Be Courageous: Bryan Stevenson

This talk by Bryan Stevenson was my favorite of TED 2012.  It is an elegant call for action which expertly appeals to our senses of logic, ethics, and emotion.  You may or may not agree with all of Stevenson's arguments, but I would encourage you to listen to this talk all the way through, as I think it works on many levels.  As I tweeted on my way out of the TED auditorium just after this talk had finished, "Bryan Stevenson blew my mind, engaged my heart, and inspired my soul."

And, for those of us interested in making a dent in the universe, his speech is a mandatory lesson in the art of communication.  To be able to speak this convincingly, this naturally, this logically, without benefit of notes or slides or videos, is master class in public speaking.  Wow.

Bryan Stevenson is an innovator.  He looks at our status quo and says "we can do better than this".  Innovating is hard.  Most of the time it's easy — and even fun — to start something, but it's hard to finish.  But in the case of the things that Stevenson pursues, I would argue that it's hard to even start, let alone finish.  As he says in the speech, changing fundamental aspects of the way our world works will make you tired, tired, tired.  But he is an exemplary study in what it means to be brave, brave, brave.

Whatever you're doing, wherever you may be, keep your eyes on the prize, and hold on.  Be courageous.

3 thoughts on “Be Courageous: Bryan Stevenson

  1. Were his arguments seen as controversial amongst the crowd? I’m surprised that you mention that people “may not agree with all of Stevenson’s arguments.”
    He certainly challenges convention, but since it is the silent, invisible convention I would imagine it to be less overtly controversial than typical political jargon.
    I was floored by this speech, particularly, as you point out, how eloquently he flowed from stories, to points, back to stories. Unbelievable. I’m also curious how the crowd responded in the hours/days afterwards. The points made relate to things members of the crowd could, if they chose to, impact in the future.

  2. Mr. Bromka,
    Thanks for your comment. It is indeed a beautiful speech. In terms of my caveat of “you may not agree…” I didn’t hear much disagreement voiced while I was at TED, but in reading through the comments at, there are indeed some alternative viewpoints being expressed. It’s an important speech, one which I hope people will watch regardless of their initial thoughts or reactions.

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