And so, just as the passing of the wind, the much anticipated TEDxUTulsa event on the 8th of April came and went. In the moments leading up to this event I had expected to leave the Lorton Performance Hall with my mind blown away. I had no idea that there was much more than that in store for me.
Walking into the venue around noon that Friday, I was a bit anxious yet excited to have some of the dimensions of my mind widened by the talks from some of the best minds that our university, and indeed the city of Tulsa, has to offer. However, beyond the stretching of my mind, attending this event impacted my life and completely changed the way I perceive the world around me.
Firstly, never having encountered people living with mental illness, through the talks of some of our speakers I was drawn into their world. My ignorance in this regard was stripped and even though on a secondary account, I got to experience the emotions, struggles, and odysseys of those directly affected by it on a daily basis. The astounding truth that every 1 in 7 people suffers from mental illness has forever shifted my paradigm, developing in me a deep empathy that previously did not exist.
Never having being an avid visitor of museums, I got enlightened about their relevance in defining my truth. I was educated about the responsibility that museums have to present history in a way that makes us think critically about ourselves and the world around us. It has now become evident to me that one can not truly and honestly define who they are without the rich history that upholds them. In my next visit to a museum, I will carry this knowledge with me, realizing that they are not just a gallery of old artifacts, but a sanctuary within which the truths of the past are contained.
In addition to this, I was dared as an engineer to realize the impact that renewable energy technologies could have in the state and world that I live in. I was challenged to be creative in my thinking as an engineer, applying crucial concepts across multiple disciplines in order to solve key problems in the world- just like great scientists such as Carnot, Einstein and even Joseph Mayer did. I was further dared to invest in and be decisive about my own professional development, take action and make my goals come to life.
There were many other such similar sentiments in this regard that I could share about the 2016 TEDxUTulsa event and its impact in my life, resulting from the other great talks, performances and ideas that were shared on that day. But within all of them the one thing I did realize was how the essence of the theme Truth And Dare came to life in a way that I had never imagined entering the event. All the speakers and performers shared powerful ideas that resulted from their journeys whilst living out their truths. And in doing so, being brave enough to share those truths on such a powerful platform such as TED, they indeed challenged and dared me to live out mine.
So the event may be over, but the legacy that lies in its message of Truth And Dare, lives on...