Reasoning about Life Choices and Planning

In Chapter 5 of the book, Personal Intelligence, I discuss many different perspectives on how to make life choices in relation to who one is and what other people are like.

A number of TED talks concern similar issues. I’ve collected a few of my favorite videos here–both of people who agree with my own views, and of people whose viewpoints differ considerably.

Choices about Love

Helen Fisher at TED on “Why we love, why we cheat”. Professor Fisher speaks about the evolutionary bases of romantic love, mixing in the poetry and philosophy of love. She speaks of how love makes our emotional life with the person special and ‘crazy': Love is a drive, not an emotion, she says.

BrenĂ© Brown on the power of vulnerability. She outlines some of her research as a researcher-story-teller, and talks about the importance of connection. She speaks about connection and disconnection and love and rejection, and shame…her own discovery of the importance of shame and vulnerability and the change it brought to her own work: her discovery of the importance of regarding oneself as worthy and wholehearted. The sense that “we are enough.”

Choices about Work

Elizabeth Gilbert on a person’s creative genius. She speaks of the fear of success–and of failure…Is it reasonable that creative ventures make us nervous? She goes on to search across cultures for societies that support their creative people better than we do…

Eunice Hii, a founder of the “Passion Project” at her university, speaks about whether you really should follow your passion, and why passion alone isn’t enough. She turns her thoughts to what we need to guide us beyond a passion for what we do.

The management coach and motivational speaker Tony Robbins talks about how to activate people’s potential. “Why didn’t you achieve something?” he asks. He talks about the art of fulfillment–issues of missing resources versus your own resourcefulness.

The opening of this talk describes a job so challenging that some people may feel a bit queasy listening to it–Mike Rowe himself didn’t have an easy time. Rowe goes on to describe what he’s learned from working with people with dirty jobs. Maybe some people who are very successful at their jobs and do well in life actually haven’t followed their passion…

Larry Smith introduces himself as someone who studies the “dismal science” of economics and expounds on why economic pressures make it increasingly difficult to find the jobs we want, the excuses we draw upon to do the wrong things, and how we are bound to fail “unless…” (TED Video).