Ideas that spread

I love TED talks.

I love the concept.

I love the execution.

TED

As a marketing professional, I think TED talks are often brilliant examples of storytelling and I often share them with my clients to show how delivery can reel a person into a topic that might be dense or unfamiliar.

I have watched TED talks that seem to have nothing to do with my life — that are by people so foreign to me or about ideas that are a million miles away from what I think or care about.

And yet, by the end, I’m crying. Or nodding. Or shaking my head in stunned disbelief.

That’s what a good story does to you.

As a human being, I think TED talks enrich my life.

I love learning about problems I never knew existed.

And being surprised by how the solutions to those problems end up applying to my own life.

I have the TED app downloaded on my smartphone and when I remember, I will often listen to a TED talk on the drive home from work.

I hardly ever spend time browsing the videos. I choose one of the top three recommended.

Today I chose “Phil Hansen: Embrace the shake.”

I had no idea who Phil Hansen was before I watched his talk, nor did I understand the reference to the word, “shake” in the title.

But I love the word “embrace.”

embrace

It’s physical.

It’s emotional.

And this word alone in the title was enough to pique my curiosity and press play.

I’m very much into embracing. (And tips on how to do it better…)

Embracing my uncertainty.

Embracing my fear.

Embracing the new and unfamiliar.

Embracing …so that you may let go.

What Hansen suggests in his talk is that embracing our limitations actually opens us up to limitless possibilities.

I agree with him.

I won’t spoil the 10 minute talk.

Enjoy it for yourself, but be prepared to be surprised.

And to let go … of your expectations.

About the speaker.

About the talk.

About everything.

“As I destroyed each project, I was learning to let go,” Hansen says. “Let go of outcomes. Let go of failures. And let go of imperfections…”

See what happened, when he did.

Israelis don’t like rootbeer

Do you ever notice how easy and acceptable it is to stereotype your own?

And how easy and acceptable is it to find yourself up in arms when “outsiders” stereotype us?

Of course, this is human nature and true of most ethnic, religious and gender groups.

It’s the classic rule: I can talk smack about my momma, but don’t you even think about it.

I stereotype Israelis. Especially since I moved here 2 1/2 years ago.

But what’s funny is the type of stereotyping I find myself responsible for is not your classic Israel bashing.

They’re so rude/impatient/loud/demanding. They’re always up-your-butt in lines. They all carry uzis.

Those aren’t stereotypes. They’re truths! Israelis will be the first to admit (loudly, and rudely) that lines are for friarim. Pushing your way to the front is why God gave us two hands. The third one is for our uzi.

I stereotype Israelis from a place of love, like one does when making fun of one’s brother…or oneself. But I also stereotype Israelis as a study, from a place of still feeling like an “inside outter.” Like someone who thinks she is supposed to fit in, but doesn’t quite yet. And perhaps never will.

This was very obvious to me while traveling last week in the U.S. with 8 Israeli born colleagues. Though working insanely hard, we had a great time. My colleagues, experienced travelers, still counted on me to lead them, inform them, and give them a bit of a navigation in a foreign country. So for me, the trip was an opportunity to finally feel like a grown up again — like someone who knows her way around. Someone who can order for herself in a restaurant; find her way around airport security.

An insider.

Traveling in America with a group of Israelis, however, also made me feel very American. So much so, I began to question my own identity. Who am I when I am in America? Am I American or Israeli? Or some strange hybrid better suited for a third independent country? (Uganda? Atlantis?)

I loved the cafes we lunched in; while they frowned at menus filled with burgers and sandwiches.

I sipped rootbeer satisfied, while they longed for tea with nana.

rootbeer

I spoke quietly and respectfully to our waiters. They demanded extra salad dressing in Hebrew.

They laughed at me. At my American-ness. And I at them. At their complete and utter Israeli-ness.

And then we laughed at ourselves

Since I moved to Israel 2 1/2 years ago, I constantly wonder where I fit in.

But then I remind myself that this is a question I’ve been asking for as long as I’ve been asking questions.

And for as long as I’ve been asking questions, I’ve been carefully observing myself and others.

Comparing myself to them. Comparing their behavior to mine.

Searching for the differences and the similarities.

Seeking harmonies. Identifying irritations.

This is what we do.

We humans.

With ease, we assign the harmonies to people who look and act like us, and the irritations to people who look and act different from us.

Until something happens to shatter the reliability of our stereotypes.

For me, this happened when I made Aliyah.

As I live among Israelis; and more so, as I become an Israeli, I’m busting my own stereotypes, and creating new ones.

But always defending Israel like she was my momma.

I can talk smack about her, but don’t you even think about it.