Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 1st, 2011

Session One of TEDxBeirut: Inspiration regardless of lack of limitations
I have been postponing publishing my article on theTEDxBeirut one-day conference with the slogan “From Limitation to Inspiration”: I had a backlog of a dozen posts to be edited and published. TED means Technology, Education, and Development… 

Note: You may read my previous post on that event for details on eight speakers 
I woke up at 6:30 and Cedric game me ride to the conference.  On the way, Cedric saw the car of David Habchi (the event cartoonist), and the usual conversation lead to something like this: “Wait for me at such and such place…I have to pick up someone…I follow you…” I am thinking: “Great! I’m going to miss the vegan breakfast…”
We arrived in good time and safe. Getting my badge and the bag containing the program and the starting process… were to start at 8:30 am, along with breakfast.  The conference was to begin at 9:30, but effectively was opened at about 10.  I had a slight difficulty because I refused to attach my picture (via internet) to the required information, but TEDx gang knows me (anyway, I brought my ID card for emergency reason). The badge lacked the required information on email address…simply because it lacked my photogenic picture…
I received a black bag as a long time supporter: many had a white/beige color bag.  I guess the content of items were the same:  I needed many items in the bag such as the special TedxBeirut pen and the notebook from Memac Ogilvy, a booklet on the speakers’ biography…Surprise! The breakfast was not vegan by a long shot.  We had French croissants, Lebanese croissants, bastered croissant of bouche manakeesh…Juices, and hot water for mixing Nescafeewith an assortment of powdered cream, sugar (regular and brown)…
People who wanted plain hot water had to wait in line for the others to take time mixing their Nescafee…As the event began, I had this impression that I might be the only one taking actual notes: Most of the audience relied on the audio-visual material to be posted on the internet and the constant stream shown on big screens.  Thus, the audience could play with their balls (the bag contained a red/pink rubber ball for finger-pressing to relieving frustration).  I was cool and relaxed but worked on the ball, and suffered fingers-cramp and had to stretch every finger, one at a time.

Session 1

At 10:08, Sarah Sibai hosted for the entire day (She had just graduated from Oxford). Sarah asked the audience to meet the people who sat next to us, so we did. My neighbors were Hani and Rola Asfour, Hala and Nadine in the row ahead of mine.  It turned out that Rana Abu Rjaili worked at the same company.
The first speaker was Michael Kouly who announced that he was blessed with a new-born Paul-Anthony.  He won’t be the only speaker to delivering these interesting news, as if they are running for election and asking for our compassion…

Michael’s speech was on “Never take as personal failure changes in positions or job transfer…Current responsibilities are basically temporary roles and they are volatile.  We are NOT our role.  Conflict is the norm and we need heat to cook a conflict into resolution. Thus, your main job is to staying on stage and confront conflicts.  Learn to identify and understand authority, the psychology and system of authority: How to dance with elephants, learn the many manifestation of dynamics in role-playing. The default value of 5 in the middle of the scale of ten is: Respect yourself and respect authority.  Going overboard on the two kinds of respect defines your status in the hierarchy.

Be flexible and negotiate with authority. Nelson Mandela was scared shit of the warden on his first day in prison but he took a chance on saying “I am a lawyer, don’t forget it…” Nelson went on “I wished the warden was not looking at my shaking knees…”

Katia Saleh, was next at 10:35 (see the link).  She talked us through her journey into “for dummy movie documentaries” such as the making of Shankaboot, an Emmy award-winning Lebanese web drama. She knew how to make me crack up!
Daniel Habib (at 10:45), accompanied by Tony Oudaimy on the lower bass told us a very intense, supposed be “inspiring” story of survival. I frankly didn’t comprehend the story. It felt like an irresponsible son got his shit together as his mother, the matriarch of the Eskimo tribe or some fast going extinct tribe, died.
Yorgui Teyrouz spoke at 10:50 (see link for details) told us how a car accident sent him to prison, and made him start Donner Sang Compter (a Facebook network of volunteers giving blood) that would eventually save 12,000 lives!
Yorgui Teyrouz behind bars in Roumieh prison; sketched by David Habchi.
Farid Younes spoke at 11:06.  Farid is an Environmental designer, and teaches architectural design and cultural issues in design…He is writing a book “The fallacy of architectural discourse: an idealistic nihilism”.   He spoke on something like bacteria in our body are far more numerous than our body cells…Awareness (wa3i) is responsible to our behavior…rethinking our bad habits?  Probably, I was not that inspired to taking more notes…
Tammam Yamout took the stage at 11:20.  He is a newly wed graphic designer and enjoys long-distance running…He talked of his method to direct people to locating hard addresses to discover and save time explaining how to get there… Tammam co-founded PenguinCube providing services in identity design, “wayfinding design?”…Good speaker, but topic was not inspiring to me…
Mahmoud Natout, spoke at 11: 28.  Mahmoud stood, one leg within the circle of light (for the LBC TV cameras) and the other outside the red circle, and wondered “Should I speak?” Mahmoud had trouble with TED style and didn’t feel comfortable emulating TED speakers: Speakers taking the stage for less than 10 minutes and doing their best to explaining sweeping claims on life, knowledge…He said that he was reluctant being another TED speaker, before conversation with the group of organizers convinced him to go ahead with audition and the long process.And I wondered: “Why the organizers had to convince him the hard way if Mahmoud had nothing to say in the first place?  Couldn’t Mahmoud find a story to tell after he was convinced to speak, except saying that he has reservation…?” I had written and published many posts on my reservations of TEX program…I could find many stories to tell the audience on TED shortcomings, if I knew this could be a fine topic…A coffee-break pause and a few sweet bites at 11:40 before we rejoined the vast auditorium around 12:05.

