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TEDxSJC: Never Stop Questioning

Posted By: Liana Miller
Posted On: November 03, 2013
Category: General

Albert Einstein said, "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.  The important thing is to not stop questioning."

On Friday, November 1, I had the honor of attending TEDxSanJuanCapistrano.

Before the evening started, I was asked what I thought the most important takeaway should be for the community attending that evening.  I answered, "Never stop questioning." Yes, the answer may have been obvious given it was the theme for the evening.  But, for me, it held much more meaning as I felt that's exactly what Chris Anderson, the TED conference curator, would have wanted the audience to takeaway. 

I first met Chris Anderson in 1998.  Born in Pakistan to missionary parents, he graduated from Oxford University with a degree in philosophy.  He became a journalist and then a successful entrepreneur when he founded a publishing company rooted under the moniker "media with passion."  I quickly learned that Chris did everything with intellect and passion - and for me, it left an indelible mark on the core of my business self.  He never, ever settled for status quo. As an avid reader and a deep thinker, he questioned everything - even things that may have seemed obvious always provided fodder for conversation.

Chris has been quoted saying that TED's core values evolve around truth, curiosity and diversity.  TED is "just the pursuit of interest, wherever it lies."  It's also been said that when you leave a TED conference, your brain is "humming and you feel energized, alive and excited as the little bits have all been put together" in response to the speakers. 

For all of the success that TED and its many, many platforms have achieved, for me, its greatest achievement is the advent of the TEDx conference. The reason is really very simple:  when I think back to Chris Anderson's drive and quest for knowledge, TEDx embodies his own thirst for ideas and conversation. The brilliance of TEDx is that these ideas and conversations - and the passion that powers them - already exist everywhere and happen every single day. They just needed a forum to be heard and, as Chris himself says, a way for them to bubble up to the top.  And, that is what a TEDx conference is all about.

Friday's event inspired a dialog by simply asking, "why?" and "what if?" Attendees were energized by nine speakers who challenged us to think about things such as reigniting our imaginations, asking ourselves if we're capable of more and following nature's lead. 

So, why is asking "why" so important?  MusiShares Founder Bill Fitzpatrick - one of the evening's speakers - believes asking the tough "why" question brings more meaning to life. "By helping those around you ask the tough "why" questions - to go beyond waiting for the "right" answer from you - empowers us all. Supervisors and subordinates. Teachers and students. Parents and children. Friends. Family. Asking "why" gives us an idea, a task, a relationship and brings to our lives even more meaning."

In other words, never stop questioning.  Looking forward to November 1, 2014.