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← What is enough? | Mike Dickson | TEDxExeter

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Showing Revision 8 created 01/10/2019 by Peter van de Ven.

  1. Hi.

  2. (Superman theme song)
  3. I'm here to talk to you
    for 15 fun-packed minutes
  4. about what is enough
    to live a happy and fruitful life,
  5. and I'm going to tell you all
    how you can become Superman.
  6. And I'm going to weave
    this seamlessly into a story
  7. and hope to get through
    the whole thing in one piece.
  8. This is Charles Handy.
  9. In no particular order,
  10. he's one of the world's leading
    management gurus,
  11. he's an unbelievably nice man,
  12. he's very wise,
    he's written lots of books.
  13. And on one January 1st,
    one New Year's Day,
  14. about five years ago,
  15. he came to see me in my house
    with his wife, Elizabeth.
  16. And welcoming one of the world's
    leading management gurus
  17. into your home on New Year's Day
  18. can put an entirely new light
    on New Year's Eve celebrations.
  19. (Laughter)
  20. I was home and tucked up by 12.
  21. Charles was one of the people
    who created portfolio existence:
  22. the very thought that we might have
    to do several different jobs
  23. in the course of our lives.
  24. And he was also writing a book
    about philanthropy,
  25. and I was writing a book about giving -
    how to give effectively.
  26. And we got on really well.
  27. But it was one of the things
    that we talked about
  28. that left an ever-lasting impression
    on my brain and my mind
  29. and indeed my life,
  30. and that is, What is enough?
  31. And Charles and his wife, Elizabeth,
  32. had decided that they were going to lead
    the life that they wanted to lead.
  33. So, every year, they sit down,
    and they work out
  34. how much money they need to fund
    their simple lifestyle for the year.
  35. Charles adds 20 percent
    because he worries.
  36. (Laughter)
  37. And then they divide
    their year into three.
  38. One-third of the year, Charles works.
  39. He gives management advice,
    makes speeches, and he charges for it.
  40. One-third of his life, he writes books,
  41. and he's written several
    best-selling management books.
  42. And one-third of his life,
    he helps people for nothing.
  43. He does pro bono work.
  44. And as he explained to me,
  45. he did this because he wanted to find
  46. the other parts of his life
    and his character that he could develop.
  47. In his own wonderful words,
    he wanted to maximize his life,
  48. not his income.
  49. And, of course, not all of us can live
    like Charles has rearranged his life,
  50. but we can all decide
    what enough is for us.
  51. We can all sit down and decide how much
    we need to live a happy and fruitful life.
  52. And you'd be interested
    to know that - What is enough? -
  53. there is no definition of what is enough.
  54. There is no right answer.
  55. So, for example, a family living
    in a village in rural Kenya
  56. would need completely different needs
  57. from a family living
    in a city like Exeter or London.
  58. But nevertheless,
  59. having a conversation with yourself
    about what is enough
  60. can have a profound
    and transforming effect on your life.
  61. To begin with,
  62. you won't have to spend
    enormous quantities of money,
  63. buying things that you don't really need.
  64. You can take some time out.
  65. You won't have to work so hard.
  66. You probably won't have to work
    such long hours.
  67. You can do what Charles did.
  68. You can set out to maximize
    your own lives, not your income.
  69. You can perhaps volunteer
    to help a charity.
  70. Let's just take three ideas
    for what is enough.
  71. The average lifetime
    of a driver is 60 years.
  72. If you buy a new car every two years,
  73. you'll be the proud owner
    of 30 brand-new cars.
  74. If you change your car every six years,
    you'd be the proud owner of just 10 cars.
  75. And we all know that a six-year-old car
    goes happily from A to B.
  76. But we'll see, it's 20 less cars.
  77. It's less resources needed
    from our much battered planet.
  78. Take the subject to presents.
  79. Okay, this is engagement time.
  80. Hands up those who every year get presents
    that they don't really want.
  81. (Laughter)
  82. Unbelievable, isn't it?
  83. It's almost the entire audience.
  84. And I'm afraid it follows, sadly,
  85. that you give presents to people
