Yesterday was a fabulously crowded, fascinating, inspiring, yet ambivalent day for me. I started the day by attending the first half of TEDxOmaha. It was inspired by big TED, a small nonprofit that invites speakers to give the 18 minute talk of their life on “ideas worth spreading.” TED stands for technology, entertainment, and design, but speakers range from discussing poverty, the universe, happiness, morality, insight, and string theory, just to name a few. Because of the success of big TED, local TED’s are popping up everywhere, in which local speakers are invited to share their inspiring words with the community. Yesterday, the topics ranged dramatically — speakers talked about architecture, libraries, planting trees, immigration, sustainability, creativity and hope, prejudice — but the underlying theme was to consider what inspires you. It was amazing. I was inspired by the courage of the speakers to stand up for what they believed in. I was also energized by considering what inspires me and what I’m doing (or not doing) to bring that inspiration to fruition.
Cut to a different type of inspiration. The Husker vs. Texas football game. Tom and I left mid-way through TEDxOmaha because we also had Husker football tickets for the afternoon game. If you’ve never been to a college football game, I strongly encourage you to go at least once. It is an experience like no other. Where else would you see 80,000+ people dressed in the same uniform (the Huskers dress in red) and so focused on the movement of one object — a brown leather ball — moved down a green field by 22 (11 on each team) college students? As I sat there in the sea of red, thinking about both the game and TED, I was struck with a thought. What if we could get these 85,468 people inspired about something in our community beyond football? Don’t get me wrong, there are many benefits to college sports, but what if these same people got inspired about ending violence against women, supporting local business, or building a more sustainable future? It also left me personally wondering what I’m inspired by, what I know a little something about, and what probably won’t get done if I don’t do it. I’m trying to integrate my passions — photography, psychology, women, and creativity — to figure out how to make me and the world better. What inspires you and what are you doing to do about it?