Derek Sivers: The “Good Enough” Life Choice at TEDxTaipei 2012 (Transcript)

Read the full transcript of entrepreneur Derek Sivers’ TEDx Talk presentation: The “Good Enough” Life Choice at TEDxTaipei 2012 conference. To learn more about the speaker, visit his website here.


Book(s) by the speaker:

Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur


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Derek Sivers – Writer, entrepreneur

Okay. I’m so excited to be in Taiwan. I’ve always wanted to come to Taiwan. And I would actually like to meet every single person here. So, in case I don’t get the time, I wanted to put my e-mail address up here so that everybody here can e-mail me and say hello.

The only thing is [Chinese language]. So, please e-mail me in French.

Okay, and next, I need the audience to do something for me. I need everybody to sing a long-low note. Go hummmmmmmm.

Little louder. Hummmmmm.

Okay, thank you.

So, to do a great talk in Taiwan, to live up to my excitement to be here, I’m going to talk about “The Meaning of Life.”

Are you ready to learn “the meaning of life?” I know the answer; are you ready?

Okay. What word do you think goes there? Life is what? Any ideas? Sound something? Anybody?

Okay, I’m going to propose a few ideas.

Let’s say that life is choice. Life is all about choice. We make a hundred little choices everyday. We make a hundred big choices in our life. And these little choices and the big choices we make change our entire life. They are what our life is our choices.

So if life is choice, how do you make good choices? Well here are some ideas.

Ignore Logic and Trust Emotion

First, learn to ignore logic and trust emotion. And what this means is, you know we have different parts of our brain, right? So, at the base of our brains, at the top of our spine is the ancient brain that we share in common with lizards and rabbits. And it’s called amygdala. So this emotional brain just stores instincts, fears, and gut feelings, right?

So at the front of our brain, we have the prefrontal cortex. That is a relative new development that handles logic, language and prediction, right? What’s interesting is that everything we learn gets processed through here and it’s processed but it’s permanently stored here as emotions. So we often like to think of ourselves as smart, rational beings, and whenever we have to make an important choice, we try to think it through very rationally. But the truth is that this thing in the front is pretty new, which is why a 5-dollar calculator is still better than this at math.

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So the way that you make better choices in life is to understand this about your brain and understand that this gut-feeling is the culmination of everything you have ever learned in your life is stored as emotional gut reactions. And it’s been proven that people make better choices when they trust their gut-feeling on something that is usually more correct than when they try to over-think it and use their 5-dollar calculator brain.

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