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TEDxTAMU 2019: "Gradient: Different Backgrounds Blending Together to Create Something Beautiful"

I received the opportunity to attend a TEDxTAMU session this year. The theme for TEDxTAMU 2019 was Gradient: Different Backgrounds Blending Together to Create Something Beautiful. This year's theme was beneficial and relevant to current events, and enlightened the Texas A&M student body. I encourage students to come with an open mind and heart to receive knowledge, accept a different perspective of thinking, and to implement one change to their lives from one of the speakers.

Jonathan Jones

The first speaker was Jonathan Jones. He talked about his unethical experience as a cashier, losing his job, and having a baby miscarriage. He motivated the audience to connect to people with their story, because people are likely to remember facts when shared in a story.

“Your story is a prescription of someone else’s pain”.

Micah Green

Micah Green spoke about the story of the Jan Hendrik Schön Scandal and how one man was able to hurt science due to his manipulation of data. He came up with the conclusion that Jan Hendrik Schön was like everyone else because he was motivated to earn the approval of others, and satisfy expectations of authority figures.

Ways to approach academic success:

  • Quit taking your own intellectual temperature: This means that we should stop checking how smart we are because our worth, identity and value does is not based on whether you are smart. The constant inward checking of intellect can be crippling and comes from insecurity. He suggested that humility cripples inward focus.

“True humility is not thinking of yourself but thinking of yourself less” - C.S Lewis
  • Don’t use scholarly achievement primarily as a means to gain the approval of other people: People approval is not ultimate or primary. According to Tim Keller: “Have an identity that will not crush you or exclude others” meaning if you base your identity on the approval of people, you will be crushed by the expectations, OR if we attain them then we will set ourselves as higher and exclude others.

  • Look for a motivation for your studies related to the excellence of the field itself: There is something in your field that involves a sense of wonder in you, that brings out the “This is beautiful, just, or true” feeling stick with them to bring out the motivation for your studies. Look for an opportunity to study and learn to motivate you.

“...the human mind shall never be lacking in nourishment” - Johannes Kepler

Susan Nguyen

Susan Nguyen gave a talk about how a night out with friends let to a terrible accident that made her dominant arm get amputated. She encouraged the audience that “Accepting pain leads to growth” and that we should allow pain to change us for the better.

“To be better or be bitter”