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I'm going to take you back to a day in 1995, December 5th.
I hadn't even graduated from college yet,
but somehow I found myself standing in the vestibule of a church,
with my arm looped around my father's.
and I was wearing the dress of my dreams.
It was this silken fairy tale,
with a train that stretched out 5 feet behind me.
And it was all held together by this curious combination
of tape, corset and pantyhose, and a petticoat
that would pretty much make any junction jealous.
And for the first time in my life
I felt like a princess.
The music started and I started to see my bridesmaids
peel down the alley, one by one,
and I froze.
I turned to my dad and I said:
Dad, I'm not sure I want to do this.
Have you ever been afraid of what people might think
about a decision you have to make?
(Laughter)
A decision that could potentially be very unpopular.
And unpopular, that's a pretty ominous word, in and of itself.
But is it the horrible thing that my formative years
would have me to believe, or is it the one thing
that could bring me more joy than I could ever imagine?
Well, today I'm OK with unpopular,
even though some people lump it together with another "UN" word,
which is Unlikeable.
But I maintain that there is a difference.
See, in my life, and with the branding clients that I work with,
being unpopular is about making decisions
that honor the two most important audiences we'll ever have:
the people who'll love us for everything that we are
and everything we're not, and ourselves.
Now, the unlikeable people, they seem to think
that it's all about them, and they forget that
those people are the reason that they get
to get up everyday and do what it is that they love.
So that is why I am a stark raving maniacal fan of unpopular.
Love me, hate me, just don't be indifferent,
because to me indifference is like looking ...
at this!
(Laughter)
It's confusing,
(Laughter)
you're not really sure what it is that you're seeing,
and you'd kind of like to forget you'd seen it
as quickly as possible.
Thank you, Sarah Palin.
(Laughter)
(Applause)
See, we spend our lives trying to build ourselves
into something that other people think that we should be,
when, in fact, we should be spending our time
trying to actively polarize our audience.
Give them tools to help them know whether or not
they should love us, and give it early and give it often.
Because that's when we stop wasting time,
both ours and everyone else's.
So how do we get there?
How do we stop wasting time and start rethinking unpopular,
to make our lives and the lives of other people around us better.
For my life it came down to two simple things:
One, I had to stop apologizing
and two, I had to start being honest.
Let's start with honesty.
"I wish I had more people in my life who would lie to me",
said no one, ever.
(Laughter)
Yet, from a very early age we are taught to turn down
that honesty knob and turn up the one on polite.
And it's no wonder that by the time we get to be adults
we can't honestly tell anyone around us who we are,
what we love and what we're feeling.
Now, what I've been working on is turning honesty back up
and kicking polite to the curb, which is where I think
it belongs, most of the time.
But let's talk about, and be honest about
the act of being honest for a minute.
Because the reality is that there is a pretty fine line
between being honest in our desire, and people thinking
we are straight up batshit crazy.
Case in point: earlier this year I was on a date
with a man who asked me if children were
something I needed in my life, in order to feel complete,
and what I heard coming out of my mouth was:
Oh, you know, I'm 39, I know the statistics,
and you know what, if kids happen they happen,
when my inner monologue is saying:
I am 39 years old and my ovaries are screaming,
like The Silence of the Lambs.
And what I would appreciate is if you could
get me knocked up by Christmas.
(Laughter)
So, over here we have a totally failed attempt at being honest,
and over here we have batshit crazy.
But there's got to be something in the middle.
And what I propose is what I call the "blanket fort solution".
See, when I was a kid my brother and I
were huge fans of building forts.
I mean, the minute my mom left for work in the summer,
we were downstairs deconstructing every piece of furniture that there was,
I'd dump out the linen closet,
and in 30 minutes flat we had a colossal structure
complete with TV and Calico Vision console.
But we didn't just let anybody into that fort.
There was this kid down the street
that everytime he came over to our house,
he either got us in trouble with our mom somehow, or he broke something.
So, you know what? We stopped letting him into the fort.
The blanket fort solution is about revisiting trust
and what it means to us.
And contrary to what Facebook would have us believe,
trust, friendships and relationships aren't something
that can be awarded with the click of a button.
They're something that has to be earned, nurtured,
maintained, and over time. So why is it, that as adults we just let
any ol' person into our blanket fort?
And it's because we're being polite.
Well, I don't know about you, but I'm sick of being polite.
In 39 years the one thing I have figured out is that
not everyone is meant to be my friend, employee, customer or client.
An in fact, most people that come through my life
aren't meant to stay there for the long term.
They are weigh stations.
And they come through, they drop off what they're supposed to give me,
and then they clean out, leave and head to somebody else's life,
which is exactly where they belong.
And what I needed to do was take the time to focus
on finding more of the right people to bring into my blanket fort.
