Before tonight, I had been unfamiliar with TED talks, but I’ve greatly enjoyed exploring several of them.  The one that really stood out to me was Richard St. John’s talk on the 8 “Secrets to Success.”  It was a rather touching story that he opened with, saying he was on a  plane enroute to TED and a high school girl was sitting next to him, from a poor family, and she asked him what the secret is to success.  He said he honestly did not know what to say, so he decided when he got to TED to survey all of his fellow TEDsters who are clearly very successful, innovative people.

The list of 8 things he came up with I found to be very fascinating.  As the description of the video states, none of them involve being smart or lucky — common assumptions of what success is based on.  Instead, many of them emphasized a love for what you do and a strong commitment.  The 8 words he used were: Passion, Work, Good, Focus, Push, Serve, Ideas, and Persist.  Richard St. John’s humor mixed in with his insightful talk made the talk that much more enjoyable.  When talking about the need to push yourself, through shyness, through self-doubt, and through anything else holding you back, he said that when you are unable to do this, that is why you have your Mother.

I found this list of necessary actions for success to be really energizing because it shows that anyone can be truly successful if you find something that you love and if you dedicate yourself to it completely.  St. John started this talk by saying this is normally a 2 hour speech he gives to high school students shortened to a 3 minute summary, and I really enjoyed hearing that because I feel the important points were more strongly emphasized.  As I’ve learned in my Corporate Finance course caught by Professor McGoun, often times when ideas stick with you, it’s because they are presented in a very concise, simple manner, not in a long, drawn-out, seemingly sophisticated (aka boring) presentation.

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4 responses »

  1. Mike says:

    This is a similar point to my Ted talk about education. The important things you need to learn are the things you are passionate about. All the rest will follow. This is a great survey that all children should be aware of.

  2. Lindsay S. says:

    Yes I completely agree. I think all school-aged children, especially those from lesser socioeconomic backgrounds, should really hear this simple, yet powerful advice. I thought it was so touching the story of how Richard St. John came up with this list of 8 secrets to success: the high school girl from a poor background asking him on a plane how one achieves success. He didn’t know what to say at first, and I can understand the hesitation at such a seemingly difficult question initially too. After consulting with other TEDsters though, i think his answer is so well thought-out and should really make everyone, everywhere feel good that they have the power to succeed if they put their minds to it.

  3. Jim says:

    This sounds like a cool topic. The words he comes up with definitely sound like great things, but I admit that I would have expected to see at least “smart” and probably “lucky” in the mix too. Another part of what might underlie this topic is that the people who end up speaking at TED define success around the things which they are passionate about, and thus success is easier when it has inherent good towards which you naturally gravitate.

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