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5 more TED talks to shake off rejection

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This article is part two in a series. To view the first part of this article series, go here.

We saved the best TED talks for last. Seriously, you should really watch and reflect on these inspiring seminars, which will not only help you shake off rejection, but be more resilient and successful in its wake.

Stories like these make you take a look at your own life and circumstances and realize that you have all the tools to do anything you set your mind to.

And if you missed a part because you decided to check Facebook while the audio played in the background, or you got interrupted somehow, or didn’t understand one of the speakers’ explanations, I highly recommend that you rewind the video and watch it again. These words of wisdom are simply too good to miss.

Without further ado, here are five more TED talks that will benefit your business. 

5. Deborah Rhodes

A test that finds 3x more breast tumors

We all know someone who has suffered from breast cancer. It is one of the most common cancers in women in the United States and is the second most common cause of death from cancer, according to the CDC.

If there’s any good news when it comes to this disease, it’s that early detection can help increase breast cancer survival rates in all women. Mammograms work about 30 percent of the time, but not in all women, especially those with high breast density.

After one of Dr. Deborah Rhodes’ patients asked her how confident she was about a mammogram’s ability to help her detect a tumor early, Dr. Rhodes met a nuclear physicist at Mayo Clinic. He was talking about a new technology that employed gamma rays, and that was smaller. This gave them the idea to build a machine that could make the imaging clearer, and the Molecular Breast Imaging machine (MBI) was born.

Dr. Rhodes and her team have not only tested and used this technology in tandem with mammography and MRI imaging for their patients for more than 10 years, but they have tried to make it more prominent throughout the U.S. And even though they have faced a lot of scrutiny and backlash from different medical arenas, they finally managed to get published in the medical journal Radiology in 2010, thus bringing attention to this new technology.

The lesson here is that a solution can come from a very unexpected place. As Malcolm Gladwell once noted in The New Yorker, “Scientific discoveries are rarely the product of one individual’s genius. Rather, big ideas can be orchestrated if you can simply gather people with different perspectives in a room and get them to talk about things that they don’t normally talk about.”

4. Iqbar Quadir

Using mobile phones to end poverty

Imagine not hvaing access to any kind of phone, not even a landline, or the Internet. How would that change your business? Maybe there would be a lot more walking to be done.

Now, imagine living in a country of millions of people where only 1 in 500 people have a telephone. Those are the numbers in Bangladesh, according to TED speaker, Iqbal Quadir, a banker in New York. Quadir learned that connectivity leads to productivity by comparing two very different experiences. The first occurred while he was growing up poor in Bangladesh, and had to walk 10 miles one way looking for medicine, only to find out that the doctor wasn’t there. The second occurred years later, while working in New York, when all of his technology went down.

Those experiences led him to start a mobile phone company called GrameenPhone, which connects 80 million people in rural Bangladesh, according to the TED website. Quadir sees business as a humanitarian tool to empower people.

The entrepreneur says that in order to have a truly empowered society and make change possible, people need to have the tools that connect them. That’s where cellphones come in. They broaden distribution. If you and I are living next to each other, for example, one of us can walk to the other’s house because we’re neighbors. Distance isn’t an issue. But minus broader connectivity, our economic impact will be limited. Hence, dependability leads to connectivity, which in turn leads to productivity.

It’s important to note that bringing connectivity to rural Bangladesh has had quite an impact. The country’s GDP has grown, and new businesses and opportunities are popping up.

3. Paul Moller

The flying car

OK, so this TED talk is now 11 years old, filmed in 2004 … so why don’t we already have flying DeLoreans?! Inspired by watching two hummingbirds float when he was a kid growing up in Canada, Paul Moller, an inventor, has made it his life’s work to create a viable flying car. His first prototype was unveiled in 1965 and looks like an old school flying saucer or UFO. The Skycar of today is a combination of a jet and a car that could potentially carry up to four passengers and would drive itself.

The idea is to reduce vehicle traffic that travels more than 50 miles a day and free up the current roadway space for vehicles traveling shorter distances, according to Moller. On congested highways, current vehicles travel an average of 30 mph, while his Skycar can travel up to 3,000 mph.

