We all love TED talks, right? But with over 15,000 TED and TEdx presentations to choose from it can be hard to know where to start and there's no real guarantee of stumbling onto the right ones. That's why I've put together this list of the some of the best talks for who are ready to get to grips with the reality that manifesting is so much more than writing out some affirmations from time to time.
Real manifesting isn't like writing a wish list for Santa, it's about who you are day in, day out. We we make ourselves in the things we do all day every day. My doctoral research looks at how our whole identity and even our reality is co-created with the universe around us, through the way we relate to the people, place and things around us. It's an embodied experience. So just "doing" the steps of manifesting like making a vision board generally doesn't change our realities very much.
On the other hand, you can rapidly change your reality by recognising that the true manifestation is who you become on the journey through life.
That's why it's so important to live intentionally and to seek to live in integrity with your inner guidance system, higher self, God, or whatever you choose to call that one pure unshakeable note that tells you who you really are.
These talks are not in order of importance, but they are all talks which reflect areas of my research and/or experience in my subsequent career as a coach and entrepreneur in ways that are deeply meaningful and that I hope will both support and challenge you to shift your perspective towards manifesting the best possible version of you. That's what actually attracts in all of the lovely things we think we're manifesting - how we show up and how we handle things, each and every day.
1. Dealing with negative thought patterns
Therapist Amy Morin shares the personal story of coming back from devastation by developing mental strength not only through adopting good mental habits but by giving up unhealthy ones one small step at a time and changing her reality. She identifies three kinds of destructive beliefs we must learn to overcome:
1. unhealthy beliefs about ourselves that keep you focused on your problems
2. unhealthy beliefs about others that result in giving away our power.
3. unhealthy beliefs about the world e.g. that the world owes us something
and invites you to start with one small step towards a resilient and whole you.
2. The choices we make define us
In this wonderful talk by prolific healer and author Caroline Myss talks about the choices that change our lives. The choice to take risks because we can't "[...] look backwards for guidance because there is nothing back there - that part of your life is over". The choice to frame our lives with the power of great words because "every word is a universe unto itself" and "entitled, blame and deserve" are the three most toxic of all, because they cut off connection. My research shows that if you look at the witch trials, these are the exact same feelings which underpinned the accusations that saw thousands of women executed for witchcraft - they truly are dangerous ways of being. Myss offers an alternative: make the choice to bless your day just for because you are alive and this exact day will never come again.
3. Vulnerability is essential to wholehearted living
Researcher-storyteller Brene Brown makes has made shame and fear household conversations, empowering women, men and children around the world to form deeper relationships. She highlights that the only difference between those who have a strong sense of love and belonging and those who don't is that they believe they are worthy of it. Feeling like we are not worthy of something is what keeps it from us. And those who feel worthy - they're courageous, compassionate with themselves, authentic and vulnerable.
One of the most important takeaways from this talk is that when we numb our hard feelings (with food, medicine or false certainty) we also numb our joy, gratitude and love. We have to start with believing we are enough. I seriously can't say enough wonderful things about Brene, her podcast is on all the time in our house and her books are wonderful. Whilst I studied how shame and fear manifest at the cultural level and the long term consequences of their presence in society Brene is changing that culture
4. Why we have to have the brave conversations in our lives
In this brave talk, Mellody Hobson talks about growing up believing you can be anything, in a world that doesn't believe it back, and how we can support the next generation of dreamers not only by living our dreams but by helping others live theirs too. Diversity in business and in society is a good thing, resulting in greater problem solving and growth than is possible if we all remain in tight boxes with others whose experience matches our own. Whilst the talk is primarily about race, she highlights that this can mean inviting scientists with farmers to the same table, or any other kind of intersectional and/or interdisciplinary encounters. As a highly interdisciplinary scholar and someone who has been actively involved in conversations around the invisibility of white privilege, I love her invitation is to be brave and inclusive. She asks that we all hold space for the success of others, noting that it contributes to our overall success. This is the true essence of manifesting - abundance mindset.
5. Following your dreams might be scary, but isn't it worse to face a whole life without even trying to go after them?
I picked this one because actress/show runner of Working Moms, Reitman is so relatable. She's not a researcher, she's someone who made a real choice as a real working mom. She talks about postnatal depression and going back to work too fast. And about the moment she realised that the failure she might experience if she tried to go for her dreams couldn't be worse than the failure she would live for the rest of her life knowing she never tried. Reitman reminds us that if you don't get in the arena, you'll never know what you could do.
6. Our life here is precious, be an active appreciator of the goodness around you.
In this beautiful short talk, Brian Doyle reminds us that being thankful is so much more powerful when we share it with the world rather than just writing it in our diaries. When we really stop to appreciate people, magic happens in their lives and ours. Inner contemplation of gratitude is a wonderful practice, but externalising it is an activity that transforms your manifesting. I didn't realise how power it was as a practice until I kindled a new friendship with an old boyfriend in my mid-twenties. We had dated at least 5 years before, but the one thing he commented on having missed and remembered fondly was the gratitude and genuine appreciation that I showed friends and strangers, animals, trees and even sometimes expressed (out loud, in public) to inanimate objects.
7. How saying YES can change your life by showing you more of who you really are
In this incredible, poetic talk, Shonda Rimes talks about "the hum" of being a workaholic titan and and what happens when the hum stops. And about "the other hum" - that she didn't know she didn't know - until she started saying yes to everything, including play. In play she discovered the vibration of joy and love when it resonates through our lives and everything we do. Her invitation... to play. To follow joy and find the real you. I also highly recommend her book, which is genuine, openhearted and inspiring.
8. Luck isn't something that just appears and disappears on a whim, it's connected to who we are and how we behave.
Seelig shares from her twenty years teaching entrepreneurs how positive risk taking is associated with experiencing good luck. Just taking the chance to talk to a stranger can open up life changing opportunities one small risk at a time. She recommends sending thank you notes at the end of every day to every person that she met with, and that we change our relationship with ideas. Again this is something which is very close to my own personal experience, and I have many stories that started with a small positive risk; from a close friendship that was started by slipping a note into her bag, to a business partnership that came about through a chain events that started with a LinkedIn message to tell someone I loved the fact she called herself a "Sales Witch" as her job title.
9. Adverse childhood experiences have real health and mental health consequences that we mustn't hide from.
Nadine Burke Harris
Nadine Harris' talks about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how the sooner we say "this is real, and this is all of us" the sooner society wide healing becomes possible. The truth is that we all have trauma in our lives, but we talk ourselves out of acknowledging it by emphasising that other people have "worse" trauma or even that theirs is "real" and ours is not. Even people with severe trauma do this - as a multiple trauma survivor, I did it for many years and I've worked with a great many women with extreme trauma stories who have shared in this self-deception. The hope? That as long as we can keep going in some semblance of functionality, it's not "real" trauma and we don't have to look at it.
This is dangerous because the trauma itself (plus the shame) and the way in which we fold ourselves around it in less than authentic ways in order to live our lives costs us mentally and physically. Even without us ever acknowledging our trauma, in adulthood this can look like settling for abusive relationships, addictive behaviours, reduced life expectancy, intimacy issues and more. Harris talks of a world where we are all educated on trauma, work to heal it, and know how to respond to it in our own lives and others. This is 100% the world I aspire to manifest for all of us. We get more of what we are not what we want. As long as we keep trauma locked inside us, we will manifest from trauma.
By Dr Morgana McCabe Allan
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by Dr Morgana McCabe Allan