TED has popularised the art of presenting big ideas. What gets easily overlooked is how another art is even more essential to a great TED talk: the art of digging deep.
This is the art of not only identifying the stones but actually picking them up and looking under. The art of scratching our heads and asking further. The art of looking for answers as opposed to stopping at the questions. So that we arrive at ideas that don’t just look big but actually are big.
For this, it’s not enough to copy the looks of a TED talk: the structure, the storytelling, the stage layout, the timing. That’s just the surface.
A big idea is not in how the idea looks.
A big idea is in what it inspires. What it changes. Such as a fundamental change of perspective.
More often than not, these ideas originate in the mud and dirt. By digging deep. And getting your fingers dirty.
People on the TED stage are standing there because they have an important story to tell. One that originates from doing the work. Sweating the details. Looking beyond the obvious. Asking the questions and looking for answers.
The problem with our world of inspirational TED-like speeches is that it’s copying the looks of a great TED speech while missing the work that precedes it. These people copy the TED part but not the digging deep part.
Yet, digging deep is the most reliable way of arriving at a big idea talk. Dig deep and do the work. And then, tell a true story about what you worked out.
This is how you light the path.