The only constant to exist - change

Change and it’s many facets.

As we are in a period of ever constant change, all of us are looking for direction, a life-preserver in this never-ending storm of change.

Will we find it? Does it exist?

In this month’s newsletter, we have picked three talks from the global TED(x) stage which underline the current omnipresent topic: change. How the world is changing, how our emotions have changed and how you can become more accustomed to change. 

Tyler Dewitt: Academia never had to change: now it’s dire

Imagine a world in which you wouldn’t need a multi-million-dollar microbiology laboratory to teach microbiology. Even better, imagine what would happen if you identified a few incredibly talented educators and gave them sufficient resources, content editors, production teams. The next big educational revolution would be upon us – according to Tyler Dewitt.

“I got the sense that something big was brewing here.”

– Tyler Dewitt

As a PhD graduate from MIT, Tyler recognizes that textbooks aren’t the way to get young people interested in science. Instead, he insists that science should be taught by making it fun and fantastical. His claim is very straightforward: there is a need to rethink and disrupt traditional educational approaches and institutions so that we can meet the needs of more students. With his visionary approach, he garnered over a 100 million views on his YouTube channel by teaching chemistry, for free. 

Following his massive success, Tyler is now working on ushering a new method of lab teaching with the help of virtual reality technology. By explaining how innovations in technology can help current and future students with their studies, he suggests an approach to education that works with students’ needs—not against them.

Jamil Zhaki: We’re experiencing an empathy shortage, but we can fix it together

In times when we are struggling to express positive emotion, collective empathy suggests itself as a common cure.

Even though studies show that our collective empathy is eroding, there is good news. According to Jamil Zhaki, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, empathy is a skill, it can be built, and he explains how he — and others — are doing just that.

“It turns out that empathy isn’t that much of a trait at all, it’s more like a skill.”

– Jamil Zhaki

Contrary to popular belief, we’re not stuck at one level of empathy throughout our lives. Certain experiences, like a difficult political climate, can wither it. On the other hand, there are some experiences, like having to manage relationships with strict parents in Jamil’s case, which lead to the development of our empathy.

Because of this, important players in the empathy building business are utilizing the findings from research in mock crime scenes to train police officers. By paying attention to what other people feel, the use of force has significantly declined in Washington DC since such an implementation.

Empathy is not only a precious resource, but it is also a renewable one. As said by Jamil, empathy can bloom even in barren soil.

Julia Dhar: How to have constructive conversations

Social media, messaging platforms, E-mails, letters, messenger pigeons… There seem to be endless ways to connect now more so than ever however it seems like we are further apart than ever. Could belief perseverance be to blame?

Belief Perseverance: the idea that when confronted with a new belief we seem to reinforce our old beliefs may be an underlying enforcer causing a seemingly large rift between us and the world at large.

“Choose curiosity over clash.”

– Julia Dhar

So, what can we do? To rekindle relationships, to make ourselves more open-minded, to seem a little more understood in a world that seemingly makes very little sense. Have curiosity conversations.

Curiosity conversations have one purpose: understand the other perspective; the one that is not your own; the one that you cannot fathom ever being able to understand or wanting to understand. Julia Dhar shares questions that help you in initiating and engaging in these conversations.

However, don’t expect to leave the conversation, having completely understood the other perspective. It is a steady climb, where along the way you will learn.