    every year that they don't want either.
  86. (Laughter)
  87. Present-buying done well
    is a wonderful, wonderful thing to do.
  88. Done badly, it's just simply
    a colossal waste of money.
  89. I think eBay, about two Christmases ago,
  90. had something like one million presents
    up on eBay on Christmas Day -
  91. (Laughter)
  92. many of them by 10 o'clock
    in the morning -
  93. it defies description.
  94. Move on to the slightly
    more serious subject of food.
  95. There are one billion people
    in the world hungry
  96. who don't know today -
  97. who don't know how they're going
    to make it through to the end of the week
  98. or, indeed, the end of the month.
  99. And at the same time,
    there are one billion people in the world,
  100. according to the World
    Health Organization,
  101. who are obese or overweight
  102. and probably on diets
  103. or running around in gyms like hamsters.
  104. And in the wonderful Make Poverty History
    video several years ago,
  105. they quite rightly pointed out
  106. that somebody dies with hunger
    and starvation every three seconds.
  107. (Snaps fingers three times)
  108. And at the same time
    as all this is going on,
  109. in North America and Europe,
  110. we throw away three times the food
  111. that would be needed
    to feed the bottom billion.
  112. In the UK alone,
  113. we throw away one-third
    of all the food we buy.
  114. You couldn't really make it up.
  115. There's enough food
    to go around the world.
  116. It just simply doesn't go around.
  117. So, I think that we need
    to live more simply
  118. so that others may simply live.
  119. We need to set out to create
    a world, not acquire it,
  120. to build a world of you and me,
  121. not you or me.
  122. Back to Superman.
  123. Superman's role in life
    was to right wrongs
  124. and fight for social justice.
  125. "And what on earth does this got
    to do with me?" you ask.
  126. Well, the bottom line is
  127. that every single person
    in this theater today,
  128. this week can be Superman
    to one of the bottom billion in the world.
  129. You can provide an education
    for a girl in a village in Bihar
  130. who otherwise would not finish school
  131. but would go to work in the fields
  132. and even worse, be trafficked
    into child prostitution.
  133. You can provide medical help and food
    for a family living in a village in Kenya.
  134. You can provide a microloan,
    50 to 100 pounds,
  135. to help lift a group
    of women start a business
  136. and help lift them
    and their families out of poverty.
  137. A group of you could
    get together at lunchtime,
  138. and you could decide that you're going
    to raise enough money
  139. to buy a well for a village in Ethiopia
  140. that would provide fresh water
    for about 500 people, 500 villagers.
  141. If you do the maths,
  142. 1,500 pounds, 500 villagers -
  143. that's giving fresh water
    to one person or a child in a village
  144. for the price of a latte.
  145. It's quite extraordinary.
  146. Over the last two or three years,
    I've been very fortunate;
  147. I've been able to start
    a couple of charities,
  148. and I've met thousands, literally
    thousands of simply remarkable people
  149. doing wonderful things to change the world
  150. in many different ways
    from the simplest, simplest things
  151. to people of great courage
    who're doing remarkable work,
  152. some of whom, actually,
  153. you're going to meet,
    and you've heard from today.
  154. And I think I've discovered
    the purpose of life.
  155. And that's good, isn't it?
  156. Always.
  157. (Laughter)
  158. It's a very rich TED Talk.
  159. (Laughter)
  160. And the purpose of life
    is to help other people,
  161. to help your family, to help your friends,
  162. to help people who you
    would normally ignore,
  163. and to help people
    you don't even know at all.
  164. And Martin Luther King agrees.
  165. He got there before me.
  166. "Life's persistent
    and most urging question is,
  167. What are you doing
    for the lives of others?"
  168. So, your mission in the next couple
    of weeks, your homework
  169. is to go home and work out
    what enough is for you,
  170. to stop buying stuff you really
    don't want or need or will use,
  171. to get a grip,
  172. (Laughter)
  173. and to turn yourselves into
    Superman or Superwoman
  174. and go out and help
    one of the poorest people in the world,
  175. to help others.
  176. Thank you very much.
  177. (Applause)