by Matt Mattson
What an honor it was to be asked to deliver a second TEDx Talk (first one here). This one was a LOT harder, if you want to know the truth.
I’d been dreaming of a book on “Uncertainty” or something that allowed me to push back against the overwhelming sense of people trying to be “right” all the time. I’ve been sensing a societal shift of unapolgetic-ness, of heel digging, of blind certainty. This need to be “right” seems to be dividing us, all the while I keep discovering new ways in which curiosity and choosing to be a “learner” brings people together.
I wanted to preach this to the world. I wanted to challenge religious people, political people, people on social media, and anyone else who was choosing to put up a wall of certainty. I wanted to offer a philosophy that serves me well when I choose to adopt it.
You know how when you make something like this, you only notice the mistakes you made? When I wrote this originally, there was a line that I loved… and wouldn’t you know it, I forgot to deliver it. Here’s something I wanted to say about two thirds of the way through.
What if we weren’t so afraid of uncertainty? In fact, what if we chose to celebrate uncertainty? What if we chose to relish uncertainty? What if we worshipped uncertainty? What if being uncertain was our dogma? What if "I'm not sure, but I'm trying to learn" became our mantra? What if I told you that I believe our curiosity, our wonder, our inquisitiveness, and our sense of possibility are the most powerful tools we have to heal a broken and divided world?
So the truth is, I’m not great at asking questions. My business partner Josh Orendi is a master questioner, and I’ve always admired it. I think that’s one thing that made this really hard to memorize and deliver. I had to rewire my brain to only ask questions.
I think this is true for a lot of people. It makes sense to everyone that you should listen twice as much as you talk, and that “you got two ears and one mouth for a reason.” We all know that listening and asking great questions can make you a better leader, more liked, and more influential overall. But most of us rarely do it. We’ve been trained to seek answers not questions (love this talk on a similar topic).
So, I hope you find this most recent TEDx Talk of mine challenging, fun, and valuable. I didn’t have to do 20 push-ups on stage, so I’m proud of that… but I’m also proud that I took a risk, challenged myself, and put a piece of art into the world that, in both form and content, is meant to challenge others to live more successful and fulfilling lives full of human connection through just one simple change… more and better questions.
If you want me or one of our team members to come work with an audience or organization you’re a part of, please just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’d love to add more curiosity, uncertainty, and human connection to your group. Thanks for watching!