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← Paying attention | Chris Fraser | TEDxColumbus

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Showing Revision 6 created 03/13/2020 by Tanya Cushman.

  1. I would like to ask everyone
    in this beautiful, beautiful audience,
  2. just like he said,
  3. When and have you ever -
  4. think back to your childhood -
  5. have you ever been taught formally
    how to pay attention?
  6. I'm talking somebody sat you down, said,
  7. "Step 1. Step 2. Step 3.
  8. This is how you pay attention."
  9. I'd like a show of hands
  10. if you who were formally taught
    how to pay attention
  11. when you were a child.
  12. (Laughter)
  13. Now, for those of you who are wondering,
  14. What in the world did he just say?
  15. and who are thinking
    about who's the next presenter
  16. or did I actually put deodorant on today?
  17. (Laughter)
  18. You're like me.
  19. As you can see.
  20. You are like me.
  21. Oh my goodness.
  22. I struggled and I still struggle
    with paying attention.
  23. And I tell you what,
  24. I'm going to take you back
    to that elementary school era.
  25. Do you remember the coat closet?
  26. This time of year,
    everybody's got their coats,
  27. and you've got all your cubbies
  28. and the things you brought to school
    you're not allowed to bring into class.
  29. One day, my teacher
    thought it was a good idea -
  30. one of those days I'm out in la-la land:
  31. "Chris, Chris."
  32. She took me and brought me
    into that coat closet and said,
  33. "I think you'll pay attention
    better in here."
  34. And she closed the door behind me,
  35. and I went, looked around,
    I said, "Oh, yeah."
  36. I took all those coats,
    and I threw them all on the floor -
  37. big pile, big pile.
  38. And I took the diddle sheets,
    laid them down,
  39. and I fell asleep right on top of them,
  40. and I just lay there,
  41. and I feel asleep for three hours -
  42. the teacher forgot about me.
  43. (Laughter)
  44. And she opens the door, and I wake up,
  45. and my first thing was like,
  46. "Yeah. I slept through school!
  47. That's awesome."
  48. And then I head out, all happy, you know,
  49. and then I get my friends
    looking at me, going,
  50. "Dude, what were you doing in there, man?"
  51. (Laughter)
  52. "What? I ... "
  53. and then it turned
    to "What's wrong with me?"
  54. I was the kid in the coat closet, man.
  55. Ah, man.
  56. And then you fast forward
    a few more years.
  57. Picture this: a classroom,
  58. beautiful tables all lined up,
  59. and here is this 1970-style study carrel,
  60. back in the corner, orange.
  61. Big circular, cool,
    '70s-style kind of thing.
  62. There was a little window
    where you could peek out.
  63. Well, that's where they put me.
  64. And I was sitting back there one day,
  65. out in la-la land.
  66. You put a kid like me out there,
  67. and I'm looking off and thinking
    about space, all kinds of stuff,
  68. and I look over,
  69. and I see Big Brian,
  70. and Big Brian's another kid
    who had trouble paying attention.
  71. And Big Brian's butt crack
    is like, like, like fully exposed,
  72. and I'm thinking to myself,
  73. "How many spitballs can I get
    down Big Brian's butt crack
  74. (Laughter)
  75. before Big Brian notices?"
  76. And the answer is 20.
  77. (Laughter)
  78. 20.
  79. At 20, Big Brian
    jumped up and said, "Hey!"
  80. And my teacher grabbed me by the neck
    and took me into the hallway,
  81. took more diddle paper sheets
    and put me in the hallway,
  82. and in the hallway,
  83. I'm sitting there, going,
    "Man, this is sort of cool."
  84. But then, yet again, the same thought:
  85. "What the heck's wrong with me, man?
  86. Why am I out here?"
  87. Well, I survived - oh my goodness.
  88. I survived hellementary -
    I mean, elementary school,
  89. and middle school -
  90. oh, don't even talk about middle school.
  91. But here we are, high school graduation.
  92. High school graduation -
  93. I'm sitting here, in the line,
  94. everybody's all happy,
  95. I'm sweating like I am now
  96. because I had to get a 94
    on my Spanish exam to graduate,
  97. and I'm siiting there, thinking,
  98. "Please, God,
  99. don't let me be the kid
    in the coat closet again.
  100. Don't let me get the kid
    that's in the study carrel.
  101. Oh, not this time, please."
  102. Well, I tell you what.
  103. That's why I'm standing here today.
  104. I'd like to propose an alternative
    to putting kids in the coat closet,
  105. putting them in study carrels,
  106. and just telling them just to
    plain old "You pay attention."
  107. I want to propose -
  108. because the joy of my life
  109. is in my therapy with children and adults
    who have attentional challenges.
  110. I get to introduce them
    to mindfulness training,
  111. training you how to pay attention:
  112. "Step 1. Step 2. Step 3.
  113. This is how you pay attention."
  114. I wish somebody would have taught me
  115. how to bring your mind back
    from Big Brian's butt crack
  116. to this boring math,
  117. this boring stuff that makes me feel
    like I want to pull my hair out.
  118. How do I say
  119. "Not now, mind.
  120. Look at the teacher's
    funky dangle earrings,
  121. and then she'll think
    I'm paying attention to her."
  122. But that helps.
  123. Well, I tell you what.
  124. My gift today to you all
    is a little taste of mindfulness.
  125. This little taste of mindfulness
    is in four steps,
  126. and so, in a moment,
  127. I'm going to take you through four steps.
  128. The first step is this:
  129. I'm going to have everyone
    close their eyes.
  130. And the second step will be -
  131. I'm going to ring this chime -
  132. I'm going to have you focus
    the best of your ability -
  133. I know it's tough
    for some of us, like me -
  134. focus that down
    just to the tone of that chime.
  135. That's it.
  136. The third step - if you notice
    your mind wandering,
  137. which mine will, even when I'm up here,
  138. if you notice it wandering,
  139. gently bring it back
    to that tone of the chime.
  140. Just gently bring it on back.
  141. And step four is when
    you no longer can hear it,
  142. open your eyes and raise your hand,
    and we'll take a look around.
  143. All right.
  144. Here we go.
  145. One. Two. Three. Eyes closed.
  146. (Chime tone)
  147. Everyone look around.
  148. Beautiful.
  149. 720 people paying attention
    to the same thing at the same time.
  150. Beautiful.
  151. Well, I want everyone out here
  152. to go spread the good news
    of mindfulness training,
  153. and go learn about it,
  154. teach your children,
  155. introduce the challenge for yourself.
  156. So I want start a revolution
  157. because we no longer want to lose
    our dreamers and discoverers and dynamos,
  158. but we want to foster
  159. our future Edisons, our Einsteins,
    our Picassos, our Louisa May Alcotts
  160. and future great, great TED presenters.
  161. Thank you so much.
  162. (Applause)