TEDx Athens 2012: Inspirational Ideas in Land of Potential

The other week, I was glad to keep the good Athenian vibes going by attending the annual TEDxAthens.    I never had the urge to go to a TED event in America, but in Athens on the contrary, especially in today’s often cynical environment, it was a reassuring sensation of camaraderie to be in an arena with 1,500+ crowd of optimistic, full-of-life, inquisitive youngsters who are trying to make their mark in re-building Greece. TedxAthens was founded by Dimitris Kalavros  in 2009, with just four volunteers.  In its fourth year now and with sixty-five volunteers, the theme of this year’s TEDxAthens was the “doers” — a very timely concept for setting the tone for the can-do-attitude that will get Greece out of its stagnancy.   The speakers weren’t necessarily jet-set millionaires, but they were successful and talented individuals in their own right and had great stories to tell.  They ranged from a wide-spectrum of disciplines: MIT biomedical engineer, London fashion designer, AOL digital marketing guru and even a teenage, mute girl from Florida who overcame her limits to become a professional motorcyclist. The schedule took up an entire Saturday, which after almost thirty motivational speeches over sixteen hours, niche analysis by experts and an array of unique perspectives,  the post-experience felt like a “mental orgasm.”  Many of the speeches are being uploaded on video on the TEDxAthens Facebook page.  There were numerous fascinating quotes and lessons from stories, but I want to specifically point out the speakers and themes that stood out to me and which made connections to the depth of Greece’s current socio-economic predicament. One of these speakers was...