By Mark E. Smith
At this writing, my daughter is at rehersal with seven other speakers as they prepare for the next TED event in exactly one week. TED events gather the world’s best speakers throughout the year, filmed in front of a live audience, then they put the talks on TED.com where each talk reaches a global audience – typically in the millions of views. At 19, my daughter is among the youngest speakers TED has ever had. No, she’s not a PhD or a leading professional in any field. So, how is it she’s been chosen to not just speak at TED, but be the opening speaker, setting the tone for the event?
The answer is, she knows the subject. The theme of the event is don’t give up the ship – and she knows that well. In fact, it’s that very philosophy toward facing adversity that has gotten her not only to remarkable paths in life, but also to the literal stage of TED.
See, while it’s historically a maritime battle cry, what don’t give up the ship is really about for all of us, just as with my daughter, is how adversity is a solidifying force in our lives, teaching us to weather storms with strength and grace. So many who have never faced adversity understandably assume it a destabilizing force – and it initially is when we first face it. However, once we face adversity, we recognize it as an equalizing force. From that point on, it’s our ballast that adds remarkable stability to all aspects of our lives. Life occurrences that might throw others into a tailspin suddenly seem manageable, if not minuscule, because our understanding of adversity intrinsically gives us clarity and perspective to handle the really tough stuff.
In these ways, experiencing adversity adds ballast to our lives that allows us to weather storms with amazing strength. And, when it comes to not giving up the ship, having previous experience in adversity is our best skill set at the helm. Let adversity not be our deterrent, but our guide, and never give up the ship!