I am a big fan of TED talks and watch them quite often, specially when I am in the need of some inspiration! So when a post about TEDxGriffithCollege popped up on my Facebook feed, I was naturally excited about a TEDx event in my own backyard and was quick to buy a ticket as soon as they went on sale. As the organisers shared the details of the speakers, this excitement steadily grew and, although I had not heard of some of the speakers before, reading their introductions intrigued me to hear their stories.
The event was held on 31 March 2017 and the topic of the talks was “Beyond (Your) Fear”. It started with a display of photography and art by students of the Griffith College. There was some impressive photography that served as the perfect build up to the main event.
Griffith College President Diarmuid Hegarty, who was the MC for the evening, then introduced the speakers one by one as they shared their stories of conquering their own fears, problems and insecurities. It was indeed inspirational to hear their tales of struggle and consequent triumph in the face of their own demons.
Oisín Scollard, co-founder of online mental health service turn2me.org, kicked off the evening with his talk titled ‘The Online Lifeline’ . He shared the story of how the tragic event of his brother’s suicide made him realise that many people struggle silently with depression and suicidal thoughts. This inspired him to co-found an online mental health service to help thousands of people.
The next speaker was Karl O’Connor with his talk ‘All Monsters Are Human’. Karl is the Creative Director of The Nightmare Realm and gave a different perspective of fear and what it means to overcome it. The pictures of petrified individuals reacting with fear when going through the Nightmare Realm were, well, interesting!
Fitness trainer and Youtuber, Rob Lipsett’s talk ‘Doing What Scares You’ was perhaps one of the more candid ones of the evening (along with Paul Hayes). He talked about facing up to his fears, doing things that he loves and not caring what other people think. It was interesting to know that even someone like him had reservations about starting his own Facebook page and Youtube channel at first. Needless to say, we are glad he took that first step!
Paralympic swimmer and medallist Ellen Keane was next with her talk titled ‘My Lucky Fin’. She talked about overcoming the insecurities about her disability and how her outlook was changed once she learned to look at it in a different way. She is already an inspiration to many young women and her talk definitely gave a different perspective about turning one’s own limitations into strengths.
Mia Christina Döring then took the stage with her talk on rape and the importance of speaking out about it. Her talk ‘Break the Silence and Build a New World’ shared her own story of sexual assault and the taboo of speaking out about the subject. Her talk delivered a powerful message on a topic that is not spoken about due to the stigma associated with it.
After Mia, Paul Hayes delivered a different view on start-ups and failure. His talk ‘Burying the Fallen’ talked about hosting ‘Start-up Wakes’ and ‘Flounders’ (as opposed to founders!) where failed start-ups are officially buried. This was a very entertaining talk and emphasised that we often hear about the stories of start-up success but never get to hear about the failures. Indeed there are lessons to be learnt from every failure and it is as important to acknowledge them along with the successes. Paul’s singing skills were also on display in a very engaging talk.
Paul Devaney was the last speaker of the night. He is a mountaineer who has climbed 6 of the 7 mountains included in the 7 Summit Challenge. The one summit that he has not been able to climb was the subject of his talk ‘The Day Everest Shook’. He gave a very vivid account of witnessing the horrors of the 2015 Nepal earthquake while trying to climb the tallest peak in the world. It was a real reminder of the power of mother nature and the story of how the other climbers overcame their own fears to help others in distress.
In addition to the above, the evening also included live performances by singer Paul Savage (aka I Have A Tribe).
All the talks above were a great reminder of how fear, insecurities and failures can inhibit us all and prevent us from achieving our goals. It is definitely important for us all to overcome our inhibitions in order to be able to do the things we love without fear of failing, of being judged or of falling down!
I will finish the article with the image of a board that asked the participants to share what they would do if they weren’t afraid. Some interesting responses on display!
I hope that the talks will be available online soon for others to get inspired.
For more details of the event please visit TEDxGriffithCollege on: