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  1. Ten years ago,
  2. I quit my job as a bookseller,
  3. I packed my luggage and I left
    to live in Los Angeles.
  4. I didn’t know anyone there but
    I knew I wanted to make movies
  5. so it made sense to me
    to go to Hollywood.
  6. After a few years
    I came back to France,
  7. and when people would ask me:
    "What do you do in life?"

  8. I would reply:
    "I'm a filmmaker, I make movies."
  9. "I’m just back from a few years in L.A.”
  10. At that moment I would often
    see a sparkle lit in their eyes
  11. as they'd say, "That's amazing!
    what kind of films do you do?
  12. Can we watch them at
    the movie theater?
  13. Have you worked with famous people?”
  14. And I would reply:
    "I direct mostly fiction."
  15. You can't watch y films at
    the movie theatre...
  16. not yet!
  17. And no...
  18. no, I haven’t worked with
    anyone famous.”
  19. At that moment there would be a silence
    long enough for their enthusiasm
  20. to go down a few inches.
  21. And then we would keep on talking
    about Los Angeles.
  22. Little by little,
  23. tired of seeing people’s reaction
    going from curious to disappointed
  24. when they would realize
    that I was a "wannabe"
  25. I started lying about what I was doing.
  26. I stopped saying
    "I'm a filmmaker"
  27. to say “I work as a freelance.”
  28. I stopped saying "I make films"
  29. to say “I make videos for clients.”
  30. It sounded less dreamy
  31. but it was useful and practical.
  32. We would talk about how to find clients,
  33. how to bill them, about gear.
  34. And more importantly,
  35. I stopped feeling like I had
    to apologize for my lack of success.
  36. I began to feel a bit weird
    about it though.
  37. I started to wonder:
    "Why do you lie about what you do?"
  38. And why do you feel compelled
    to diminish people's expectations
  39. so they won’t think you’ve failed?
  40. It’s at that point that I really started
    to become interested
  41. about the concept of “success”.
  42. And at how it has evolved
    in the last few years,
  43. especially with social media's arrival
    in our lives that reminds us daily
  44. how we rank on the graph of success
  45. compared to the other 8 billion.
  46. This ranking on the “success graph”
    explains why sometimes,
  47. when we talk with people,
    a contest starts
  48. to find out who has the most impact.
  49. It’s conveyed through innocent words:
  50. “I know X person”
  51. “X number of people follow me”,
  52. “I visited X number of countries”,
  53. “I was a speaker at X event”.
  54. Giving a TED Talk is great
    to win an impact contest.
  55. Thank you TED.
  56. Power and Success have always existed.
  57. And they’ve always been a fuel
    for some people,
  58. and obstacles for others.
  59. But in the last few years,
    things have become so intense
  60. that I’ve already found myself
    listening to 24-year-olds
  61. explaining to me that they had
    abandoned a dream or an idea
  62. before they had even started.
  63. And the reason why they
    had given up before even trying
  64. is because they were paralyzed by
    the success of people younger than them
  65. that they were witnessing daily
    on social media.
  66. I’ve listened to 24-year-olds explaining
    to me that if they really had something
  67. to achieve on this planet, they should
    have had their breakthrough by now.
  68. At 24 they didn’t feel old,
    they felt expired.
  69. We have developed a surprising
    relationship with what we could call
  70. our “expiration date”.
  71. We used to have one expiration date:
    it was the date of our death.
  72. Today we have a second expiration date
    in our lives, and it's
  73. our social expiration date.
  74. The idea that when we do something,
    its value must be recognized and
  75. measurable to exist.
  76. And if we don’t receive immediately
    a positive feedback about what we do,
  77. or worse, if what we do is deemed
    useless, ridicule, or a failure,
  78. then we feel socially expired.
  79. And that’s how some 24-year-olds
  80. prefer to go sit on the bench to
    watch History create itself
  81. without them, rather than
    risking to do something
  82. and not receive immediately
    a positive feedback.
  83. While I was looking into
    what "success" means today
  84. and into our date of social expiration,
  85. I’ve realised that my job is not
  86. to write screenplays or direct films.
  87. My job is to fabricate stories.
  88. It’s a job that might seem
    useless, but actually,
  89. storytelling is the best way that we,
    humans, have found to survive.
  90. Tonight,
  91. if we’ve all come onto this stage
    to talk to you for 15 minutes,
  92. it’s because the best way to
    convey an idea is to do it
  93. with a story.
  94. In 2018, we could have made a
    pdf with each TED Talk's main idea
  95. summed up in one sentence,
    and emailed it to you.
