Monday, April 27, 2015

Kelly McGonigal S/R

In her TED Talk “How to make stress your friend”, Kelly McGonigal firmly illustrated the idea that stress itself is not harmful, yet the belief of its harm is what does damage. McGonigal gives many examples of studies that have been done in America, showing that people who believed stress had a negative affect were more likely to die sooner. People who were under a lot of stress but did not believe stress was always a bad thing had better results. She describes that if people were to think of stress as a positive, helpful thing, many lives could be saved.
Kelly McGonigal’s TED Talk “How to make stress your friend” correctly emphasizes the concept that stress can be beneficial if a person looks at it with a positive view, because the fear of stress is more harmful than stress itself. Almost everyone experiences stress throughout their life, and it can have a much worse effect on some people than others. Stress causes the heart to beat faster, and certain hormones to be released, but if a person views this as a good thing, that stress will benefit them. Many people view stress like this:
Stress is stereotyped to lead to so many negative things that people become afraid of it and try to avoid it at all costs. Really, it is that fear that leads to the negative results. Turning that fear into acceptance of stress can improve a person’s health, and even lifespan. McGonigal says to view your heart pumping and body reacting as it’s way of helping you rise to this challenge. When under stress, the body also releases oxytocin, a hormone that actually strengthens the heart. Although, when someone believes that stress is bad for them, they will not feel like they are benefitted at all. A positive view can change so many things in life. The world often seems like stress is around every corner, just waiting for its next victim. If this message is spread around, people could be much happier overall. Lives could be saved from learning to believe that stress is not always bad, and it could change the world. Students often feel like their stress load looks like this:
It can become overwhelming, and students are not taught that stress is a good thing. They are taught that stress is one of the worst feelings there is. I personally know the feeling of that immense amount of stress. Being an honor student is rigorous work sometimes, and McGonigal’s point has really shifted how I view stress. Had I thought about it like this before, many stressful situations could have been avoided. The way McGonigal passionately talked about stress impacted me, and really made me curious. I payed close attention to her examples, and her small jokes kept the audience engaged. It gave me ideas as to how to interact with the audience in my own TED Talk, and how to voice my opinion strongly. I believe that McGonigal’s idea should be spread around the world, especially to educators. It could greatly impact students and help them enjoy school more. Stress is only something humans need to overcome; if that can be done, the world can transform.
Works Cited
Lucci, Dorote. "Download Information About Stress Through Poetry, Painting and Innovation?" The Huffington Post., 3 Nov. 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <>.

Ranni, James. "Causes and Consequences of Student Stress." - KNILT. Knowledge Network by and for Educators, 10 May 2009. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <>.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Clay Shirky S/R

Clay Shirky’s “How cognitive surplus will change the world” strongly expresses the idea that humans enjoy creating new things, and want to share them with people around them. He explains that there are two different values of sharing these new designs, communal and civic. Communal value is created by participants for each other to enjoy, and civic value is created by participants for society to enjoy altogether. Shirky claims that the desire to share new creations will change the world.

In his TED Talk “How cognitive surplus will change the world”, Clay Shirky correctly states that the human instinct of wanting to create and share will change society. The willingness people have to collaborate with each other over new ideas could lead to huge projects that have the ability to impact the world. Everyone has some aspect of creativity to them, even if it comes out in different ways. Shirky pointed out that the stupidest possible creative act is still a creative act. It does not matter whether some people find it more creative than others, in the end it is still creative.
People constantly create new ideas that they are eager to share with their friends and, a lot of times, the community. When anyone is proud of something they have come up with, they do not want to just keep it to themselves, they want to spread it around. In schools, the variety of projects and drawings seen from kids is incredible. Each one of them thinks a different way and produces a completely original result. Then, after school, they run to show it to their parents because they are so proud of what they have accomplished. The parents later talk about about their children to their friends and co-workers; it becomes a chain of spreading one idea throughout a community, sometimes starting with just a child. That idea can become something noticed globally, and start a project for people to collaborate on. It is not always greatly noticed though, even if the movement makes a difference.
(“Save the Children.”)
Save the Children is an organization where you can sponsor a child in need for less than $1 a day. It is also a website with guidelines on how to improve children’s education and safety. I personally know friends and family who sponsor children, because they heard about it from someone else. My family took a similar idea and “adopted” a family in need for Christmas last year, which meant buying them all presents. This impacted me in a way that made me want to do more for society, and share with others the great experience I had. This, as Shirky explained, is the desire to share ideas. The way Shirky expressed the theory made me curious, but it did not strike me very deeply. He presented in a very neat way and incorporated humor to keep the audience engaged, yet he failed to share his enthusiasm and passion with the viewers. His point that sharing creativity and ideas being a human desire that will change the world should be something that society begins to spread around. This idea could lead to so many more, changing the way we know society today.

