What Makes Us Uniquely Human? – Erwin McManus at TEDxSanDiego 2015

Erwin McManus sets out to answer that question in his engaging and contemplative talk on the power of human imagination. To be human, he says, is to have the innate power to materialize the invisible. That is, we possess a gift that allows us to create a future that does not yet exist.

Our unique abilities to imagine and create separate humans from all other species on Earth. Our imagination can haunt us, however, as we wonder if we’re living out the full potential of who we are as a human being. It can challenge us to strive for something greater – to be something greater. And most importantly, this gift to envision a brighter future can inspire us to innovate, drive us to achieve, and move us to do things we never thought possible.

Erwin urges us to awaken the creative genius within each of us. His on-stage presence is not only full of humor and candor, but he touches on points that are so crucial to our potential as humans. He asserts, “We are all works of art and artists at work.” And thus, it is not a question of “will we create?” but rather, “what will we create?”

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The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can – Tererai Trent at TEDxSanDiego 2015

The obstacles in our lives often get stacked so high that we feel trapped within them. Stifled by fear of the unknown. Unsure of our own potential for greatness. We become blinded from seeing our hopes and our dreams as anything more than distant ideas, too far to ever reach. But we have the power to change that.

Tererai Trent’s powerful talk reminds us that our dreams are always achievable, as she takes us on her journey out of poverty. A world-renowned humanitarian and educator, Tererai has devoted her life to promoting education equality worldwide. Her message is one of hope, courage, and determination.

Growing up in a poor, rural village in Sub-Saharan Africa during her country’s war for liberation, Tererai hadn’t ever considered her dreams. Like her mother and grandmother before her, she was married and a mother of three before she turned 18. Denied an education, she taught herself to read and write with her brother’s schoolbooks. At 22, Tererai wrote down her greatest ambitions on a scrap of paper—a bachelor’s degree, a master’s, and Ph.D. She buried the dreams in a tin can, pledging to unearth that can when these dreams had been fulfilled.

With an unwavering belief in the importance of education, Tererai reminds us, “To educate is to empower. To empower is to liberate. And to liberate is to enable individuals to have dignity.” The captivating story of her 20-year journey back to her tin can reminds us to never stop believing in ourselves, our dreams, and our ability to achieve the impossible.

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Living With Intent – Mallika Chopra at TEDxSanDiego 2015

For the individual who often wonders, “What am I meant to be doing in life? What is my purpose? How can I feel happier?,” Mallika Chopra’s talk offers insightful guidance. Mallika is a renowned speaker and author who encourages intent, wellness, balance, and purpose. As the daughter of Deepak Chopra, one of the most influential voices of holistic health in the world, Mallika still relates to the question that we all face – how to lead a fulfilling life.

She acknowledges the stress that our modern lifestyles can lead to as we quickly run from task to task, yet finish the day lacking a sure sense of accomplishment. As a mother, media entrepreneur, and published author, Mallika knows the familiar struggle of desiring to do something important with our lives in the midst of busy and frenzied days.

Mallika provides us with a glimpse into what it’s like growing up as the daughter of a figure who so heavily emphasizes the power of thought on our life outcomes, and shares the three questions that her father urged her to ask herself, along with practicing meditation, in order to find what health, happiness, and purpose meant for her.

These questions help us learn how to live a life of purpose and intent. Mallika explains the difference between deeper intent and task-oriented goals and shares the special conversation she had with Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now, that helped her understand what it means to live with purpose and to be present in the moment. That advice has helped her to feel peaceful, clear, and purposeful in her daily actions.

Mallika Chopra hopes that by sharing how to live with intent, she will help others live happier, healthier, more connected, and more purposeful lives. She aims for a humanity of people who believe that they are enough, and can serve the universe in their own unique way.

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