More people who would be just as honest with me
as I had just committed to being with them,
and I call them front stabbers.
(Laughter)
Because the people who will go at the back of this building
and be honest with me once I am out of earshot,
I got plenty of them.
And what I needed was those people who would
come to my face and tell me how they really felt.
Back in 2004 I was dating this lovely man named Dominic.
And we were getting ready to go out for the afternoon,
so I went into the bedroom, put on my favorite purple skirt,
came out, grabbed my handbag, and I'm like:
"All right, let's go."
He looks at me: "Oh, you are not wearing that skirt.
You need to, just go put someting else on."
"W-what?! I love this skirt. Are you kidding me?"
And he says: "Honey, it makes your ass look like a rectangle."
(Laughter)
I was like: "Argh", I go into the bedroom and I'm looking in my mirror and I'm like:
"Oh my god, my ass is a rectangle."
And the funny thing is Dominic never aplogized to me
for being honest,
and I never felt like I had to ask him to.
And that's because you like jalapeno poppers,
and you like watching the Jersey Shore,
which I can't comprehend and I'm probably going to judge you for.
(Laughter)
But we all like and dislike things and it starts
the day that we come off the boob or bottle,
and we spit out our first teaspoon of cream peas onto a bib.
We use the words: "Oh, I'm sorry!", like it's some sort of linguistic band-aid
that excuses the fact that we are human
to other human beings.
So tell me this: when are you going to admit
that there is something glorious about being you,
about the brand that you are building,
so that you don't have to wake up every morning
and walk on eggshells. And you can look at something
that you built because you love it,
and it's honest and true to who you are.
When I started being honest and I stopped apologizing for it,
the universe had a pretty quirky way of letting me know
that I was maybe on the right path.
Last year was my 20th high school reunion,
so I got on a plane and I headed back to Houston, Texas,
to celebrate with the Nimitz High School Class of 1991.
And I walked in the door, and one of the first people I saw
was our class valedictorian who waved, and so I went over and I said hello.
And he hugged me and the first thing out of his mouth was:
"You know what? You sure do use a lot of f-bombs on Facebook.
You should dial that back a little bit."
(Laughter)
And this is why I love being unpopular,
because the class valedictorian? Not my target demographic.
(Laughter)
And I can guaran-damn-tee you that when I sat down to build a brand
that was honest to me about everything I want to achieve
I did not envision my brand being friends with him.
But you know what? We weren't even really friends in school,
but here he was, standing in front of me,
ready to tell me what I should and shouldn't be doing.
And then it dawned on me.
When I started viewing polarization as an asset, instead of a liability,
I got to wake up and look around my life everyday
and realize that the people who surrounded me
were the right ones.
That I built something that they loved,
and I brought the right people inside my blanket fort.
So I want you to think right now.
Think about your life, maybe your business,
and ask yourself: Who doesn't belong here?
And then I want you to grab polarization by the balls,
and kindly and unapologetically escort those people out the door.
Now, in the spirit of polarization, and because
I'm more than just a little bit snarky,
I posted the valedictorian's comments on my Facebook page the next day,
(Laughter)
along with a little graphic.
(Laughter)
And since we're being honest, and we're not apologizing for it,
here's where I think that we need more brands like Chick-fil-A in the market place.
Now, it's not because I agree with what they stand for.
It's because they're honest and unapologetic for it.
And they've told me that if they are a hate-mongering,
bigoted purveyor of funny-looking french fries,
I can vote with my wallet.
Because Chick-fil-A, they're not going to apologize.
And me, I'm done apologizing for things that don't require the most sincere of all apologies.
And so this brings us back around,
this combination of becoming honest and a lack of apology,
we bring them together, and it gives us a crucial tool
that brings this entire unpopular equation together.
It tells us exactly who we want to have standing next to us
when life's critical and unpopular decisions arise.
So let's go back to that church in 1995 for just a second.
Standing there next to my dad:
Dad, I'm not sure I want to do this.
And he says: Erika, you don't have to.
So what I could do is, I could disappoint the sixty people sitting in that church,
my pastor, the bridesmaids and my mother who had paid $600
for this silken dream that was bound to my body.
I could make the unpopular decision and disappoint all of those people.
Or I could walk down that aisle and disappoint myself.
So what did I choose?
I just turned to my dad and I said:
Dad, come on, the dress is paid for and the people are here.
What am I supposed to do: disappoint them?
He just turned to me and he took both of my hands, and he simply said: Yes.
My name is Erika Napoletano and I haven't always been,
but I'm trying a little harder everyday to be
unpopular.
(Applause)
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【TEDx】重新思考不受歡迎的本質 Rethinking Unpopular: Erika Napoletano at TEDxBoulder 2012d的

2930 分類 收藏
li 發佈於 2013 年 9 月 7 日
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