Note: The English version of the Lebanese “Daily Star” commented on TEDxBeirut conference held on Sept.24 at Berytech institute (Mkales): “It’s a surprising and impressive feat to get 19 speakers, four performers, a 27-member organization team, numerous volunteers (about 55 in all, I counted them on stage) and over 600 attendees into a lecture hall at 9 a.m. on a rainy Saturday morning, but TEDx Beirut achieved it.”

Note 2: Chamas published a post under “Toward Inspiration beyond limitation” a summary of the event. He wrote: “I attended the main TEDxBeirut event, after attending the V2.0 salon. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect.  Unfortunately in Lebanon, any major event is often a big disappointment, but today I am very proud to say that TEDxBeirut topped off any other event this country had in a very long time!
This amazing gathering of so many brains, delicious brains gathered in a very small area, all sharing ideas and thoughts about our world and how to make it better couldn’t have been any more interesting. Today I spent the entire day, and yes, I woke up at 8AM on Saturday, at Berytech Mkalles and got to chat with a gentleman who’s originated from Ohio, USA but happened to be in Lebanon at the time of TEDxBeirut and decided to come.”

“Dissent is Patriotic”:  Who are “Occupy Wall Street protests”?

The American common people are rising from the ashes of institutional liberal capitalist system.

People Street is confronting Wall Street, and the Mega media are refraining from disseminating these “small people” frightening upheavals.

You may access these great news on internet, social platforms, and YouTube…

The people uprising and demonstrations are depicted as a menace to US foundation of democracy, liberty, happiness to all citizens, and weakening US image as a a mighty superpower, which reserved the right to be the world police force…

Unions Head to Support Occupy Wall Street

Citing common cause, the Transport Workers Union, one of the country’s largest unionswith over 200,000 members, has announced its support for the Occupy Wall Street protests. They will join a Friday rally. Other unions are following suit, with a slew of big NYC unions planning an Oct. 5 rally.

The Village Voice interviewed Transport Workers Union Local 100’s spokesman Jim Gannon:

Why did they join? “Well, actually, the protesters, it’s pretty courageous what they’re doing,” he said, “and it’s brought a new public focus in a different way to what we’ve been saying all along. While Wall Street and the banks and the corporations are the ones that caused the mess that’s flowed down into the States and cities, it seems there’s no shared sacrifice. It’s the workers having to sacrifice, while the wealthy get away scot-free. It’s kind of a natural alliance with the young people and the students.  They’re voicing our message and saying “why not join them“?

On many levels, our workers feel an affinity with the kids. They just seem to be hanging out there getting the crap beaten out of them.  Maybe union support will help them out a little bit.”

‎”There is a sprawling apparatus of federal and local militarized police forces, and private corporate security, designed to send this message: “if you participate in protests or other forms of dissent outside of harmless approved channels, you’re going to be harmed in numerous ways” …

‎”But as people seemed to be retreating from harm’s way, police began pushing the protesters. I saw police use large nets to corral people en masse. I watched as police pepper sprayed several young women in the face. (An NYPD spokesperson confirmed the use of pepper spray to MetroFocus.) I saw senior citizens and teenagers get arrested. I saw about 20 or 30 police officers tackle people and prod them roughly with police batons.”

This show of force is all designed to deter any meaningful challenges to the government and corporate institutions, which are suffocating them, to bully those who consider such challenges into accepting its futility. And it works.”

