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I often get the question why do people volunteer.
What is it that makes a person dedicate their time and effort
to something without expecting money in return.
I think we can all agree that people don't usually do it
because they get a couple of free drinks, a cool T-shirt, or a handful of stickers.
What these people are doing
makes them part of the volunteerism culture.
And I would like to tell you
how volunteerism culture can change our world.
This is Nowhere.
It's basically the European baby-brother of Burning Man.
We base ourselves on the same principles
such as self expression, self-reliance, and inclusion,
and we basically do the same things as our friends in the US.
We go out into a desert area in Spain,
we build a settlement, we live there for a while,
and then we take it all down again, and we leave nothing but footprints.
I've been involved with Nowhere as a volunteer for about five years now.
I started out decorating toilets,
and I ended up being in charge
of volunteer coordination, media, and currently, communication.
Nowhere is completely depending on volunteers.
Without these people there would be no settlement,
there wouldn't be any art, and there would simply be no event.
I know people who dedicate months of their lives, every single year,
to make this thing happen,
and I know other people, who just dedicate a few hours during one afternoon.
The difference between them doesn't matter to us
because of another principle that we have in common with Burning Man
which is participation.
Every single individual is able to get involved
whenever they want, in whatever way they choose,
regardless of their backgrounds.
Because of this participation,
I was able to learn a lot while working with the people at Nowhere.
For example, I learned to build a structure,
and I used to be someone
who didn't even know how to use a power drill.
I learned how to give myself a break, so as to not overwork myself,
and I learned how to prepare myself for a stressful situation.
I was also able to teach people.
I was able to teach people how they could organize their teams,
and help people dealing with stressful situations between individuals.
And this year, I'm going to go out there again,
and maybe I will be able to teach others how they can build their structures.
Now, I am not saying
we should go out to a desert all together and start building things.
What I'm saying is that we should have a closer look
at this participatory community, this culture of volunteerism,
and see what we can take from that
and implement that into our own lives to change our world.
Because we might have all heard people say this,
and we might have said it ourselves from time to time,
which is, "Why is nobody doing this, why this is not a project?
I wish someone would take this thing that I care about
and turn it into something that I can contribute to?"
In the community that I am a part of, we have a pretty simple answer to that:
I can't wait to see you do it.
And actually, when you consider it, it is that simple.
If you come across something
that sparks something in you, that sparks a passion
that fills you with excitement, that you feel should happen,
don't wait for others to take the initiative.
Step up and do it.
In this current society, it's really easy to think at that moment
like, "My project will not be able to generate a profit,"
or "I won't be able to pay people for contributing to what I want to do."
If we take this commercial idea away from it,
what you are left with, is a volunteerism project,
and how to make a volunteerism project happen is by sharing five things.
The first one is definitely the easiest one,
which is share your idea.
Communicate to people what that thing inside your head is
that needs to come out.
Tell others about this thing that you want to do,
and this project that you want to start.
Sooner or later, while you keep on communicating this,
you're going to come across other individuals,
who feel the same way,
who share that excitement for your project.
Or even better; you might come across people
who are able to add something to your project
and even take it to a higher level and improve it.
And before you know it, you might be sitting down,
having a brainstorm, taking notes,
and taking the first steps into making it happen.
And when it happens, share your knowledge.
And it really doesn't matter if you have a degree
of one of the most prestigious universities on the planet,
or whether you even haven't finished middle school.
Every single individual, regardless of their backgrounds,
has valuable information that is worth sharing.
For example, I learned through another TED talk by Terry Moore
that I've been tying my shoelaces wrong my entire life.
And I've been having a really good time sharing this knowledge with other people.
Though this may sound incredibly trivial, unimportant, and really small,
I can see the change that I can make for certain people,
how that adds something to what they know.
Just imagine if it would not be just this tiny little thing,
but something more important, something more essential.
And the effect that can have
on the people that are involved with your project
and the community around you.
And while that is happening, share your experience.
Our knowledge would be nothing without the experience we have in life.
Let's be honest, experience makes us amazing teachers.
When I was out there at Nowhere and learned how to build structure,
someone needed to explain to me how to use that power drill,
preferably, without hurting myself or others around me.
This person took his experience to transfer this skill onto me,
and this way I was able to go home with whole new skill set,
I was able to build something, physically actually build a structure.
In daily life, this would never be possible for me
because it's not something I do for a living,
and it's not something I have a degree in.
By sharing our experience we are able to share
our skill sets with other people, we can broaden each other's horizon
without dedicating ourselves to its study or taking up a new profession.
The next thing that I feel you should be sharing
is probably the most important one.
We've heard this word a lot today
- because actually, it's a pretty important word -
share your passion.
If you are starting this project, if you are doing this,
if you're getting all these people involved,
if you're dedicating all this time and energy into this,
that must mean you're passionate about what you're doing.
And you need to share that, you need to show that
because passion is incredibly contagious.
It is able to take you, and the people around you, and your project,
to a higher level
because it sparks more excitement in the people around you,
and it just improves the situation that you're in,
and you're always able to see new opportunities
and people will be able to bounce off of each other easier.
The last thing I feel you should be sharing
is the answer to the question that we started with:
why do people volunteer?
Because it's fun. Because they enjoy what they do.
Let's be honest, if you dedicate time and effort to something
without getting money in return, then why are you doing it?
Again, we know it's not because you get free drinks,
or a cool t-shirt, or a stack of buttons,
it's because you enjoy what you do,
because you enjoy what you take away from it as a person.
I believe that everybody, at some point in their lives,
must have had this idea for a project
and most people probably didn't go through with it.
Is it because you didn't feel it was worth it,
because it wouldn't generate a profit?
Or you didn't have the time or the confidence to do it?
Think about that project you might have had in your head once,
and just consider it for a moment,
and then implement those five things that you can share into that idea
and think about what that could do for you as a person,
how that could change the people that might get involved,
and how that could contribute to your community,
and how that could change your world.
I can't wait to see you do it!
Thank you.
(Applause)
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【TEDx】How volunteerism can change your world | Joyce Bertram | TEDxVilnius

31148 Folder Collection
Sh, Gang (Aaron) published on October 17, 2016    Una Li translated    Mandy Lin reviewed
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