Three Lessons from the Pope’s TED 2017 Talk.

TED 2017 Audience listening to Pope

TED 2017 Audience listening to Pope Francis’ video talk in Vancouver BC.

Looking to be inspired?  Check out this 17-minute video.
Pope Francis made a surprise appearance at the TED 2017 annual “Technology, Entertainment and Design” conference in Vancouver on Tuesday as he spoke about power, interaction and the future. The conference’s theme was “The Future You.” Since Wednesday, the video has racked up more than 935,000 views on TED’s website, as well as almost 239,000 views on YouTube:
The pre-recorded talk, titled, “Why the only future worth building includes everyone,” marked the first time the pontiff addressed this international conference—and the first time any sitting pope has made a speech like this.  

“A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you, says His Holiness Pope Francis in this searing TED Talk delivered directly from Vatican City. In a hopeful message to people of all faiths, to those who have power as well as those who don’t, the spiritual leader provides illuminating commentary on the world as we currently find it and calls for equality, solidarity and tenderness to prevail.”

From article by Beki Winchel.

Pope Francis has garnered admiration for his use of social media, but his recent surprise has made even more headlines.

The pontiff took part in TED2017—a nonprofit talk series that stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design”—which was held Tuesday in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Link to Francis’ TED 2017 Talk Transcript

The Verge reported:  According to Bruno Giussani, TED’s international curator, organizing the talk was a huge undertaking. While Pope Francis is on Twitter and Instagram, many at the Vatican weren’t aware of the series, and it took a number of meetings to arrange the speech, which was recorded in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis’s home in Vatican City. Filmed in April, the talk was then edited and translated by aby a group of 40 translators. (The talk is currently subtitled in 20 languages.)

 

 

His speech has several life lessons, but Francis also had advice for business leaders and brand managers. NPR reported:

… [H]is message quickly moved to the conference’s core subject matter (technology and innovation), and seemed to be directed at the audience in the room: the founders of some of the world’s biggest tech companies, as well as politicians, artists, entertainers, venture capitalists and leaders of major cultural institutions and foundations.

Here are a few takeaways:

1. Focus on your audience. The Future is Achievable if we all stick together.  Pope Francis said:… “I would love it if this meeting could help to remind us that we all need each other, none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent “I,” separated from the other, and we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.”

He later cautioned against focusing on products and systems, instead of the people they serve:

“Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the “culture of waste,” which doesn’t concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techno-economic systems which, without even realizing it, are now putting products at their core, instead of people.”

WHY THEM and NOT ME  “As I meet, or lend an ear to those who are sick, to the migrants who face terrible hardships in search of a brighter future, to prison inmates who carry a hell of pain inside their hearts, and to those, many of them young, who cannot find a job, I often find myself wondering: “Why them and not me?” I, myself, was born in a family of migrants; my father, my grandparents, like many other Italians, left for Argentina and met the fate of those who are left with nothing. I could have very well ended up among today’s “discarded” people. And that’s why I always ask myself, deep in my heart: “Why them and not me?”

2. Use your power wisely.  ” Don’t let technological innovation blind us to others’ suffering.”

The pope encouraged listeners—especially those in positions of power—to act humbly and with tenderness:

“Please, allow me to say it loud and clear: the more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other. There is a saying in Argentina: “Power is like drinking gin on an empty stomach.” You feel dizzy, you get drunk, you lose your balance, and you will end up hurting yourself and those around you, if you don’t connect your power with humility and tenderness.”

3. You can make a difference. “The revolution of tenderness.”

It can be easy to think that one person’s words or actions can’t affect much, especially when widespread change is necessary. However, that’s not the case.

Francis said:   The future of humankind isn’t exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies. Yes, they do hold an enormous responsibility. But the future is, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognize the other as a “you” and themselves as part of an “us.” We all need each other.

“A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you,” Pope Francis said in the video. “And then there will be another ‘you,’ and another ‘you,’ and it turns into an ‘us.’ And so, does hope begin when we have an ‘us?’ No. Hope began with one ‘you.’ When there is an ‘us,’ there begins a revolution.

“Tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude,” Francis said. “It is the path of solidarity, the path of humility. Please, allow me to say it loud and clear: The more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other.”

A Washington Post news analysis offered this:

In case you missed it, here is the most powerful man in the Catholic Church, humbly asking a bunch of TED conference attendees to keep him in their thoughts, seeking their help as he goes about his work.

That kind of role-modeling helps underscore his message in a world that still muddles authority with leadership and conflates power with muscle-flexing. It offers an example for a world where an American president—one who never apologizes and mostly speaks in boastful superlatives—campaigned that “ I alone can fix it ” and considers “ strong control ” evidence of a better leader. It’s an immediate illustration of what humility in leadership looks like.

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