Last year, in 2014, we took to the TED stage to talk about living a rich life with less stuff. Over the past year that TEDx Talk has been viewed by more than a million people.
And to think we almost didn’t do it: perched on the fence of indecision, we nearly said no when we were initially approached since we were gearing up for a year-long tour for our memoir, Everything That Remains. But we made it work, and we’re glad we did because it presented us with two important lessons:
The ripples of shared value. Life actions aren’t a set of dominos: one action doesn’t lead to a direct series of sequential events. Rather, life is a body of water: once you’ve created something and tossed it into the world, it’s impossible to know how far the ripples will undulate. Sometimes the wavelets dissipate quickly; other times the waves travel a great distance, far beyond any expectation—like with this TEDx Talk.
The number is arbitrary. True, a million views is a boatload, but the number itself is not the point—what’s exciting is our simple-living message is resonating with many people who subsequently share the video with their friends and family. Not everyone who’s seen our Talk found the same amount of value: some watch a few minutes and realize it’s not for them; others watch attentively, find value, and share it with the world around them—thus furthering the ripples. The rippling—that’s the point; the numbers simply help the water course further from the initial impact.
If we decide to create more, and consume less, the world around us will transform through a tidal wave of purpose. So thank you for sharing our message with the people you love: Y’all’re the beautiful ripples that keep this movement going. You are the point.
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