The Irrationality of Believing

TEDx Cape Town

“I did a TEDx talk.” That’s not something I thought I’d ever say. I’m a HUGE fan of the TED concept, and have spent countless hours delving into the crazy cool, inspiring, mind-boggling, universe-expanding collection of talks available on this incredible platform. Never in a million years did I think I’d find myself on the TEDx stage sharing my story, the “The Irrationality of Believing”.

When I was first approached by TEDxCapeTown to speak at this year’s “Amazing People, Crazy Places”, I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly in the head or heartspace that believed I could do justice to this “idea worth spreading”, but life has a funny way of slapping you up the side of the head to get you back on track, and this epic experience has been one giant, necessary defibrillation! I didn’t have any answers, I didn’t have a “success story”, but as it turns out, that’s exactly where my story was…

The concept of believing and dreaming is so often glossed over with well-arranged words that have no real-life context. It’s easy to quote platitudes and tell the world to believe in something. Actually applying it to your life, and acting on it, is a different story altogether. But in so many ways, the process of sharing this story has reminded me why I am still fighting, and has fixed me in a way, repairing the broken hope that I was struggling to hold on to. The concepts of believing and dreaming, of fear, success, and staying brave are tricky to sum up in 18 minutes, and I could talk about this stuff for hours…

The process of writing this reminded me that I still believe, with every ounce of my being, that this is who I am, not simply what I do (see previous musing, “Music Is Not What I Do” from June 2012). In the talk I mention that “my brain says that this is who I am”, and it was quite fascinating while brainstorming this talk that most people questioned the notion of the brain ruling my decision to pursue my dream, when it’s ordinarily viewed as a heart-based decision. While most people view their brain and heart as two separate entities playing a balancing act in governing the decisions that we make (most often with the brain dominating because it’s more “realistic”), I don’t believe that following your heart should be something that your brain isn’t in complete agreement with. Surely one’s happiness is paramount? My heart and brain function as one decision-making organ, in every part of my life, so it’s natural for me to make decisions based on what my heart wants because my brain says it’s irresponsible not to, whenever that is realistically (and sometimes not so realistically) possible – ie. “The Irrationality of Believing”. Granted, I’m still no closer to making this dream viable or “realistic”, but I’ve fallen in love with my dream again. And I’m holding on tighter than ever before.

To the TEDxCapeTown team, a HUGE thank you for this incredible opportunity, for believing that I had a story worth sharing, and for essentially playing an epic role in helping me find my way back from broken. You have no idea how much this whole experience has changed and grown me on a personal level.

Sitting on that stage, playing that beautiful piano, and telling this story was a crazy beautiful moment, and I am completely overwhelmed by the response, and the countless messages from the honest, open hearts that heard it. Thank you for listening. I’m so proud to be able to share this story, of everything it says about where I’ve come from, what I believe in, what I’m fighting for, and of who I am. The professional dreamer.

Take every chance you can possibly take. Chase every dream you have ever believed in. Live every moment as if it’s the last. What are you waiting for? Just believe.

It was a pretty crazy process preparing this talk, and it wouldn’t be what it is without the incredible support I’ve had from the inspired people I’m lucky enough to share this crazy world with. Thanks to Kate, Jacqui, Kelly, Iain, Gareth, Sue, Justin, and Mark, for lending an ear, and for your reassurance. Extra special thanks to Dorin Bambus from Gorilla Creative Media for his challenging input and invaluable brainstorming, and to Travis Gale from Appletree Catalyst Agency who offered some key insight into the process of authentic sharing. Thanks also to Kawai Pianos for spoiling me with another beautiful instrument for the occasion – it is always the most epic pleasure to play absolute perfection!

© Shannon Hope 2017