Full transcript of The Four Most Dangerous Words? A New Study Shows: Laura Arnold at TEDxPennsylvaniaAvenue conference.
My husband John and I are philanthropists. That word means different things to different people. To us, it means aggressive investments in a number of issue areas: from evidence-based policy to criminal justice, education, health care, pension reform, public accountability, and many more.
I get asked a lot of questions about our work: why did you choose the issue areas that you did and how do you choose new ones? I always feel that when responding to that question people are expecting me to tell a story about some transformative event that happened in my life or John’s life that led us to embark on this path.
Maybe they want to hear that we invest in healthcare because we’ve had family members who unfortunately have had cancer. Maybe they want to hear a story about my life growing up in Puerto Rico and how that fueled my interest in and passion for fighting social justice issues and addressing poverty. At TED, we’ve come to expect that every talk will start with a story like that: something intensely moving and personal.
Maybe something that starts with: “When I was a kid.” But I’m not going to tell a story like that, although I could. I think personal stories are so important; they are what fuels our passion. For many of us, they’re the reason why we do the work we do. But I believe that they’re precisely the wrong place to look for insight.