Works Cited
Farnsworth, Brian. "How Do YOU Define CREATIVITY?" Simplivative. Simplivative and EJ Bartells, 13 Dec. 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. <>.

"Save the Children." Johnson Banks Identity & Brand Not-for-profit. Johnson Banks, 2015. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. <>.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Daniel Pink S/R

In his TED Talk “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us”, Daniel Pink discusses the idea that the most effective type of motivation is self-motivation. He points out the flaws of using money as motivation, and alternative ways to encourage people to get the job done faster. Many motivational methods lose their effect on workers and does not become enough. Daniel Pink claims that self-motivation is the best way to stay motivated and not lose interest.
Daniel Pink’s TED Talk “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us” correctly emphasizes the idea that self-motivation is the strongest way to keep people motivated in life. Pink gave an example of a study done at MIT, with three reward levels. The better one did in the tasks given to them, the more money they earned. While this worked temporarily, it begin to crumble when workers were asked to use “above rudimentary cognitive skills”. Those who were paid more did not do as well as the lowest level of pay. Pink suggests that if you simply pay people enough so that a worry about money does not cross their mind, they will work just as hard. They begin to focus on the work, and doing well leads to them feeling good about themselves. People enjoy that feeling, and it encourages them to continue to work harder and harder to reach new accomplishments. Setting goals is a natural thing for humans to do, but the real challenge is to achieve them.
When somebody sets a goal right in front of themselves, they will work as hard as they can to accomplish it in order to gain personal satisfaction and also praise from others. It is hard to avoid staring at that goal without doing anything to make progress in it. It is important for people to have confidence in themselves to follow through with the goals they set. In schools, many children set goals at the beginning of the year. These goals are not always brought back up throughout the year, but some will constantly think of them in order to go further in their education than expected. Often times, being told to do something by others will only make people want to do it less. External motivation does not create the same desire for accomplishment as self motivation does. Society is filled with many money-driven people, who do not really care about their job or how well it gets done. The world could change drastically if people did not worry so much about how much money they make. Instead, they should focus on DREAM:
DREAM is all it takes for someone to succeed in their life. They should not need to worry about how well others are doing, or what others are telling them to do better. By taking responsibility of themselves, they can lead a happy, successful life. Self-motivation is a big help when it comes to being an adolescent, as you are gaining more responsibility. I motivate myself daily to finish what I know needs to be done, even if it is not very enjoyable. I find it easier to listen to myself about what I need than to take orders from others about how I should be doing things. The way Dan Pink’s TED Talk was presented in this video was not very effective for me. Though it was his voice in the background, the person who was drawing along on the whiteboard could not keep up with Pink’s pace. They also misspelled multiple words, and it was very distracting. I had to listen closely and replay many parts of the video to fully understand the message Pink was trying to portray. I would have much rather preferred seeing his gestures and character as he interacted with the audience. The point was still made overall: self-motivation is key. When someone has a goal, they are more likely to succeed if someone else is not pushing them to do it. Taking control of your own life is the beginning to leading a very different life.

