Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What I learned: How the Worst Moments Make Us Who We are

Andrew Solomon has given two of the best TED talks I've yet to hear.  The man is incredibly brilliant and an equally compelling story teller.

In a talk I listed to last night, "How the Worst Moments Make Us Who We Are" - he had, as usual, some incredible tidbits of wisdom and an approach that is both creative and informative.

Here are a few of my favorite lines:
"As a gay father, I can teach them to own what is wrong in their lives, but I believe that if I succeed in sheltering them from adversity, I will have failed as a parent."

"A Buddhist scholar I know once explained to me that Westerners mistakenly think that nirvana is what arrives when all your woe is behind you and you have only bliss to look forward to. But he said that would not be nirvana, because your bliss in the presentwould always be shadowed by the joy from the past. Nirvana, he said, is what you arrive at when you have only bliss to look forward to and find in what looked like sorrows the seedlings of your joy."

"We don't seek the painful experiences that hew our identities, but we seek our identities in the wake of painful experiences. We cannot bear a pointless torment, but we can endure great pain if we believe that it's purposeful. Ease makes less of an impression on us than struggle. We could have been ourselves without our delights, but not without the misfortunes that drive our search for meaning."Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities," St. Paul wrote in Second Corinthians, "for when I am weak, then I am strong."