Rejecting Normal


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This slideshow is meant to accompany my TEDx talk

Published in: Education, Sports, Technology

Rejecting Normal

  1. Rejecting Normal Jeanne Trojan @jmtcz Flickr Ashley Rose These boxes are a summary of my live presentation message.
  2. I’m American but I’ve lived in the Czech Republic since 1995. Now, I have a Czech husband and a son and you could say I have a unique perspective on Czech society – as both an insider and an outsider. I’d like to share my observations with you.
  3. normal Being ‘normal’ seems to be really important to Czechs. But, we all have an idea of what ‘normal’ is, depending on the groups we belong to. This ‘normal’ affects how we dress, the gadgets we buy, how we act and think.
  4. Flickr Tiago A. Pereira For example, there’s a ‘normal’ for a geek group...
  5. Flickr iamagloworm …an ‘alternative’ or artistic group…
  6. Flickr Elvert Barnes …or a banker group. The people in these groups tend to look like each other because the group tells them what is ‘normal’.
  7. Flickr Rich Lem So, you could say that ‘normal’ is being like everyone else. It’s worrying about what others think of you, it’s trying to fit in and not stand out. I think you should start rejecting ‘normal’.
  8. Flickr Stuck in Customs But, what’s the opposite of ‘normal’? I don’t think the opposite is crazy or weird.
  9. exceptional I think the opposite of ‘normal’ is exceptional.
  10. Flickr tamara ‘Exceptional’ is not caring what other people think about you. It’s going your own way, doing your own thing. Being exceptional is standing out. And, I think it makes for a much richer and more interesting life.
  11. four changes I think there are four changes you can make to start rejecting ‘normal’ and start being more exceptional. (Although this talk is directed at a Czech audience, I think the changes can be applied everywhere.)
  12. #1 talk to strangers Flickr sea turtle
  13. Flickr benimoto At many events, I see lots of people just standing by themselves or only staying with their friends. They are missing out on a great opportunity to meet new people.
  14. It’s not what you know. It’s who you know. This statement is usually talking about succeeding in business, but I think it can apply to life in general. Meeting new people can really enrich your life.
  15. Flickr Stephanie Giner But, most people are afraid to meet new people because they’re afraid they will be rejected. It can happen, but remember that some people are just jerks. Don’t worry about it, just move on and find great people.
  16. Flickr Phil Moore Don’t let the fear of rejection hold you back from meeting fun and interesting people. This will make for a much more interesting life.
  17. #2 change your envy Flickr blue elephant
  18. Flickr Hot Rod Homepage We often make unhealthy comparisons with people whose lives we can never have. ‘Friends’ is a fictional example of this kind of comparison.
  19. Flickr Andrew Feinberg But there are plenty of real-life examples of people we make unhealthy comparisons with. You are probably never going to have Mark Zuckerberg’s life…
  20. unhealthy comparisons lead to… Flickr drakegoodman
  21. schadenfreude I’m using a German word because there isn’t an English word to express ‘happiness through someone else’s misery’.
  22. škodolibost But, there is a Czech word for it.
  23. Flickr slworking 2 Schadenfreude is the reason tabloids sell so well. We like hearing about bad things happening to successful people.
  24. ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ But there is a better way to react to envy.
  25. Flickr Mark Nye Mr. Jones could be your neighbor. But, he has a better job, is in better shape and his kids go to a better school. ‘Schadenfreude’ says that if his house burns down, you would feel better about this situation.
  26. Flickr imagemanhunter But ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ is all about you. What can you do to have a better life? The focus is on making things happen for you not hoping something bad happens to Mr. Jones. This is the reaction to envy I want you to have.
  27. #3 look for the positive Flickr sasastro
  28. Flickr kk+ Czechs have an amazing talent for finding the negative in almost every situation. It’s strange for me because I’m just a naturally sunny, optimistic person. I believe that being positive and friendly can affect the experiences you have.
  29. Flickr jon.hayes I believe in being especially nice to ‘invisible people’. These are people that we see every day and we don’t think they have much power. They are cashiers at the grocery store…
  30. Flickr gagilas … or receptionists and secretaries. I think they have a lot of power, actually.
  31. they have the power to make your mood
  32. Flickr win.s. When I have a positive interaction with one of these people, it has the power to change how I feel about the day. And, they appreciate kindness and reciprocate.
  33. people are basically good I also believe that most people have good intentions. And, when we approach people with this belief, it can change the way they treat you.
  34. Flickr aturkus Taxi drivers in Prague have a terrible reputation, especially for ripping off foreigners.
  35. Back in 1997, I took a taxi home after my birthday party in the city. The taxi driver and I had a great conversation, even with limited language skills on both sides. About 20 minutes after he dropped me off, I heard him calling to me outside my window. I looked out and there he was holding up the camera I had left in his car. He had driven all the way back to return it to me. Amazing things can happen when you expect the positive from people.
  36. #4 stop complaining Czechs are great complainers. That’s ok, but I would like to see more of this attitude…
  37. ‘shit or get off the pot’ Flickr dpitmedia
  38. No jo no. Co mám dělat? Flickr joel wilis …and much less of this (‘oh well, what can I do about it?’)
  39. Flickr khowaga1 Many people are quick to complain, but they don’t make the effort to change the situation.
  40. Flickr Tim Dorr I see this at many events. Everyone stands around and complains about the event, but they aren’t talking to the organizers or offering to help make it better.
  41. try to change it or…
  42. stfu Flickr Katie Tegtmeyer If people only complain and they aren’t willing to be part of the solution, fewer people will want to organize events and this community will suffer for it.
  43. four changes
  44. meet people Flickr gothick matt Set a goal for yourself – at every event, aim to meet at least three new people before you hang out with your friends.
  45. work on yourself Flickr xinit org Don’t get caught in the trap of schadenfreude. Start improving your life so you don’t feel envy so much.
  46. expect something positive Flickr pat makhoul When you start to expect positive things to happen with people or situations, you can have amazing experiences. Try it.
  47. change something Flickr Hey There Spaceman Think of something that really pisses you off and find out how you can change it.
  48. Flickr Daniel 1977 If you ask a two year old, ‘Are you normal?’, she won’t know what to say because she doesn’t really know what it means yet and she doesn’t care. Can we get back to that?
  49. Flickr Pro-Zak Because, if you think about it, we have a really, really long time to be exactly like everyone else.
  50. Flickr Niccolo Carranti Let’s use the time that we have to work on being exceptional.
  51. Rejecting Normal Jeanne Trojan @jmtcz Flickr Ashley Rose