As I start writing this, it’s 5:57 p.m. EST on Friday, December 4, 2020. I am 48 hours and 3 minutes away from taking part in my first ever TEDx Talk in Hartford, Connecticut.
For the unaware, a TEDx Talk is essentially the same thing as a TED Talk. The “x” just denotes it’s a private organization that is using the TED name and following the TED rules. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and without going into the history, has evolved into one of the best and most prestigious gatherings to exchange radical new ideas and concepts. Many of the biggest names out there from Bill Gates to Barack Obama to Bono to Sarah Silverman have given these talks.
I am presenting as part of TEDxHartford. From what I have been told over 100 people applied upon which they chose 8 of us. It will actually only be 7 come showtime as one person had to drop out. You can see how competitive it is. This is actually about the 11th talk I’ve applied to in the last two years. They are opportunities that are hard to come by and why I’m willing to drive 4 hours each way from Maine to Connecticut. And yes, I did get a COVID test and got my results back this week and it turns out when you quarantine, you don’t get it. Also, when you live my life.
Opportunity of a lifetime
I use the word opportunity and that’s really what this is. TED Talks have turned nobodies into somebodies and started whole new directions for some people. I just looked up “pornography addiction” and “TED Talk”. First one listed had 2 million views. The next video had 13 million views. The one after that had 20 million. Then there was one with 4,000. This may be huge, or it may fizzle into nothingness. I can’t control the aftermath, but I can control the speech. If the speech bombs, there will be no hits. An awesome speech doesn’t guarantee a million hits, but the speech has to be awesome if it has a chance.
I have done over 200 interviews at this point about porn addiction. I can’t pretend to know what everybody’s listenership is and I have interviews on YouTube that have 14 hits and I have interviews that have 10,000. If the TEDx Talk breaks big, I could have an audience eventually bigger than everybody I’ve spoken with in the last three years combined. If that’s not an opportunity, I don’t know what is.
I’m not going to just get on Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz or be invited to be a talking head on a mainstream show, no matter how many books I write or people I help because I’m not a doctor and I’m not an academic. I’m just a well-spoken former addict, but I think much like former alcoholics and drug addicts who warn others, especially kids, of their past, there’s a big role to fill for people like me out there. Now that I’ll have a TEDx Talk on my resume, it’s like a stamp of approval from the most reputable speaking association on Earth. It means more than my three books or anything I’ve done to this point.
The future is bright, either way
What happens after this? If the TEDx Talk does nothing, I’ve got some ideas of where to take things next. I get the most of out working with partners of addicts and think my experience and personality are best suited to that work. If the TEDx Talk does hit and opportunities arise, I’ll see what they are. It’s exciting to think that there may be possibilities of things out there I don’t even know about.
Honestly, I’ve been busting my ass, making next to no money, trying to help people for the last three years. And all of this hard work leads up to this talk. This is make or break time. This is the main event. There is no second chance and there is no better opportunity that is going to come my way anytime soon.
I appreciate the support my regulars have shown me over the years and always welcome new people into the fold. New or old, I hope you’ll take some time to check out my talk on Sunday night. If not, that’s fine. You can watch it everyday when it finally hits YouTube and drive up the views. Or you can do both. The busier I get, the less time I have to bother you with blog entries.
I’ll try to put up a quick something to mention when I’m going on Sunday night after I learn, but if not, this is the last you’ll hear from me until early next week. I’ll see you on the other side.