Learning, Personal Development, Productivity, Technology, The Projects

What I learnt From Watching 30 TED Talks in 30 Days.

Early in the maternity leave days, I found it hard to have the time to read.  This was frustrating for me as a lifelong learner, because I had a deep need to continue learning, growing and exploring topics.  Though I was undergoing a steep parenting learning curve, I wanted to continue to learn about things that had nothing to do with parenting or babies.

So, I decided to start watching TED Talks each morning as I drank coffee.

In the spirit of the Great Maternity Leave, I made it a formal goal.



Here, on this blog today, I present to you the most important lesson I got from this Great Maternity Leave (GML) Project.


I thought I’d walk out of the month with insane knowledge and a different life.  But something interesting happened:

Out of 30 videos I could only remember key points from less than FIVE videos.

I beat myself up over it, thinking if I am so passionate about growth and learning from successful people, why can’t I remember the lessons from a famous TED talk?

Then, I got caught up in a particularly common Maternity Leave discourse “mommy brain.”

At first, I chalked this up to simply being a mom and the message that gets circulated that with everything going on with a new baby, your ability to learn and grow and involve yourself in topics outside of being a mom…well… they all just dry up.

I’m really pleased to report from my current maternity leave deployment that this is horribly, horribly untrue.

Because this is something that even the success stories, the “greats” in their respective fields, experience.

Have I caught your intrigue?



So let’s get to the big issue at hand, the one I beat myself up for:

 Why Can’t I Remember all of These Awesome Lessons from thirty, THIRTY TED TALKS!

Because you bet I was asked this A LOT once I announced my project.

The answer:  A lesson  (In this case, the TED TALK) has to land with you and meet you where.you.are.  And it’s a numbers game.  


Let me explain with an example…


About two years ago, I came across a video of Former Admiral (and Commander of Special Operations Command) William H. McRaven giving a commencement speech at the University of Texas Graduation in 2014.  It was a game changer.  It is one of the few videos that has stuck with me to this day.

(What I love about Mr. McRaven is his accessibility and incredible life advice that transcends the military.)

This video changed the game for me.  I make my bed every single day because of what this man said in his video.

University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address – Admiral William H. McRaven


These are just two of his many points that stuck with me.  Yes, I actually remember this every single day.  

-If you want to change the world, make your bed.

-All you have to do to quit in SEAL training is ring a brass bell in the training area.  With that bell rung, everything is over. All of the hardship, all of the suffering is gone with one ding.    McRaven teaches that if you want to change the world, don’t ever ever ring the bell.


Why was This Video so Profound?

This video hit me to the core, because I watched it while I was in military & strategic studies.  It met me where I was.  And the examples made total sense to me.  They hit home, were explained in a style I like, and how he framed them made sense to me.  I happened to be experiencing some of the challenges he spoke to in the video.  I was also going through a lot of huuuuge challenges in my life where I wanted to “ring the bell” so to speak.  The video met me where I was.   The lessons had direct relevance and application.  


-Which Means You Need to Keep Looking.  Never Stop Searching.

The key message I want to give you in this blog post is to keep exposing yourself to podcasts, videos, blog posts, influential people, ideas, stories.  There are more than 6 billion people on this planet, and an awful lot of them are sharing knowledge, wisdom and lessons. Especially now on this beautiful thing called the internet.

Not all of them will impact you.  Like the handful out of THIRTY Ted Talks.

But do know that you will find one or two gems, that stick with you, that meet you where you are, in your present level of awareness and at Mile 6, or 7, or 8 of your current journey!


Ignore the “Mommy Brain” Messaging.  You are in a Great Place for Growth.  


I was told I was nuts – an acquaintance looked at me with great skepticism in their facial expression and said “good luck with that and a baby, your brain won’t keep up.”

Don’t worry if you keep reading books and watching videos and can’t remember much.

Stop telling yourself it is mommy brain. Stop listening to people that say “mommy brain” shuts down your intelligence and growth.   It isn’t that.

You are not in some sort of holding pattern.  You’re practically doing an accelerated masters degree right now in a totally new domain (parenthood.)  You’re MORE than capable of learning and being exposed to new information and retaining it.

It’s just that you haven’t yet come across a message that is resonating with you.

The more you explore the world and the lessons people want to share, the higher the chance you will find a diamond in the rough.

It’s a numbers game.  For every 10 TED videos, or interesting blog articles that you take the time to read, you WILL find 1 or 2 that forever shift the way you see life.

Successful People Keep Exposing themselves to New Content and New Wisdom

After studying and working with many successful people – moms, business people, entrepreneurs, visionaries, it is crystal clear that all of them are voracious consumers of knowledge.  Just like us, they only remember fragments of what they have read or learnt.

Because they, too, retain only the pieces that fit with their present level of awareness and make sense to their lives at that present moment. For every 10 Podcasts they listen to, only 1 or 2 will precipitate an “ah-hah” learning moment for them, that they take away and retain for months to come.


That is what I took from 30 TED Talks in 30 Days.


Never stop learning.






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