At the TEDxHastingsSt 2019 event on 10 August, we addressed assumptions. One definition for assumption: a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof. We all have assumptions about the world and about ourselves. They help us make sense of the world, and they help us make decisions and drive our culture. So, we asked our attendees for answers to: How should we question our assumptions?
Adam Meadows and Arno Van Heerden from Sharp NZ in Hastings helped us capture the answers with Sharp’s Interactive Touch Panel.
Some interesting answers were offered. Hal Josephson, who spoke at TEDxHastingsSt 2018, suggested the 5 Why’s method of asking why 5 times. Rebecca said that we should question our assumptions often and with an open heart. Alessandra said, “don’t believe always what your mind tells you.” Someone else has drawn a pair of glasses and written ass on one lens and u+me on the other. No doubt, this is a reference to the common pun that to assume is to make an ass of you and me. Other answers were more simple. One person wrote, “carefully and with deliberation.” Another person simply said, “listen.”
Often and with Deliberation
These are all great answers, and I would invite you to read them all and try to decipher them. Think about what the author wanted to say, but also think about the lesson you would want to take from it. For example, someone wrote, “spend a day in Maraenui,” which is an underdeveloped neighborhood in Napier. This answer could have a variety of negative overtones. However, I have spent a great deal of time in both Maraenui and Flaxmere in Hastings. Both neighborhoods have some amazing people in them who are more hospitable and more eager to help than people I have met elsewhere around Hawke’s Bay. Some of those people are gang members. To me, this answer suggests that we should not be quick to judge whole neighborhoods based on social stigmas.
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The theme for last year’s event was culture. If you look at the talks from last year, few of them actually address culture directly. A TEDx theme is used like a compass for the event’s organizers and to prepare audiences for the type of talks the speakers will give.
This year’s theme
This year, we will address assumptions. One definition for assumption: a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof. We all have assumptions about the world and about ourselves. They help us make sense of the world, and they help us make decisions and drive our culture.
Assumptions help us stay safe and avoid risk, but they can also help us avoid opportunities. We cannot think outside the box and affect change without questioning the assumptions we make. That means we cannot improve our world or ourselves until we question our assumptions. The reason is simple, an assumption that appears true and positive for one person may appear false and negative for another.
Dieting is a great example. We assume that eating more vegetables and exercising more will help us lose weight. Sometimes this is the case, but the truth is far from simple. Maintaining the motivation to eat a special way and exercise constantly is just unrealistic. As individuals, we have to question our assumptions about dieting.
Not everyone will lose weight the same way because we don’t all gain weight the same way. For some people a low fat diet will work but not for others. For some, a low carb diet will work but not for others. In dieting, we can’t just change our eating and exercise habits to the latest fad diets. We have to address our own personal health needs, and form a diet and exercise routine that will help us lose weight and maintain the motivation to do so. Some people need to do it on their own, but others need a team of friends to help them. Dieting, like anything else, is more complicated than just the assumption that eating veges and running will solve the problem.
TEDxHastingsSt is on a journey of development improvement, and we hope you’ll join us. We began by celebrating the cultural diversity of Hawke’s Bay. The next step will be to question our assumptions in order to create positive change. The speakers will present ideas that help do just that.
Soon, we will show off our new logo for the 2019 event. Stay tuned!