BLOG: TEDxRotterdam 2019 was a blast!

From beginning to end, TEDxRotterdam 2019 ¨Raising the Bar¨ was a blast. First we received a short message ¨010 isn´t just a code, it’s a state of mind¨ after which everyone felt very proud of their city, then the first speaker took to the stage to a loud round of applause.

Henk Ovink: Water is powerful and a bit scary. Water is also scarce, we can only utilise 0,4% of all the water on earth, which means that water becomes a matter of war. Especially because of climate change, which acts like a big magnifying glass making everything more extreme. But water can bring people together, it is an amazing connector. We just have to work together pre-disaster. Making water available for everyone everywhere. Ownership is at all levels. Water as leverage can be an inspiration for us all.

Adilson Neves: “Today I came to talk about the imprisonment of the elderly”. Can you imagine no longer being able to decide when to get out of bed, when to get food etc. Adilson´s job is to find out whom people are, what they like and where they would like to go. “I do hope one day my job won´t be here. Ask yourself, when did you last time ask someone for their story. If there is one thing you should take home with you today, ask yourself when did you last time give someone your undivided attention, it can mean a lot for that person but it can also mean a lot to you”.

Sebastian Mennes: “More, more, more… we encourage each other to do more get more, and the bar will never be high enough… my name is Sebastian Mennes, and I paid twice for this lifestyle with both a burn out and a depression. I started as an entrepreneur, managed my companies but did not manage to manage myself, and it took years to find a balance”. After burn out he had finally started to delegate, but then in one week he lost a mega client and his business model did not work. He hit rock bottom again with depression. “Taboos cause us not to talk about it, but my points to you are; 1. Ditch the rat race 2. Pause to reflect 3. Count your blessings (Focus on things you are grateful for) 4. Hack yourself (Keep away from social media) 5. Cut the crap (Don’t take yourself and the world around you too seriously)”.

Ismael Aghzanay; As an 8 year old he was placed in special class and as 23 year old he started studying to become a teacher. ¨Give kids compliments, and they will feel much safer and have much more confidence. Believe in kids because they are the future, show sincere interest, tell them how great they are and what they can achieve in life. Speak from your heart¨.

Melanie Roche: I got cancer. Said no to surgery but yes to check ups. Went through the sickness and treatment, but then went into remission. What Melanie learned from this is relevant for people everywhere. Our genes are affected by external factors, our gene expression. This means we can work with our genes because we can work with our emotions, we can work on reducing the external factors. The three main negative factors impacting social genomics are: 1. Loneliness, 2. Stress, 3. Lack of meaning.

Laura & Ilfa: Take a second and look at your clothes, feel the fabric. Now take a moment and notice the clothes of the person sitting next to you. Take a moment to imagine, what if clothes could improve our health or even cure cancer. Our skin is our largest organ but it absorbs the chemicals used to treat our clothes on a daily basis. 20% of all fresh water pollution is done by textile dyes. There are natural dies which are much better for environment, but much more expensive to produce. Together Laura and Ilfa started using bacteria to colour clothes, using something that does not affect either environment or people. They experimented with sound waves, petri dishes on speakers, and what they found was that the bacteria’s coloured the fabric in an even way. Now they could be used to dye fabrics. ¨Living colour brings beauty to the world.¨

Wesley Dos Santos: “Who knows someone who is expecting a baby right now? Who knows or have a child under the age of 12?” Did you know that 65% of children under 12 years will not have a job like we know today. The reason, technology. Tinkhustcularity can solve this. It´s made up of three components. Tink = tinkering .Just doing something like playing, see things arise from just having fun with something. Our mindset was what brought us from tinkering to actual outcome. Hust = hustling. I asked my girlfriend how old she was when she started hustling, she replied she was 5, she charged marbles from the kids in the neighborhood for trying out her new bike! A hustler is someone trying to make a living out of his/her tinkering. Cularity = circularity, growing by giving back. ¨If you really want to raise the bar, you have to start tinkering in a hustling way while keeping it circular¨.

YMP: I feel like the song ¨I know I can, be where I want to be¨. I started by fucking up but then it all changed. The day I told my mom I am becoming a father I also told her ¨I think I’m an artist¨, and then she hit me! Not because I was an artist but because there was hesitation in my voice. Being an artist is all or nothing. Be an artist for others, build a community. I realised that spoken word can be boring if you have to listen to it for 20 minutes, so I turned to theater. Now I work with those people will think of as outcasts, but I don’t see them that way. I’m really grateful that I can be the leader of these kids. If we can be ourselves, you all can be yourselves. So to start a revolution what do we have to do? Be ourselves. This revolution will be televised because we have social media. Lets start a revolution!

Kristian Raynor & Elma van Boxel: When we came here we saw that the city was made for cars, whereas this was not so in older times. We were able to get people on the streets again. Why not start with existing qualities, existing buildings? Within no time we had beautiful buildings using original structures. Now we are counting more than 70 projects, which with this type of acupuncture approach is changing the city’s buildings one by one.

Jean Marie Molina: Tough love, that´s how to teach for failure. I have the best job in the world. I get to work with the working mind. The failure experience. My students are my children. They come to me after they have experienced the worst thing, they couldn’t graduate. When they are unable to fulfill their goal, they experience an existential crisis. We are raising the trophy generation who believe failure should be avoided at all costs! If you show up and dress up you will not fail, but we should stop that. That teaches the young ones to think they are things they aren’t. Thinking you are a millionaire does not make you a millionaire. What it teaches the young people is that failure should always be avoided. They think they don’t need to do the work. How should we approach education for success seekers? By teaching four things: 1. Competence through effort, 2. Positive consequences, 3. Language & Effort (start saying ¨I´m a hard worker”), 4. Empowerment via self motivation. Lets raise success seekers and not failure avoiders.

The day ended in the whole theater giving a standing ovation and all the speakers getting flowers. The day has been fantastic, full of laughter, a few happy tears and not to mention a lot of raising the bar teachings. And that’s a rap folks. Hope to see you all for next years TEDxRotterdam 2020!

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