Works Cited
Erica. "Self-Motivation." TeenSpeak. TeenSpeak, 16 Mar. 2011. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <>.
Stathakis, Chris. "Self-Motivation: What Is It and How Do You Get It?" Leadership Blog. Stathakis, 17 May 2013. Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <>.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sarah Kay TED Talk S/R

In “If I should have a daughter” by Sarah Kay, she expresses the idea that the best way to go through life is open-mindedly. She tells stories from personal experience about how her life changed once she tried something new to illustrate what new opportunities can come. Life can be lead in many different ways, and the idea of staying open to new things is the way Kay promotes as the way people should live. Mistakes are made often, and closed-minded people will shame themselves for it, whereas open-minded people will find a way to create something new.
Sarah Kay’s “If I should have a daughter” TED Talk correctly portrays that everyone should go through life open, rather than closed off in order to rediscover the wonder that life can hold. Kay describes her past as a shy girl finding her voice through spoken word poetry. She took a chance at doing something new, and it brought her into an endless world of opportunities. Having an open mind is one of the best ways to create an interesting, unique life. The possibilities become endless when everything can be taken into consideration. When something comes along in life that is uncertain, taking the risk is usually better avoiding the chance you have. That is how to learn lessons in life. Take chances that seem impossible at the time, and experience what a special thing it is to be a part of something new. Making mistakes is a good thing to do; it teaches people how to thrive and succeed more the next time. Leading life with a closed mind will lead to no adventures and nothing new in the world. So many accidents and mistakes become great successes after they happen.
Fireworks were created by mistake. A chinese chef was simply experimenting in the kitchen, and suddenly they came about. Instead of belittling himself for the mistake, he became proud of it. Now, that mistake is used as a beautiful celebration of life and joy. Children should be raised having open minds, so they do not wonder “What if?” as they grow up. Saying yes to opportunities will be the best way to create their own lives. In school, many kids go through correcting their mistakes and learning the way they are used to. Being open to trying new techniques and angles could expand their knowledge so much, rather than sticking to the same old thing. The world has the possibility to be such a different place, full of people who are not afraid to say “yes”. Society could rediscover what beautiful things life can bring, but that is not possible with a world full of closed-minded people. Life is like a path through a forest.
It is impossible to tell what is at the end of this path until you finally come to it. Similarly, no one ever knows how something will end unless they go all the way. The world has so much potential, it only needs a little encouragement to try new things that come along. I try to go through life the way Kay illustrates; open-minded, open-hearted, and open-handedly. I introduce myself to new people in an effort to make new friends, I look at things from others’ perspective and I don’t judge books by their covers. Sarah Kay brought a light-hearted humor to the stage, and made the audience feel as though they know her. She told her life story with no shame to connect her points together, and it grasped the attention of people wanting to follow along. She laughed often, and her voice showed clear passion toward what she was talking about. Kay demonstrated the open view of life she promotes in the way she interacted with people and never had a dull moment. Everyone should learn to have this outlook on life, and the world would be a happier place. The first step is to make a mistake; it could explode into a firework of possibilities.

Works Cited
C31marius. "An Endless Road HD Wallpaper | Theme Bin - Customization, HD Wallpapers & Rainmeter Skins." Theme Bin RSS. ThemeBin, 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2015. <>.

Krueger, Alyson. "15 Life-Changing Inventions That Were Created By Mistake." Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 16 Nov. 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2015. <>.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sir Ken Robinson TED Talk S/R

Sir Ken Robinson’s “How Schools Kill Creativity” strongly illustrates the point that creativity is being seen as unimportant in education. The education system around the world has started to drive the creativity out of children as they grow older, and Robinson states that instead of making the future seem almost impossible, people should make it seem open to children. Intelligence has become no more than basic school subjects, yet that does not lead to help the future generations succeed in creating new things. Many children who possess creative talents that are not encouraged or taught in school often do not realize the capability they possess. Education continues to belittle the importance of creativity as children grow older.
In “How Schools Kill Creativity”, Sir Ken Robinson correctly argues that creativity should now be as important as literacy in education in order to lead to a more successful future. Children are noticeably more creative when they are young, and as they grow up education draws that creativity out of them so they are more focused on school education. Below is a young child’s drawing of a bird from memory.
An older child who had been through some years of schooling, had been used to seeing birds drawn like this in the math textbook:
They were asked to draw a bird, and the drawing resulted in this:

