BYU hosts 9th annual TEDxBYU event

Dan Allen, who currently has over 25 patents, presents at TEDxBYU. (Jessica Myrick)

The Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance held its ninth annual TEDxBYU event March 21, which focused on telling stories of positive psychology and finding answers to problems.

The “x” in TEDxBYU indicates it is an independently organized event. BYU held the first event of its kind in 2011 and has continued to hold the event annually.

Ballard Center Communications and Operations Director Alicia Gettys works with the organization of TEDxBYU. She said she has been passionate about TED Talks for years.

“I love TED Talks so much that my friend Dan thought Ted was a guy I was dating,” Gettys said. “I get particularly excited about TED because it’s an incredible opportunity to learn best practices from brilliant minds.”

TEDxBYU is brought to students to create a better life, Gettys said.

“Both TED Talks and TEDxBYU have widened my perspective and provided life hacks to live a more peaceful, joyful, creative and abundant life. I hope others that attend have a similar experience,” Gettys said.

The event was held at the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo and hosted nine speakers from different backgrounds.

Dan Allen, a physicist who develops medical and optical sensors for smartphones and handheld devices, was the first speaker of this year’s TEDxBYU.

Allen spoke about cutting-edge technology such as an in-toilet urinalysis and a device for diabetics to slip under their arm twice a year instead of “stabbing themselves” daily.

“We can intervene with lifestyle and diet management, which leads to better quality health outcomes which is at a lower cost,” Allen said.

Allen said when these preventative devices are found in common household locations — like a bathroom or bedroom — serious diseases can be caught early, save millions of dollars and keep people alive.

Karen Dillon is a former editor of the Harvard Business Review and a long-time collaborator with Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. She said following a meeting with Christensen she realized her career had been far less fulfilling than she had hoped for.

“When I left (Christensen’s) office, I was thinking about my own life,” Dillon said. “As I stood by my car in the parking lot of Harvard Business School, I literally couldn’t put my keys in the door and get in; I kept turning over in my mind what we had just talked about.”

Karen Dillon co-authored “How Will You Measure Your Life?” with Clayton Christensen. (Jessica Myrick)

Dillon said they had discussed strategy pertaining to companies, which caused Dillon to change the strategy her own life strategy.

Dillon resigned as the editor of Harvard Business Review, sold her home and belongings and moved to London, where her husband was from.

“Strategy is formed in the everyday decisions that every single employee of a company makes about how they will spend their time, energy and the company’s resources,” Dillon said.

She said strategy is not sent from on high but is made up of the decisions we make every day.

“Your strategy for your life is not what you say, it is formed by the hundreds of everyday choices we make,” Dillon said.

Dillon said she realized she was allocating her life resources the wrong way and was not spending enough time with her husband and children building meaningful relationships, which led to her move across the world.

“Don’t wait until the end of your life to decide you need a dramatic do-over,” Dillon said.

Dillon encouraged the audience to like the person they are on their last day on earth and quoted an expression she read recently that says, “The definition of hell is on your last day on earth meeting the person you could have become.”

BYU human performance scientist Craig Manning focused on life decisions, specifically regarding the mind.

Manning talked about coaching tennis and the power of the mind within athletes, and the difference between being task-oriented and ego-oriented.

“The ego causes a lot of drama in our lives,” Manning said. “The ego is always needing approval.”

According to Manning, people who are ego-oriented focus only on the outcome and the future, which develops fear.

Craig Manning talks about how his curiosity in positive psychology was sparked while attending the 2014 Olympics. (Jessica Myrick)

“A task-oriented mindset is a skill (and) will persist because it sees the growth,” Manning said.

Manning closed his talk by stating that to have a task-oriented mind and be successful, one must be humble and confident in their skills.

Other speakers from the event spoke about finding solutions to problems and their performances.

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