born to

Ever asked yourself what you are born to do? Born to run? Born to fly? Born to love? Born to die? Born to be a doctor? Born to be a lawyer? Born to get rich and enjoy yourself?

What does the phrase “born to” induce? A cause? A goal? A mission? A luxury? Something with a sense of satisfaction, enjoyment, accomplishment, purpose?

TED Talks. I was browsing at the TED Talks website. They have really fascinating titles. Those that grip your attention and make you want to watch everything one after the other. If only I had the time for them.

‘Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work’
‘Christopher McDougall: Are we born to run?’
‘Dale Dougherty: We are makers’
‘Johanna Blakley: Social media and the end of gender’
‘Bruce Feiler: The council of Dads.’
‘Thomas Goetz: It’s time to redesign medical data.’
‘Van Jones: The economic injustice of plastic.’

Compared to published scientific literature (top cited papers in 2010):

“ANALYSIS OF RELATIVE GENE EXPRESSION DATA USING REAL-TIME QUANTITATIVE PCR AND THE 2(T)(-DELTA DELTA C) METHO
“COOT: MODEL-BUILDING TOOLS FOR MOLECULAR GRAPHICS”
“A SHORT HISTORY OF SHELX”
“SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AT 39 K IN MAGNESIUM DIBORIDE”
“A SIMPLE, FAST, AND ACCURATE ALGORITHM TO ESTIMATE LARGE PHYLOGENIES BY MAXIMUM LIKELIHOOD”
“EFFECTS OF AN ANGIOTENSIN-CONVERTING-ENZYME INHIBITOR, RAMIPRIL, ON CARDIOVASCULAR EVENTS IN HIGH-RISK PATIENTS”
“THE MIRROR-NEURON SYSTEM”
“IDENTIFICATION OF DIABLO, A MAMMALIAN PROTEIN THAT PROMOTES APOPTOSIS BY BINDING TO AND ANTAGONIZING IAP PROTEINS”

ok actually these titles are pretty cool to me. but they are the top articles. haha.

I suppose there comes a point in life when you look up from your book and exam papers and HR career path and you realise that you have this knowledge, this understanding, this power, leverage, resources that you can employ to change something else somewhere else. It’s like a roomful of people sitting down together, away from the normal routine, taken out of context, deliberating their values, strengths, purpose, targets, goals, and wondering what in the world should they do with what they have. It’s frightening scary sometimes. It’s like, hey we’re done, or gonna be done, or we can see how we’re gonna end this. So what do we do? Carry on? Change? Disband? Find something new? Nobody knows where to go and whatever to be decided will affect everything. It’s like we were born, our lives are winding down, and now that we’ve gotten somewhere and grown up, let’s decide again what we want to be reborn as. Go into a different industry? Join a different company? Take a different degree? Go to a different school? Make a different best friend? Be born in a different country, family? Be a boy or a girl? And you stand there, with the EXIT sign in sight, with the book of history in your hands, looking back down the path you’ve come, looking at all the paths out there, and wondering where should you start again. Quite an interesting position to be in.

Katie Brugger wrote this comment on Elizabeth Lesser’s speech ‘Take “the Other” out to lunch’, essentially a talk on going out to lunch with someone who does not share your opinion, and ask them three questions to find out what’s really in their hearts:

Your concept of breaking through the “otherness” could be applied to foreign policy. I spent six weeks in the Soviet Union in 1979. I was 21 and could speak Russian.

I met many Russians on the streets–ordinary citizens who had never spoken to an American before–and the most common question I heard was, “Why does your country want to bomb my country?” I invariably replied, “But we don’t want to bomb you. My country tells me that your country wants to bomb us.”

I learned that the Soviet people, who I had been taught were my enemy for my whole life, were really just like me, with the same feelings and desires. After this I thought the best foreign policy for this country would be to send every young person abroad after they graduated from high school.

musing

P.S. I had actually wrote that without first hearing Elizabeth Lesser’s speech. After hearing how b took to it, I listened, and am rightfully impressed by it. Here are two lovely sentences from her speech:

Refering to her own experience bringing an other out to lunch, she said,

“We acknowledged each other’s openness. Neither of us had tried to change the other. But we also hadn’t pretended that our differences would melt away after the lunch”.

And as closing she quoted 13th Century Persian poet Rumi (Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī)

“Out, beyond ideas of wrongdoing, and rightdoing, there is a field, I’ll meet you there.”

Wow. All the magic that has passed through the ages. It was also joyful to hear Elizabeth Lesser speak. Measured well-paced readaloud from her prepared speech, very clear, stately, graceful and welcoming. =)

born to