Desire was the theme for TEDx Malibu. Our founder Jamie Tworkowski was invited to speak, and he used the opportunity to tie in the realities of depression, the desire for recovery, and finding the courage to dream again.
But the talk also presents a challenge: What would it look like to ask better questions? What if our conversations moved beyond “How are you?” to “What makes you feel alive?” How would our lives change if people were encouraged to be honest about their fears and struggles, and their dreams as well?
Below are some discussion questions TWLOHA has put together to follow up Jamie’s talk. We hope you’ll watch the video and then work through these—on your own, with your roommates, during a UChapter meeting, at your work retreat, in your living room. More than anything, we hope you are inspired to be honest and to invite honesty into your relationships.
1. “We’re afraid of being judged, we’re afraid of being misunderstood, we’re afraid of being labeled.”
– What keeps you from speaking up about the hard or vulnerable parts of your life?
2. “I would imagine that your story is one that includes desire, and I would imagine it includes depression. And maybe if you don’t relate to that word, I could imagine that something you relate to is pain, or feeling stuck, or bumping into some really big questions in this life.”
– Think of your experiences that have been impacted by pain, disappointment, or depression. How do you interact with those tough places in your life?
– What are your greatest desires and dreams? How are you moving toward or away from them? What do you need to get started or make progress?
3. “My hope is that you feel like there are some people you can be honest with.”
– Think of the people in your life right now. Who are you really honest and vulnerable with? What is it about those individuals that makes you feel like you can confide in them?
– How many people seem to be honest and open with you? Do you think you express interest or encourage trust and vulnerability in your relationships?
4. In the talk, Jamie discusses how we’re used to asking or being asked, “What’s your name?” “Where are you from?” “What do you do?” But we don’t often hear or ask, “What is your dream?” “What do you want?” “What makes you feel alive?”
– Make a list of better “ice-breaker” questions to ask strangers or acquaintances, even if only in passing. Commit to incorporating at least one of these into your conversations this week.
5. “What would it look like to have a few people, to have a support system, where you can talk about those kinds of things? You can say to your friend or they can ask you, ‘Hey, what is your dream, and how are you doing with that dream? What do you want? What makes you feel alive?'”
– Do you know what your family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or roommates want most out of life? How often do you check in with them about significant things? How can you help them achieve their desires and dreams?
6. “You deserve love when it’s tough, when it’s awkward. What does it look like to love someone who lives in a place we’ve never been?”
– Spend some time thinking about this last question: “What does it look like to love someone who lives in a place we’ve never been?” Have you ever had to do this? Has someone done this for you? What do you think is most important about connecting with people who are struggling?