Four lessons to take away from TEDxAUCollege 2018”  

– Isabel Retterath

Can you believe it has already been more than three weeks since the TEDx event?! Time flies by so fast. The evening was a memorable experience filled with inspirational stories and important life lessons. Whether you were at the actual event or couldn’t make it after all, we’ve made a round-up of a number of four things to take away from TEDxAUCollege 2018.

  1. 1. Dreams can be realised through hard work and goal-setting

The first TEDxAUCollege event started out as a dream of a few AUC students to organise their very own TEDx event. Fast-forward five years later, and we’re in the aftermath of the fifth TEDxAUCollege event. This could only have been realised by dedication and hard work! This lesson was also underscored by Mark van der Heijden’s talk. Commonly known as “The Backpacker Intern”, Van der Heijden quit his job to travel the world and work for companies in exchange for room and board. He inspired us to not settle for a boring day-to-day life, but rather to keep exploring ways to realise our dreams, as scary and uncertain as this may seem. 


    1. Changing your approach can turn negative events into something positive

TEDxAUCollege showed us that in many cases, negative things can be turned into positivity, if we change our outlook. Take for example climate change. Although some world leaders refuse to recognise it, climate change has very harmful effects on our planet and society. Speaker Saskia van den Muijsenberg pointed the audience to observing nature when looking for solutions to day-to-day problems, such as climate change. Looking to the way nature uses CO2 as a building block instead of creating it as a waste product is one of the examples in which nature provides solutions to current problems. Our very own TEDx writer Steiner Laenen wrote an interesting piece on the topic if you’d like to know more about it! Another speaker who encouraged us to change our negative approach to, in this case, death. Martha Montero-Sieburth, a half-Mexican anthropologist and professor at AUC, heartfully explained to the audience why death should not be mourned, but celebrated. What caught me the most during this talk was the following quote: “What better than to be able to die, knowing that you’ve given something of yourself to others.” In the Western world, funerals are often sombre and sorrowful occasions, whereas the Mexicans see death as an opportunity to celebrate friendship, love, and family.

    1. Together we can work towards a positive future for Europe

If you take a look at the news, there are dozens of stories about the near downfall of Europe. However, the TEDxAUCollege event inspired us to look past the negativity and collectively strive towards a shining future for Europe. Speaker Mick ter Reehorst urged the audience to approach Europe as a collective group of individuals, and to engage in story telling in order to foster a feeling of unity. He emphasised that Europe is so much more than merely a political and a financial union, and that we should combine he cultural and the economic dimension if we want to make more cooperation within Europe possible. During her talk, Ella MacLaughlin showed us a way to resolve conflicts and create mutual understanding amongst each other. She proposed a way for dealing with radical ideas that oppose our own. Instead of reacting with hostility, we should start showing empathy towards others. Elaborating on this topic, MacLaughlin explained that trying to understand where radical ideas are coming from, and continuing to look for the person behind these ideas, can help us to engage with different beliefs. This way of resolving conflicts instead of creating them can help us to build a more positive future for Europe.

    1. Technology allows humans to do great things, but it comes at a price

Speaker Michiel van Elk spoke to the audience about his research on neuro enchantment and the important role spiritual experiences played in his recovery from depression. His research showed that people have a higher chance of having supernatural experiences if they think an electronic device is helping them to. Although this demonstrates the power of imagination, it also highlights the large influence electronic devices have on individuals. Speaker Sander Veenhof made the audience aware of the risks of the increasing number of tasks we have ascribed to devices instead of doing them ourselves. For instance, we use smart watches and smart phones to track our wellbeing, our agenda, and even to find new partners online. The talks by Van Elk on the one hand and Veenhof on the other illustrated the current-day problem we are often faced with: technology has allowed humans to develop more than we could have ever held possible, but with the increasing privacy risks, it comes at a price.

We hope these lessons will prove valuable to you. Maybe if, for instance, you feel like you’re stuck in a dreadful daily routine, or encountering someone who has radically different ideas from yours, thinking back to the TEDxAUCollege event will provide you with new insights.

P.S. Are you left wanting more content to reminisce and cherish the TEDxAUCollege event? Keep an eye on the blog for more interesting stories and articles!