Intense 10 days in Barcelona –
On the 20th in the evening I boarded a plane in Sevilla, heading to Barcelona. I went to speak at the TEDxBarcelonaED event, to speak about my journey and Knowmads.
Per sé, speaking at TEDx has confronted me with myself quite a bit in a number of ways.
If you know there will be a couple of hundred people listening to you live (+ who-knows-how-many online), what is the story that’s important enough to be shared in this moment?
Why me? Why am I significant or interesting enough to stand up there? What do I have to share?
And how do I share my story in a way that is relevant for each person in the audience?
Rehearsing before the event, I was stiff and insecure. The words came out mechanically, without life. I forgot my script and what I wanted to bring across.
One of the TEDx coaches, Raquel, instructed me to tell the story as if it was to a friend. It worked. I had ridden myself in the trap of standing on stage, putting pressure on me to ‘say something important’, because people on stages say important things.
No, I was actually there to share my story from human being to human being.
The day of the event I was calm, playful. The talk went fine, it was more of a chat than an ‘important’ TEDx Talk.
In retrospect it seems the talk set the tone for the following week I spent in Barcelona. Me in the spotlight, but being challenged to share, not to be important.
I stayed with my friend Nil and his family. Nil and another friend, Matteo, convinced me to start the Theory U online course. The theory says, very very summarized, that as you take action, it matters from which level of conciousness you take that action. Whether you are aware of your patterns, your beliefs. Whether you are connecting to the situation from your heart, or only observe it with your mind and then try to manipulate it.
Almost every conversation I had over the last 7 days had this general subject. Are we making any difference if we’re just trying to change things, even if we’re very convinced they need to change?
And; Do we make any difference if we work on ourselves internally?
I used to believe strongly it was all about our presence, our conciousness of ourselves and our relation to the world that would make a difference, not about making change in the world itself. I used to believe in this:
And I was very suspicious of anyone wanting to take any action outside in the world, create any change.
Eventually, when beginning the Knowmads Sevilla project, I put this idea aside. As true as it might be, it is also a good excuse to hide yourself, to ‘spend a bit more time exploring my inner worlds’. And I became quite pragmatic – does this thought help me be more effective? no? then forget it.
Now I’m challenged. I’ve tried both ways and both seem right and important to me. I think we need to take action, I need to take action. I don’t want to just sit there and be all enlightened in my privileged world while there are pretty difficult situations in the world (climate change, education, war etc.) – and on the other hand I begin to see that
all those so many of those changemakers are not really making a change. I hear a lot of frustration in activist or entrepreneurial circles – people using new words, doing the same thing. (eg. so-called sharing economy ‘airbnb’)
So yes, we change the surface. We apply cosmetics to the ugly face. But we’re not looking at the bad health that made this face ugly.
Upcoming challenge: Combine effective action with a higher level of personal questioning.
This stuff seems to work.