Moller cautions that in order for Skycars to be possible we need the right infrastructure in place, a process he says would be similar to what Google and now Uber are trying to accomplish with the driverless car. As you might expect, there are some physical barriers that make the availability of this technology more difficult. For example, Moller says that if the mechanical parts of the aircraft fail, it will crash. There is no way around that, but they have engineered it for the computers to have a backup.

Can you imagine telling someone during the 1940s or 1950s that you would create a flying car? Crazy is one of the many words that they could call you. Moller is no stranger to rejection and even came up with his own aphorism: “First, it is ridiculed by those ignorant of its potential. Next, it is subverted by those threatened by its potential. Finally, it is considered self-evident.”

This TED talk made me think of what Steve Jobs might have encountered when he stated that the iPhone would change the world. In the meantime, I will eagerly wait for my flying car.

2. Richard St. John

An eight-step plan for continuous success

“We think success is a one-way street. So we do everything we can to reach success. We get there, and then sit back, we stop and we go downhill.” Richard St. John’s TED talk opens with this very strong statement and then he says “I know because it happened to me.” St. John is a marketer and self-proclaimed success researcher.

Reaching success, St. John says he worked very hard, but once he was successful, he stopped working hard because he figured he was this “hot shot.” In this barely-4-minute-long TED talk, St. John packs a big punch on how to achieve success and how to keep being successful.

Working towards being successful, he says that he always had ideas by doing the following:

1) Listening

2) Being curious

3) Observing

4) Problem solving

5) Asking questions

6) Making connections

Also, reaching success, he was focusing on clients and projects instead of money, but once the money started rolling in, he focused more on that and ignored the projects and clients. And when he was working towards success, he was doing what he loved, his passion, but once he reached it, he found himself doing stuff that he didn’t like, for example, management, which he says made him depressed.

With that, he finally understood that the saying “Money can’t buy happiness” was true. It took his business almost going under (and nearly being forced to fire all of his employees) to find success again, which he summarizes in eight steps:

1. Passion

2. Work

3. Focus

4. Push

5. Ideas

6. Improve

7. Serve

8. Persist

It took him seven years to be successful again, but his business is bigger than ever. He says that in order to avoid “success to failure syndrome,” keep following those eight steps like a circle. This is how you will achieve continuous success.

1. Guy Winch

Why we all need to practice emotional first aid

“We all know how to maintain our physical health and how to practice dental hygiene, but what do we know about maintaining our psychological health? Nothing,” says psychologist Guy Winch, who is also a well-known blogger for He says that we sustain psychological injuries more often than we do physical injuries.

Winch makes a call to close the gap between our physical and psychological health. He also says that rejection is one of those psychological injuries that needs to be addressed.

The psychologist goes on to talk about the powerful impact that loneliness has on people. “Loneliness is defined purely subjectively. It depends solely on if you feel emotionally or socially disconnected from those around you. Chronic loneliness increases your likelihood of an early death by 14 percent. It causes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, suppresses the functioning of the immune system … and taken together, possesses as significant a risk for your longterm health and longevity as cigarette smoking,” he says.

Failure is another emotion that can create a deep psychological wound. The only thing that can prevent you from succeeding is your own mind, Winch says. “We all have a default set of feelings and beliefs that get triggered whenever we encounter frustrations and setbacks. Are you aware of how your mind reacts to failure? You need to be. Because if your own mind tries to convince you that you’re incapable of something and you believe it, then you’ll begin to feel helpless and then you’ll stop trying at all,” Winch explains.

Once we become convinced of something, it’s very difficult to change our mind, the psychologist says. It might be very natural to feel demoralized and defeated after you’ve failed, but you must fight those feelings of helplessness and gain control of those thoughts.

Our mind takes rejection to another level. For example, we’re more critical of ourselves after rejection. Winch credits this to “poor psychological hygiene. When your self-esteem is lower, you’re more vulnerable to stress and anxiety, and failures and rejections hurt more. So when you get rejected, the first thing you must do is to revive your self-esteem,” he recommends.

See also:

9 more steps to public-speaking success 

Are you achieving your dream career?

Confessions of a Hollywood elite advisor


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