The creativity levels drop, because kids are so used to seeing generic birds in the textbooks they are taught from. They no longer draw a realistic bird, they draw what they assume is meant to be a bird to them instead. Robinson makes the point that people slowly become more afraid of making mistakes and being wrong, which limits the chance of new, original ideas coming to life. Kids should be encouraged to express the creativity they hold to enrich the future with so many more possibilities. Children of all ages would be more engaged in school if creativity was pushed more than it is today. High schools particularly tend to stick with the more traditional, textbook way of teaching and that does not appeal to all kids. As a high school student, Robinson’s talk related to how school is for me a lot of the time. Many classes believe learning from books and testing is the best way to teach, but Robinson’s argument would make a huge difference in the way I learn and in how education in general is viewed. Education is often a dread to students everywhere, and creativity could bring it back to life. The world has begun to realize the importance of being creative in a community.
(Arts for LA)
70% of Americans in this poll agreed that we take creativity for granted, and 62% agreed it is being stifled by education. As Sir Ken Robinson clearly displayed, creativity is vital, yet is not used in education as much as it should be. His somewhat humorous way of illustrating education putting down creativity kept the audience engaged and thinking about their own experiences in education. He effectively made connections with the audience, and brought attention to a serious subject. Education will lose its overall effect on youth if creativity continues to be diminished in schools.

Works cited

Arts for LA. "Global Concern That Creativity Is Suffering at Work and School: Arts for LA." Arts for LA. 13 July 2012. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <>.

Bartel, Marvin. "Stereotypes and Divergent Thinking." Creative Thinking Decreases as Children Get Older. Goshen College, 23 Aug. 2008. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <>.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ben Franklin S/R

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” Ben Franklin, 1759.
In 1759, Benjamin Franklin made a statement claiming that if an individual is willing to give up freedom for safety, that person does not deserve to have either.
Benjamin Franklin correctly stated that an individual who gives up freedom for safety does not deserve either, because in the time he lived, people did not think of worrying about such a thing. Previous to 9/11, Americans did not have a major concern for their safety. This made giving up liberty for safety seem pointless, and if someone would have been willing to give up their freedom, they may as well have given up their safety as well. In 1765, John Adams wrote an essay on Canon and Feudal Law, at one point saying, “Be it remembered, however, that liberty must at all hazards be supported,” (Straub). Society believed that liberty was the most important part of American culture, it was a symbol for America. John Adams strongly illustrated that liberty must be put above all else, no matter what happened. They weren’t worried about having to give up freedom because of terrorism or other safety hazards, so it had to be enforced as a very crucial part of life. However, Benjamin Franklin would not be correct in today’s society. Now, our nation is much more distressed about safety threats. We have given up our privacy to gain safety, even if it is not guaranteed. America is still viewed as having freedom, but citizens have limits to control dangers. All people have given up some freedom in order to obtain safety, yet the community still believes we deserve to have it. Last September, former governor of Connecticut Jodi Rell explained, “At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security,” (“Jodi Rell”). Our country today has a much different focus than it did in 1759. It is more common for someone to give up liberty for safety now, and it is actually supported. Many people may think that Ben Franklin is wrong for this reason, because we can see that his quote does not necessarily apply to our lives today. But it’s more complicated than that, because the ideals of 1759 are not the same as modern day. He was correct when he suggested that the individual would not deserve either. Altogether, Ben Franklin correctly argued that if someone gives up freedom for safety they do not deserve either, because in that time period, liberty was the most important thing to the nation.

Works Cited:

Straub, Steve. "John Adams, Liberty Must At All Hazards Be Supported." The Federalist Papers. N.p., 05 July 2012. Web. 04 Feb. 2015. <>.

"Jodi Rell." Xplore Inc, 2015. 4 February 2015. <>