How to Be Your Best Self in Times of Crisis: Susan David (Transcript)

Susan David (Courtesy:

In this TED Connects special virtual conversation, psychologist Susan David shares wisdom on how to build resilience, courage and joy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. This event occurred on March 23, 2020.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: How to be your best self in times of crisis by Susan David



My name’s Chris Anderson. I’m the guy lucky enough to run the TED organization. It’s a treat to be here with you. Thank you so much for taking time to come and be part of this. This is new for TED. This is… you know we’re known for TED Talks.

Here we’re going to spend an hour in conversation with some of the world’s wisest people. Because this is a moment when we need that wisdom more than ever.

Though we’re facing the pandemic that we’ve warned about, you know these are extraordinary times… times we’ll remember for the rest of our lives, I suspect. And it’s not like… the battle is just the external battle… the battle against the virus, the decisions that our leaders make.

There’s this other battle as well, that is probably equally as consequential. It’s the battle that’s going on right inside our minds. I mean, if you’re anything like me, you’ve had this real rollercoaster of emotions the last few days, weeks. This is scary, this is different, this is alarming. You know we don’t know what to make of it a lot of us.

And the decisions we make collectively I think are going to be hugely consequential. On one scenario, there’s a chance that we can use this moment to build community, to build bonds with each other, to get to know each other in different ways, to spend time with people we haven’t spent time with, to look for the best in each other.

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And on another scenario, our fear and anger will drive us apart. I’d like to introduce the questioner in chief, my wonderful colleague, the TED’s current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers.

WHITNEY PENNINGTON RODGERS – TED current affairs curator

Thanks so much Chris and hello to everyone joining us all around the world. Chris will be back later to take part in this conversation. He will come with some of your questions.

And so on to our guest, as Chris mentioned there’s so happening in the media, so much conversation around the coronavirus. And oftentimes it’s focused on the things that our government officials are doing, the decisions that they’re making. So what’s happening to our lives physically, what are some of the changes that we’re experiencing as far as working remotely, social distancing.

But what often is overlooked is the social and the emotional toll that this is all taking on all of us, which is a really critically important and a very real part of how we’re all experiencing this pandemic. And so we’re really thrilled to be joined today by renowned author and Harvard Medical School psychologist Susan David. She gave a hugely popular TED talk about emotional courage and the impact that understanding your emotions can have on your lives, on our lives.

And so we’re excited to chat with her about how we can approach this as we’re experiencing this pandemic in this moment.

SUSAN DAVID – Psychologist

Thank you for inviting me to the conversation. I’m delighted to be part of it. I really appreciate it.

WHITNEY PENNINGTON RODGERS: Thank you so much for being here with us today. So we’re again excited to have you.

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