  96. Really, we could have done it.
  97. It would have cost you less money,
    and it would have taken us less time.
  98. But the power of the messages
    we are trying to share
  99. would have evaporated.
  100. We know it and you know it.
  101. And that’s why you are here tonight,
    to listen to stories that might open
  102. a world of possibilities.
  103. In 1944,
  104. Professors Fritz Heider and Marianne
    Simmel conducted a test.
  105. They showed a video
    to a group of students
  106. and asked them to answer
    a series of questions
  107. to describe what they had seen.

  108. I’m going to show you 15 seconds
    of the video,
  109. it’s going to be quick
  110. but I invite you to try
    to answer this question:
  111. “What am I seeing on the screen?”
  112. That was 15 seconds.
  113. When they reviewed the questionnaires,
  114. Heider and Simmel discovered
    that 33 out of 34 students
  115. had fabricated a story.
  116. They had imputed motives,
  117. emotions, and behaviours
  118. to the geometrical figures
    that were randomly moving
  119. through space that you just saw.

  120. This study was one of the first
    scientific study to confirm
  121. that our brain understands
    the world through stories.
  122. We cannot help but give meaning
    to the world that surrounds us.
  123. And to give meaning to the world
    that surrounds us,
  124. we fabricate stories.
  125. Knowing that,
    that stories are essential
  126. to our survival and to our life,
  127. I want to tell you another
    story about success.
  128. An alternative to the current notion
    that paralyzes so many people today.
  129. Earlier I said that we
    had two expiration dates:
  130. the date of our death and
    the date of our social expiration
  131. that we give to ourselves
    sooner and sooner.
  132. What I did not tell you…
  133. is that a phone is ringing right now.
  134. What I didn’t tell you is
    that we all have a joker.
  135. We all have the possibility
    to become a good story.
  136. We all have the possibility to become
    a good story that is going to inspire
  137. other human beings and
    help them move forward.
  138. And there’s one group of people
    whose job is to distribute jokers:
  139. the story fabricators.
  140. Lucky me: it’s my job.
  141. My job is to hunt, to imagine,
    and to share the stories
  142. of people with a surprising,
    innovating and impactful destiny,
  143. and who embodies strong ideas.
  144. And currently, we are living through
    an extremely interesting period.
  145. Just like archeologists,
  146. we are digging out new stories,
    different stories.
  147. Stories of people who often did not receive
    immediate and positive feedback
  148. about the worth of what
    they were doing and who,
  149. 5, 50, 100, 200, 500 years later
  150. end up at the center of the
    storytelling stage to help us,
  151. the new generations, to better
    understand the world
  152. and to move forward.
  153. For example, some of you
    might recognize the name of
  154. Georgina Reid.
  155. A textile designer who, in 1971,
    when she was 63, decided that
  156. what she really wanted to do was
    to save her little town's lighthouse
  157. that was at risk of falling down
    due to the cliff's erosion.
  158. Georgina created a whole system
    that she patented.
  159. She presents her project to
    the coast guards,
  160. they listen to her and say:
  161. “We won’t prevent you from doing it
    but we won't help you out either."
  162. Okay, no problem.
  163. For 15 years, helped by her husband
    and volunteers, Georgina used
  164. her knowledge and her time
    for free, to prevent the lighthouse
  165. to prevent the lighthouse
    from falling down.
  166. And she will succeed.
  167. Georgina died in 2001, but
    the lightouse is still here.
  168. And then, 3 years ago,
    a French story fabricator,
  169. Pénélope Bagieu, gave a joker
    to Georgina.
  170. She shared Georgina’s story
    in a graphic novel dedicated
  171. to several women who changed
    their story and sometimes History
  172. in unexpected ways.
  173. It’s thanks to a story fabricator
  174. that 200,000 French people
    and myself, have been inspired
  175. by Georgina and her determination
    to fight for something
  176. that mattered to her even though
    officially she was told it didn't.
  177. Georgina was able to become
    a good story because she was
  178. an active actress of her story.
  179. She didn’t settle for wishing that
    the lighthouse wouldn't fall down.
  180. No, she did what she had to do
    to make sure the lighthouse
  181. wouldn’t fall down.
  182. And this word, “doing”,
  183. is one of the three steps
    to become a good story.
  184. In reality, the recipe to become
    a good story is simple.
  185. Well, it fits into three steps.
  186. First, you have to listen
    to your intuition,
  187. to hear what each one of us
    individually, really want to do.
