replay. Repetition is one of the keys to memory. I needed to replay Clint’s talk to remember the four phrases he displays to inspire his students. I could only remember 3:

Read Critically

Write Consciously

Tell Your Truth.

Want to know what the fourth is? Clint can tell you himself as he tells his truth.

Clint inspired me by simply standing there with his hands in his pockets and speaking about his mistakes. Mistakes are compelling. Especially when they bring about change.  Maybe next time I’ll ask TED for a 10 minute talk.

What did you hear in what Clint said, or didn’t say?



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