Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Triathlete at the TED Conference 2009...

For three years, I've been submitting and re-submitting an application to attend TED's annual conference. A few days ago, I found out that my application has finally been approved, and in February, it will be an honor to hear the brightest minds in the world share their ideas.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the organization, TED stands for Techonology, Entertainment, Design. It brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers and challenges them to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. TED talks have covered everything from evolution to the internet to the science of happiness. Past speakers have included Jane Goodall, Al Gore, and Brian Greene.

I've been a follower and advocate of TED for many years now, and I couldn't be more excited for the opportunity to hear live what the Einsteins of our generation have to say about the world and its future. But you don't have to apply for and travel to the conferences to hear what they have to say. posts many past lectures for free. The website holds thousands of smart ideas--free for you to listen to and learn from.

I have found that the wealth of information on is especially applicable to us as triathletes. We have all faced the question, "Why do you do this to yourself and to your body?" It's a tough one, tougher than it seems at first glance, because it forces us to think hard about what makes us tick. But I think that part of our motivation to run, bike, and swim lies in our desire to change the world, beginning with changing ourselves. Because we push to accomplish something that's almost beyond the ability of the human body, triathlon allows us to experience life from a higher plane.

And the speakers of TED strive for the same thing, in an even bigger way. They exist in a realm of experience that is a little bit beyond that of the normal being. They think not about next week or next year, but about a future that is many generations away. From them will come the world of tomorrow.

Take advantage of the brilliance that TED has to offer and check out their free talks online. Start by clicking play on the video below, in which Cambridge researcher Aubrey de Grey challenges the most basic assumption underlying the human condition -- that aging is inevitable.

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