I’ve had my TED talk online for 2 months and I’ve shared it with only 5 people / by Ben Weston

I’ve had my TED talk online for 2 months and I’ve shared it with only 5 people.

At a dinner party last night, people were asking why and it felt like there were a flood of reasons why I hadn’t shared it with more people.

But it really only came down to two reasons.

One is that the talk is something I’m really proud of but what if I’m sharing it only for the ego boost and validation?

The bigger reason, if I’m honest with myself, is because I didn’t get selected to be put on their site.

I prepped for months, every day, for hours on end. First thing in the morning, I recited it 2-3 times, while walking through Union Sq, I practiced it out loud (with my phone to my ear so I didn’t look crazy), and last thing before going to bed.

I put every bit of my soul I could have put into it.

And it didn’t bomb.

In fact, it was a huge fucking success. Everyone from the other TED speakers, to the TED content directors, and even Chris Anderson himself raved about it.

After my talk, Chris came up on stage and said, “If we were to put that video up on our site, I’m betting it would quickly get 1,000,000 views. And most of those views would be coming from me.”

I was even being told by one of the TED curators how to best leverage my talk to present at the global conference!!

God I was pumped.

After months of not hearing back and only seeing other fellow speakers get put up online, I was finally told that my video wasn’t selected because, despite being well received live, the editorial team felt that it didn’t translate well on video.

Fuck. That hurt. And it was my birthday too.

I still haven’t seen the video. What if it isn’t as good as I thought it was? Nah, that’s stupid. It was good. I know it was good. But that’s a thought that still plagues me.

So, the reason I’m posting it now?

Alysssa sent me this quote recently from Martha Graham about sharing your art.

As nice as it is to be validated, I want this post to be a part of my practice of producing and sharing my art, regardless of whether I think it’s good enough or not.

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open... No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”