The art of being yourself | Caroline McHugh | TEDxMiltonKeynesWomen


Hear from Monica Lewinsky about the Price of Shame by Naeemah

The Price of Shame. The Price of Social Media. Words can impact one’s mental state, and can potentially have deadly consequences. With the prevalence of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram (the list goes on), you see constant instances of people being attacked anonymously by their peers and even by strangers. What gives us the right to hate on people. To show no compassion and instead, work to bring them down, as far down as possible. Are we so unhappy with our own lives? Are we so filled with malicious instincts that we care not who we hurt? Seventeen years after the media storm surrounding Monica Lewinsky, we see cases, time and time again, of children, of teenagers, taking their own lives due to bullying across social media, across media in general. Why do we have this cruelty in our hearts, in our minds, that we vomit onto others? I don’t know. Maybe everyone feels shame, and because they feel it, they want to make sure everyone else does as well.

“‘Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop,’ says Monica Lewinsky. In 1998, she says, ‘I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.’ Today, the kind of online public shaming she went through has become constant — and can turn deadly. In a brave talk, she takes a hard look at our online culture of humiliation, and asks for a different way.”

– Monica Lewinsky

Laugh, Cry, & Reflect with Ted Talks by Carol Alexander

With Autumn comes the changing of leaves, shifts in weather patterns, and a cold/flu that never fails to seep within my household. Between sniffles, hot soup, and naps, I came across these two very interesting, poignant Ted Talks, and would like to share. Bundle up (or take that much-needed break), and take a gander.


1. Candy Chang’s Before I die I want to ___

A powerful Ted Talk on the importance of community and public space, and their beneficial elements within the human experience. I won’t spoil too much for those of you who will be watching for the first time, but would like to highlight two of my favorite passages from this piece:

On creating the blackboards:”Neglected space became a constructed one. And people made me laugh out loud, tear up, and they consoled me during my own tough times. It’s about knowing you’re not alone, it’s about understanding our neighbors in new and enlightening ways. It’s about making space for reflection and contemplation, and remembering what really matters most to us as we grow and change.”

“Make better places…lead better lives…How powerful our public spaces can be if we’re given the opportunity to have a voice and share more with one another.”


What would your blackboard message say?

2.  Sue Austin: Deep Sea Diving…in a Wheelchair

This poignant speech explores Austin’s journey of self discovery and transformation in the face of limiting preconceptions of her quality of life in a wheelchair. By choosing to create her own narrative in the face of stigmatization, she finds joy, among other fulfillment. A few highlights include:

“I was seeing myself not from my perspective, but vividly and continuously from the perspective of other people’s responses to me.”

-“By creating our own stories we learn to take the texts of our lives as seriously as we do ‘official’ narratives”.–Davis 2009

“I now call the underwater wheelchair a ‘portal’, because it has literally pushed me through into a new way of being, into new dimensions, into a new level of consciousness.”





TED Talk Tuesday – Meet Yourself, A User’s Guide to Building Self-Esteem: Niko Everett

Self-confidence is an important issue for many people. The most popular TED Talk on Minus The Box is The Skill of Self-Confidence. So here we add to that information with today’s TED Talk by Niko Everett. Everett believes that we can build our own healthy self-confidence by controlling negative thoughts and amplifying positive ones. Her suggestions for such a practice:

1) Positive and supportive relationships

2) Mental practice, change your thoughts

3) Be supportive and positive toward others

4) Say ‘thank you’ when given a compliment, accept it

How do you practice self-esteem? Let me know in the comments.

Stay Confident and Enjoy!

TED Talk Tuesday – Rives: The 4 a.m. Mystery

4 in the morning…the bewitching hour. This talk by performance artist John G. Rives is so entertaining and brings a smile to my face every time I watch it. The Da Vinci Code meets comedy hour, the story Rives is able to come up with is amazing. Here is a lighthearted TED Talk to get you through the week. Enjoy!

TED Talk Tuesday – John Hodgman: Design, explained.

Comedian, Daily Show regular, and all around expert John Hodgman keeps it funny and light in today’s TED Talk. In his brief presentation, Hodgman discusses three iconic designs and their odd place in modern society. His greatest insight comes at the end, as always saving the best for last. Happy April and Enjoy!


“It is easy to forget the gasp-inducement that occurred in 2007 when you first touched this thing because it became so quickly pervasive and because of how instantly we adopted these gestures and made it an extension of our life. Unlike the Theme Building, this is not alien technology. Or I should say, what it did was it took technology which, unlike people in this room, to many other people in the world, still feels very alien, and made it immediately and instantly feel familiar and intimate.”

And unlike the juicy salif, it does not threaten to attach itself to your brain, rather, it simply attaches itself to your brain. And you didn’t even notice it happened.”

TED Talk Tuesday – Manu Prakash: A 50-cent Microscope that Folds like Origami

When I first saw this in my inbox I thought, “yeah, okay this is a joke.” When I saw it a second time I thought, “I should probably take a look at this.” And I am glad I did. I am very comfortable saying that this idea is brilliant. A folding, paper based, field proof microscope that could potentially save the lives of millions of people….I’m in love. This is a quick talk that is sure to leave you in awe of the capabilities of the human mind. Enjoy!

TED Talk Tuesday – The Brush Master: Clayton Cameron

Music is the theme of the day, so here is a great TED jam session. A dynamic and expert drummer, Cameron has redefined percussion music. He has performed with the likes of Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Billie Joel, Sting, Mariah Carey, Brandy, the Back Street Boys, James Taylor, K.D. Lang, Elvis Costello, and Ricky Martin, just to name a few. In this upbeat talk, Cameron provides a brief history of the art of drumming and the inspirations for his music. This talk only gets more interesting as it progresses and Cameron’s talent is ridiculous. Enjoy!


TED Talk Tuesday – Lessons from the Mental Hospital: Glennon Doyle Melton

Such an amazing talk that took so much courage and vulnerability to give. We all struggle with connection and compassion. We all struggle to find belonging and a sense of peace. Sometimes those struggles are to weighty. Glennon Doyle Melton, a recovering “number” (she used alcohol, food, and drugs to numb her pain) talks about her journey from cape-laden pretender to fully present human being. This talk is heartwarming and encouraging. Enjoy!


“Everyone was worthy simply because she existed.”