‎”It is the ability ‘to endure frightening situations and know that someone is standing next to you and will be around people”.  It is who have ’empathy toward you,’ that will create the kind of rebellion in America.  A revolt that is necessary to challenge the power of Wall Street and other corporate and special interests that is putting this country the entire planet at risk.

The very idea that one can effectively battle Wall Street’s corruption and control by working for the Democratic Party is absurd on its face: Wall Street’s favorite candidate in 2008 was Barack Obama, whose administration — led by a Wall Street White House Chief of Staff and Wall-Street-subservient Treasury Secretary and filled to the brim with Goldman Sachs officials — is now working hard to protect bankers from meaningful accountability.

For example, why JPMorgan Chase recently donated $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation?


JPMorgan Chase recently donated an unprecedented $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple.

The money will pay for 1,000 new patrol car laptops, as well as security monitoring software in the NYPD’s main data center.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon a note expressing “profound gratitude” for the company’s donation.

“These officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,” Dimon said. “We’re incredibly proud to help them build this program and let them know how much we value their hard work.”

Note: You may hear, view, and read transcripts in the following links

Since when had a “knocking opportunity” failed you?
It is very disturbing trying to explain and define the term opportunity. It is always a gut feeling, a second-split decision, that tells you “if I fail to grab this opportunity I will regret my decision most of my life”. Isn’t a lie when you reply to a good offer “Can I think it over for a day”?
Regret is fundamentally the worst downer in life: You cannot shake off regrets of failed decision to act, you cannot forget the event, you cannot forgive your moment of lazy behavior “to go get it”. 
The regret keeps coming backing and haunting whatever success story you managed to get; it is always: “Just imagine how greater I would have been if I grabbed this and that opportunity…”  
It is a good tactic to master and say YES to an offer and get the game going. Isn’t what you are taught at clowning practices to keeping the play on? has another view to “opportunity grabbing tendencies”.  I certainly has many comments, but first let us read what William has to say:
September 29, 2011Why saying ‘Yes’ to opportunities means setting yourself up for failure

Hanane is telling me about how she has this work opportunity that she doesn’t want to loose. Both she and I know that she doesn’t have the time for this opportunity right now.

The reason many of us fail to succeed is because we can’t let go. We’re afraid to loose opportunities. We say ‘yes’ to every single one.

By doing that, we dilute our efforts. We can’t focus on one project, nor one direction, nor one niche. We try to do everything at once. We try to ‘be’ everything at once. Those of us who are like that, constantly fail to succeed.

Yes, failure is good. It helps us grow and learn. Yet, we have to be careful. This ‘failure-is-good’ philosophy only applies when we fail despite our best efforts; despite our 100% focus and attention.

When we dilute our focus and attention 4 ways (25% each way), and then fail, please let’s not claim that ‘failure-is-good’. Let’s not claim that failure is a learning experience. We all know that 25% effort can’t create a success at anything.

When we’re afraid to lose opportunities; and when we say ‘Yes’ to all of these opportunities, we set ourselves up for failure. We agree to play a game we can’t win at.

Seth Godin failed at 300 businesses so that he can succeed at a few. The trick is that he was 100% dedicated and focused on one business at a time.

Alternately, we too can fail at 300 businesses. The difference is that we won’t succeed at any if them when we’re working on 2 or more at a time.

One of the key ingredients to success, is for us to be ready to turn down tempting opportunities for the sake of focus. One idea at a time. One project at a time. One vision at a time.

Hanane, take up all opportunities and fail to succeed at all of them. Loose all opportunities but one, and succeed over and over again.”

You read this note and you say “wow, this is inspirational”.  You reflect for a minute and you say: “This is just rhetoric: So many rational holes in that idea…”

I get very jittery when I read giving 100% of any abstract concept that has no quantifying basis for evaluation, not been measurable, nor a rigorous operational process for evaluating the concept has been researched and applied.

I read that mankind barely uses 10% of his brain potential, and maybe less than 30% of his physical energy potentials. Does William means by 100% effort, attention, or focus the current developed potential, or we have to wait to develop a certain level of potentials before considering seriously any other opportunities? What level of development can we judge appropriate for taking the second step into opportunity investigation?

William is funny: He cannot help it; he has to accept Seth claims as truth, like “Seth invested 100% effort on each of his 300 failed enterprises…” Seth looks pretty young to me for the claim; as if you can say “I failed” after just a month trial…Just count how many years it took Seth to discover his “calling”.

I say to Hanane: “Go get that opportunity that your heart wants.  You have enough experience, maturity, and you made the effort to let your heart be a winner, this time around. Your heart is the focus of your strongest passions and dreams… Would you dare fail your powerful instinct?”




October 2011

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