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At some point in life we have all been asking the same question, searching for the same answers, fearing the same things, or wishing the same dreams, and in those moments, we tend to feel lonely in our search or dream. Sometimes, hearing other people’s stories or experiences help us understands both the world and ourselves better, and help us find the answers.
Sandra Aamodt: Why dieting doesn’t usually work
Sandra Aamond is a neuroscientist and a writer (Welcome to Your Brain, Welcome to Your Child’s Brain) who wishes to bring better understanding of people’s mind and behavior through her work. In this talk, she explained how her life experience forced her to change the approach to dieting and health.
She was 13 when she started her first diet, and since then she had been dieting, unsuccessfully, for 30 years. Three and a half years ago she decided to stop dieting, started eating mindfully, and lost 30 pounds. After a successful weight loss, she started researching the pros and cons of dieting, and while searching for an answer, she concluded that dieting does not usually work (5 years after a diet, most people regain weight, and 40% regain even more than they lost, which may seem that dieting is contributing to obesity).
She emphasizes that our brain controls our hunger (weight) and our energy use, and since it has its “own understanding” of our normal weight, every time we lose pounds, our brain in fact thinks we are starving. She suggests mindful eating, which means eating when hungry and stopping when full. Although mindful eating might not help everyone lose weight, it will certainly make us feel healthier and more positive.
How many of us started a diet or thought about our weight? Almost every one of us, at least once. This video will change the way we think about our body and shed some light on new ways we can be healthy and satisfied with our body.
Peter Doolittle: How your “working memory” makes sense of the world
As an educational psychologist in the School of Education at Virginia Tech, Peter Doolittle researches learning and education with a focus on learning in multimedia environments and the “working memory”. He is an executive editor of The International Journal of Teaching and learning in Higher Education and the co-executive editor of The International Journal of ePortfolio.
His interesting and funny talk will help us understand, in fact, what our “working memory” is, and how to use our brain, because “life comes at us, and it comes at us very quickly, (…) and what we process we learn. If we are not processing life, we are not living it. Live life”, Doolittle concludes.
Maysoon Zayid: I got 99 problems… palsy is just one
Mayson Zayid is a Palestinian comedian, writer, actor and tap dancer with cerebral palsy. She founded the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival and Mayson’s Kids, an organization that addresses the needs of the growing population of disabled children in Palestine. In her talk, she joked about the society, culture, common misconceptions, religion, politics and more. At the end of the talk, she became “serious”, concluding that:
“People with disabilities are the largest minority in the world and we are the most under-represented in entertainment. The doctor said I wouldn’t walk, but I’m here in front of you. If we had more positive images, it might foster less hate on the internet… If I can can, you can can.”
This is a talk for those who stopped believing that things can become better or that the world and people can change if they/we try.
Diana Nyad: Never, ever give up
Diana Nyad is a well-known long-distance swimmer that brooked many world records. Her longest swim in history was 102.5 miles from the island of Bimini to Florida, however, her lifetime goal was to cross the ocean from Cuba to Florida. The swim is 110 miles and she achieved it at the age of 64.
While listening to her talk and her experience during this swim one realizes that there is no word impossible in her dictionary, and that, each and every one of use should include this word in our dictionaries as well. If you believe in yourself, you will achieve your goals.
“The point is and the point was that every day in our lives is epic”, Nyad told in a video, and as Socrates said, and Nyad quoted, “To Be is To Do.”
Abha Dawesar: Life in the “digital now”
As a novelist and an artist, Abha Dawesar dedicated her life to writing in an attempt to understand both herself and the world. She started writing when she was 7. She moved from India to the United States where she studied at Harvard. By knowing she had published several books of fiction: Babyji (2005), Family Values (2009), That Summer in Paris (2006), and Miniplanner (2000). Her latest book Sensorium (published in September 2012) explores the “time”, nature and self, using Hindu mythology and science.
We live in a technology driven world, where our lives depend on our mobile battery life, or the charger, or any gadget we have or don’t have, in fact, most of our lives today seems to depend on Internet technologies. In such a world our perception of time reshapes and transforms, “moves” differently. In this talk, Dawesar addresses the question of “digital now”:
“Technology has altered our flow of time… So many of us today have the sensation that time’s arrow is pointing everywhere and nowhere at once. Every digital landmark is an invitation to leave what you’re doing now and go somewhere else and do something else.”
“The self as we once knew it has ceased to exist. An abstract digital universe is now a part of our identity.”
Are we missing the “real world”, the “now”? Even if you do not agree with her, and many perhaps wouldn’t, you have to admit that there are always two sides of the same coin.
Boyd Varty: What I learned from Nelson Mandela
He was born and raised in South Africa, and dedicated his life promoting the unbreakable connection between nature and humans, and restoring the environment, wildlife and the human spirit. As a custodian of the Londolozi Game Reserve he was able to build socially and economically sustainable reservation. He also published a book called Cathedral of the Wild: An African Journey Home.
In his wonderful talk, Varty shared some very emotional life experiences (meeting Nelson Mandela, working with his friend Sully, who saved his life, and meeting Elvis, a female elephant). All the stories have one thing in common: Ubuntu, an old African concept that symbolizes and embodies the ideas of community, connection and caring for all living creatures – “I am, because of you. “
We often forget how everything on our planet is connected and, from time to time, someone needs to remind us of that connection.
Image credit: convisum / 123RF Stock Photo