It has been a week and a half since Fargo’s most recent TEDx proceedings finished which seems to be enough time for all the ideas presented to fully sink in. The full-day conference featured over 20 speakers from across the country, as well as two quintessentially Fargoan hosts (many thanks to Julie Peterson Klein and Lauris Molbert for their leadership and commitment to the community). The day was spotted with numerous motivational statements, hopefully inspiring attendees to make changes and live more purposeful lives.

TEDx crowd by Dan Francis

Dan Francis Photography

To assist in the documentation of those captivating words, or maybe to just revel in a few snippets of others’ wisdom, below are what I consider my top five takeaways from TEDxFargo: On Purpose.

1. Embrace Discomfort

Infusionsoft’s Chief Technology Officer, Marc Chesley (aka the Guitar Lawyer) encouraged Fargo’s TEDsters to not only be open to uncomfortable situations, but to purposefully seek them out. Through discomfort, Marc argues one can find power and grow personally. As an aspiring social butterfly (and closet introvert), I have started striking up conversations with willing passersby while in public. Don’t live life through monotonous situations; be bold and embrace discomfort. Who knows, you may even get a job out of it.

2. Be Ignorant

In a similar vein, The Nerdery’s nerdiest nerd, Tom O’Neill, urges those who want to accomplish great things to be willfully and purposefully ignorant. In his talk, Tom explains that by rejecting the status quo and preconceived notions, people can unlock an unhindered ability to accomplish their goals. Helping his fellow nerds make his company the Minneapolis/St. Paul area’s best place to work, he developed this mentality and encourages his coworkers to do the same. For my drift into willful ignorance, I have accepted that there is a job in which I simply have conversations with others…for a living. Let the search begin!

3. Activate Others

The Bush Foundation president, Jennifer Ford Reedy, kicked off the 2014 TEDx experience by articulating ideas require people. To effectively turn a thought into a full-fledged program or organization, it is imperative that you build others up and give them ownership. Activating others, therefore, is about focusing on others’ involvement and interest instead of personal gain. Personally, it is clear I will need to have some more conversations in order to excite people about my current plans.

4. Ask For What You Want

Phenomenally successful technology entrepreneur Phil Soran mentions this little gem in his talk: by not asking for things you want, you are immediately setting yourself up for failure. And you might be surprised what people are willing to do when you ask for their assistance. The helpfulness of others can be quite amazing when it is directly requested. Ask, because you just might receive. Does anyone know where I could just talk to people for a living? There might be a coffee in it for you.

5. Fargo Does It Right

Okay, so this one might be a bit of a cop out, but it is an overarching theme that must be made explicit: Fargo events are in their prime right now. From Startup Drinks, to art exhibits, to the 1 Million Cups events drawing in over 200 community members on a weekly basis, Fargo is on fire, and that’s good for everyone involved. A huge thank you to all the TEDx organizers for their many hours and early mornings – you put on an event that would make any TED aficionado envious. I need to spend more time in Fargo.

Obviously, there was much contention to make this list, so you are encouraged to follow TEDxFargo and watch some the day’s presentations online when available.

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