  188. And once you’ve listened to it,
  189. you need to muster the courage
    to go for it, and do it.
  190. And once you’ve had
    the courage to do it,
  191. you need to repeat.
  192. Every day, you need to
    do it again.
  193. Today we are under a lot of pressure
    when it comes to the projects
  194. we decide to pursue.
  195. They need to have a goal.
  196. If they don't have a goal, then
    they are not serious.
  197. And if they are not serious,
    then they are worth nothing.
  198. I completely disagree with
    this way of thinking.
  199. If there’s one thing I've
    learned this past decade,
  200. hunting and fabricating stories,
  201. it's that the value of what we do
    is not fixed in time.
  202. The value of what we do
    can have a surprising impact
  203. in five years, in fifty years,
    after our death or
  204. our great-grand-children’s death.
  205. So there’s no point to try
    picking something that will have
  206. an impact instantaneously.
  207. We can’t know if it will happen.
  208. We should just keep on doing.
  209. And these three steps:
    listening to yourself,
  210. going for it, and
    doing it again,
  211. they are crystallized in
    Carmen Herrera’s story.
  212. Carmen Herrera was born in La Havana in 1915.
  213. At a young age she realizes that
    what she really wants to do
  214. is paint.
  215. So she paints, every day.
  216. And then she realizes that she creates
    minimalist abstract paintings,
  217. exactly at the time when abstract
    minimalism is trendy.
  218. Perfect.
  219. She sells her first painting,
    and then nothing.
  220. She exhibits her work,
    the audience doesn't respond.
  221. She tries to find galleries
    that would exhibit her work,
  222. everybody says no.
  223. And then one day,
  224. Carmen is offered the opportunity
    to exhibit her work again,
  225. and this time people love it.
  226. We are in 2004 at that point,
    Carmen is 89.
  227. Today Carmen is 103.
  228. These past 14 years, her
    paintings have been exhibited
  229. presented in some of the most
    prestigious museums in the world.
  230. For 60 years Carmen Herrera
    has created daily,
  231. paintings that nobody thought
    had any value.
  232. And then one day,
  233. Carmen Herrera’s story has aligned
    with Art’s History.
  234. If I tell you this story, it is not
    to tell you that success always comes.
  235. Because it’s not the case.
  236. But it’s because I'm convinced
    that Carmen Herrera would still
  237. be painting today, even if
    she had never found
  238. her audience while
    she was alive.
  239. Carmen Herrera didn’t paint
    to become famous.
  240. She painted because it was
    giving meaning to her life.
  241. It’s not success that gives meaning to our life
  242. it’s being self-expressed.
  243. And when we are fully expressed,
  244. our social expiration date vanishes.
  245. When we are fully expressed,
  246. our failures as well as our successes
  247. become simply steps,
  248. on the graph of our personal growth.
  249. Tonight what I want to suggest
    is to shift your focus
  250. away from what you cannot control.
  251. We cannot control how people
    are going to react to what we do.
  252. But we can control what we do.
  253. So, let’s stop paying attention
    to society’s feedback
  254. about the value of what gives
    meaning to our lives.
  255. Because we rarely can measure the value
    of what we do right after doing it.
  256. And more importantly because the value
    of what we do will evolve unexpectedly
  257. over time.
  258. Today, when I meet people and
    they ask me what I do in life,
  259. I tell them that I am a story fabricator.
  260. Nobody really understands what
    it means but it's okay,
  261. because if I have the chance to
    talk a little bit more with them,
  262. they understand that fabricating stories
    is my way to express myself fully
  263. and daily, doing.
  264. For the last ten years,
  265. I’ve been hunting and fabricating stories
    that I share as screenplays, films, lyrics
  266. drawings, podcasts or graphic novels.
  267. Sometimes, I doubt.
  268. I feel that what I’m doing
    is completely useless.
  269. And then I remember that my intuition
    is probably whispering something to me
  270. and that I should
    probably listen to it.
  271. So I listen to it, I go for it,
    and then I repeat the process.
  272. If tomorrow when you wake up
    you feel like doing something "useless",
  273. listen to yourself, go for it,
    and repeat the process.
  274. Because it’s by being active actors
    of our story that we will become
  275. good stories.
  276. Stories that other human beings
    will be able to use and share
  277. to move forward.
  278. Do what you have to do,
  279. never mind if it feels useless.
  280. If it’s important to you,
    then it's worth doing.
  281. Express yourself,
  282. and we, the story fabricators,
  283. we will find you.
  284. Thank you.