The 7 Minute Principle: Brye Balla at TEDxYouth@Lancaster (Transcript)

Brye Balla – TRANSCRIPT

Recently, doctors at the University of Western Ontario, in Canada, conducted a study in which they found that, after death, the human brain is still active for approximately seven minutes. Some people believe these seven minutes may be what is called seeing your life flash before your eyes.

In seven minutes, you see every moment that has comprised your entire life. Now, let’s say that today, for whatever reason, you were to experience these seven minutes. Imagine with me: What moments would make you feel specifically proud? What moments would make you say, “I remember this, I’m proud of this, this makes me happy”? What moments would make you feel less than proud? Obviously, we would want to re-experience more positive moments than negative ones. We’ll call this the seven-minute principle. I’ll give you an example.

Me. If I were to die today, I’d have plenty of positive memories to look back upon, moments to laugh about and to make me feel content with my life. Regretfully, the power of these moments would be less than that of the negative ones, moments when I fell down and felt that there was no one to help me back up. I have suffered from anxiety and depression for approximately five years of my already short life. I have suffered through many sleepless and cold nights.

I thought that I might never truly be my happy self again. Every once in a while I’d have a good day, but even the best of days could not brighten my life for more than that, a day. While I was making plenty of new friends, I felt I was not connected to any of them in a way that felt like true friendship. I became very distant from many people, keeping a very tight circle of friends, and as this circle of friends would do, as many other friends had done, become distant, I felt that I had no one to turn to. Sure, I had friends, but none that I felt I could share that deep connection with.

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Now, about a year ago, I realized that, if I wanted to come out of this, I had to start making changes. I couldn’t allow my problems to define me. If I wanted to start living a more positive life, I had to go and make the changes myself. So, as I was going through all of these bad times, I was thinking about what could be in the good times, and I made that change I realized that, 6 to 12 months down the road, none of the problems that I was going through would affect me anymore.

And, as I was being pushed out of these circles of friends, every once in a while I would find a good friend that I would keep in contact with. And these friends, unbeknownst to me, would become my saving grace. But, overall, I became very sad, I became this awkward bundle of charred firewood. Very many moments from these times would provide themselves as bad memories in my seven-minute replay. But this was before I had thought of the seven-minute principle.

As I said, about a year ago, I started realizing that I needed to make a change. So, I did. I went out and I made a change. I realized that, within those 6 to 12 months, none of those problems that were encapsulating me would matter. As I began to think about this over and over again, I once more refused to allow my problems to define me.

So, here come the good times. Within these good times, I did many awesome things. I traveled to Costa Rica on a missions trip. I became very involved with theater and music. I became the president of my school’s choral program. And, most importantly, those friends that I mentioned earlier, the ones who became my saving grace, I brought them with me, and they have become my tightest circle of friends. And I am so blessed to have a group of friends that is just as talented, loving, adventurous and spontaneous as I am. Together, we have done incredible things, such as traveling to Disney World with our chamber singers, learning a second language, traveling to Costa Rica to experience more of the Costa Rican culture again, and going to our senior prom, graduating high school together.

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We’ve traveled to awesome places such as Toronto, Baltimore, Boston, and Missouri, just to name a few. Within these positive times, I have learned to truly love, cherish, and protect my family and close friends. Many of these good times are reflective of the good times that are yet to come. And this is only my story until now.

The moment that I step off this stage, this moment will go down as one of the best positive memories yet. Some of my favorite positive memories to look forward to in the future are going on a backpacking trip in Maine, returning again to Costa Rica for the third time, to do missions work in September, for five months, and potentially joining the longer-term staff of the organization that is organizing the mission. Currently, I am working as a full-time program assistant at Black Rock Summer Camp, and loving every second.

The friends that I have made there already feel like true family to me. So, what will your story look like? How will your seven minutes play out? Chances are you’ve been waiting for some form of change, some form of betterment. If you want to have more positive times and experience true happiness, you have to go out and cause the awesome moments to happen. You can’t wait around for them to come and rescue you from the darkness as I had been doing for so long. If you want to experience true positive moments in your life and be sure that in your seven minutes you will have more positive moments than negative ones, seize the day and keep the seven-minute principle in mind, with the world at your fingertips.

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