Leadership Development

Ted Talk

For my LDR 200L class, we were required to watch a twenty-minute video from the well-known show, Ted Talk. At first, I was skeptical. I did not want to watch another video pertaining to something “inspirational”. I was not looking forward to having to sit down and watch a guy talk about some confusing theory or concept. Little did I know that this video was going to change my outlook on so many different things. I now have a better understanding of why it is better to ask yourself “why?” instead of “what?”

This Ted Talk was one for the books. Simon Sinek used only his voice and a sheet of paper to explain how to be a successful person or company. He started with different examples to provide an understanding of how his theory worked. He believed that instead of selling “what” you should sell “why”. Selling what is only telling the customer WHAT you are selling. Telling them WHY allows them to be a part of not just your product, however, also the ideas and minds behind it. He used the example of Apple. A person is more likely to buy a MacBook than a Dell computer because Apple has been successful in selling their “why”. He used the quote, “you wouldn’t buy an MP3 Player from Dell would you?” this question is aimed towards sparking a realization that Apple is just like Dell, they are both companies that sell computers. The difference between these companies is “how” they do it. Apple tells people “why” they should buy their product, not “what” they are selling.

This Ted Talk sparked a lot in my head as a leader. Instead of requesting followers by telling them what I am trying to accomplish, I should tell them why I am trying to accomplish it. For example, Martin Luther King Jr. did not say, “I have a plan” he said, “I have a DREAM”. He exemplifies the “why”. He tells people what they believe too. He provides a background and credibility to say that he one day wants to see a better world. Martin Luther King Jr. had millions of followers, and I am certain there were other people trying to lead a movement too. So WHY was Doctor King successful in his attempt? He told people WHY he wanted to change things, not WHAT he was going to do.

In class, we created our “WHY” statements. I pondered so many ideas and finally came up with the perfect WHY for me. My why statement is: To inspire others to see themselves as the change in the world. I want people to know that they CAN be something more than a follower. I want my peers, family and the strangers in my class to recognize themselves as someone who is important to our world. This Ted Talk sparked a movement. A movement to allow people to believe they ARE enough.

Now after watching this Ted Talk I have been more aware of WHY I am doing anything. Everything I do now I think about the why. It is amazing how just being aware of the concept has allowed me to think bigger. I have tried to infuse this idea into my Rotaract club by talking about why we were helping people and volunteering, this helps all of us focus on the bigger picture instead of complaining because we are too busy.