TED: Ask “Why” not “What”

I watched numerous TED Talks but one that inspired me was Simon Sinek’s “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” This TED Talk is directed toward improving sales, how to capture the audience of a product, and how to beat the competition but it got me thinking about how it could apply to education.

Please watch this video & see if it inspires you too.

This inspired me because he was classifying Apple, Martin Luther King Jr. & the Wright Brothers all together & I wanted to see what his message was.

Simon says we need to think with the idea of the “Golden Circle” at the forefront of our creative process.

Photo CC- Brit Lenzgolden circle

We need to start thinking from the inside out. Instead of telling students what is going to be learned, we need to explain why WE (as a teacher) think it is important. We need to sell them on why we teach & why they need to learn their multiplication tables instead of what & how. If we are not invested & fully, passionately believe in what we are teaching, how can we expect our students to envelope the lessons at hand?

Why—It is explains our cause and purpose. We need to focus on the WHY, not the what and how as much.

The examples that Simon gives are applicable for each person & relatable. Why don’t we buy MP3 players from Dell and we do from Apple? It’s all in the approach.

Why do we bash our current education system instead of striving to change one classroom at a time?

We need to find that passion.

His second illustration was the “Diffusion of Innovation” which only intensified that only a fraction of people are willing to be the first to try something. Most won’t try until they see others have success with it. Like he says, we need to be a person who leads, not a leader. We need to lead because we want to, not because we have to. It all starts with the innovators, which is only 2.5% of people, then 13.5% are willing to “stick their necks out” to try something brand new, followed by 34% of early majority who are okay with an idea once they’ve seen the previous 13.5% try it and have success. The last 34% are late to follow & the 16% of laggers have no interest in something new.

I think this is true for the marketing world but also true for educators.

photo CC-Brit Lenzdiffusion of innovation

In order for others to follow us with passion, we need to find that passion ourselves.

The moral of the story: Tell people WHY you believe something, instead of WHAT you believe & how it works. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, why would anyone want to follow you?

Real Talk.

Just like Simon here, I don’t feel a need to create a product & have America buy it but I felt a passion for explaining why what I’m doing is important & how to inspire others to see my views.

TED Talks always get me inspired—I guess that’s their purpose—and I leave feeling ready to take on the world. I leave feeling like I want to know more.


4 thoughts on “TED: Ask “Why” not “What”

  1. I love this! The biggest question kids (I never really did, I don’t think) always ask in classrooms is “when are we ever gonna use this stuff?!” Starting with “why” from the get-go would cut that out, and potentially increase interest.
    Granted, kids are kids, and keeping their intention is nigh but impossible, but still, giving some practicality to their learning rather than just rolling with “because we said so” is bound to produce better results.

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