TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability

[ted id=1042]

We watched the above Brene Brown TED talk a few years ago in TALONS to inspire the class’ writing  of their This I Believe essays (I heartily recommend you checking out the fruits of that unit’s labour here on the English wiki site). But I thought that Brene’s lesson here – that the vulnerability each of us feels about sharing elements of our true potential is a universal and necessary barrier to surmount – is especially applicable to both of the TALONS cohorts as we look ahead at the spring’s challenges.

With In-Depth Studies underway, an Adventure Trip on the horizon, and the rush of AprilMayJune quickly approaching, I think each member of the class community would benefit from reflecting on Brene’s thesis, here. Springtime in the TALONS classroom is a time centered around actualization, and to hear Ms. Brown tell it, engaging our own vulnerability may hold the key to not only individual success, but our collective triumph.

What do you think? Can we grow by continually trying to expand our ‘comfort zone’? Or is there another purpose to remaining vulnerable that Brene Brown (or I) might have overlooked?

AprilMayJune – Andrew

As we creep closer to the end of the school year, inevitably more assignments will pop up with increasing regularity.  And, due to these assignments, students will become more stressed and harried, and the months will slip by quicker and quicker, until suddenly, finals are upon you.  It seems like just yesterday we were starting a new semester, yet in less than two months, that semester will be over.  I always think I have more time than I do, I always procrastinate a little longer than I should, yet always, I manage to pull it out of the fire at the last moment.  And each time I do, I promise myself that I’ll be on track next time.  Next time, I won’t be distracted.  Yet even as I type this, my hand strays to my mouse, and against my will, clicks on that small link.  Yeah, you know which one I’m talk about.  Blue square, white “f” in the middle.  Uh huh.  Facebook.  It’s a love-hate relationship, something that teenagers love, but know it’s bad for them.  Something to distract you from your real business.  I swear Facebook has unworldly powers.  I’ll click on it when I get home from school, and when I finally log off, it’ll be dinner time.  But sometimes, some special people resist that power.  They’ll focus on their homework when they get home from school.  They’ll think about their upcoming exams, and start making notes.  Yeah, that’s not me.  Much as I wish that I could possess the antidote to this drug, I don’t.  So I go on Facebook anyways, and do my homework late at night.

School is like a funnel.  In September, when you’re getting poured in, you mix around with all your friends and classmates, catching up on what happened.  You start sliding down the slope, although for now, it’s too subtle to notice.  It’s a missed assignment here, not studying for a test there.  But it doesn’t matter too much, you don’t mind school for now.  The dark months, January and February is when it really starts to worsen.  You’re sick and tired of school, and even though you just had winter break, you’re already looking forward to Spring Break.  It’s on those days when you start to get squeezed through the narrow part of the funnel.  There’s fewer friends around, everyone’s busy, and in the darkness of that funnel, you wonder if the sun will ever shine again.  Those months are the slowest of all.  They creep and crawl, when all the while you’re wishing for spring.  Yet when spring comes, and with it crunch time, you find yourself thinking fondly of those winter months.  But as April turns into May, you start to feel it.  You’ve almost completed another journey through the funnel, and you can see the end in sight.  Time is strange then.  At some points, it’s the slowest of all, when you desperately want time to go faster.  But when June comes along, you need time to slow down to study for exams, but Time, that vengeful creature, chooses to take its revenge and speed up.  And even while you stress out, July comes along.  July.  Perhaps the most loved month by teenagers.  It brings a mellowness to life.  You find that maybe you didn’t do quite as bad on that provincial as you thought.  And maybe you didn’t need to worry about that final quite so much.  You’ve finally been spit out of the funnel, you’re done, you have two months to go.  Yet before you know it, August ends, September begins, and you get dumped into the funnel all over again.

I can always feel the end of the year.  It’s like the monsters in the dark, just out of sight.  It’s the weird feeling when you KNOW that someone’s right behind you.  But even though you know it’s there, you don’t know when it will strike.  It’s almost like the mountain of homework in front of you is blocking your vision.  But the only way to get through that is to do it.  To do the homework, and make the notes, and study for the test.  But it’s a sad fact that as much as we know that the mountain is there, fewer and fewer of us are willing to do anything to try and shift it.  I think my teachers said it best.  As Mr. Jackson put it, “We don’t call it April, May, June anymore.  They blend together and pass so quickly, it becomes AprilMayJune.”  I’m pretty sure we all know what he was talking about.