Friday, October 17, 2014

THE GREAT LOST ART OF ASKING


Somewhat related to power and language would be the art of asking for something in such a way that you guarantee an answer of...."YES?"

I am sharing this particular TED TALK for three reasons.  Number one, as an enthusiast of theater (and a person who realizes that there is a large dose of theater in every language and literature endeavor) I love this presentation by Amanda Palmer.  She is a brilliant speaker and story teller, as well as a pretty good artist in the genre of cabaret-punk music.

Number two, she talks about  both the art of asking as well as the art of discovering the RIGHT question to ask.  Both are equally important.

Finally, number three, because it is both snarky (love) and entertaining (double love), I think it teaches both the art of presentation to an audience as well as the art of using your language to reach a goal or get what it is you ultimately want (language and power.)

Enjoy, and please share your favorite moments!  :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMj_P_6H69g#t=13

56 comments:

  1. I have to say I admire people who are willing to stand out on the streets for hours being status, playing the guitar, or flipping signs for the furniture store around the corner. To me, if they are willing to do that they are probably willing to do more. I'm not the "get a job" person driving down the street. Those people don't know that the girl standing there as a statue has tried to get a job or sign a label. They don't know that the boy flipping the sign got kicked out of his house and couldn't find a job anywhere else. We don't know these things about people.
    I like what Amanda said about opening herself up to people and connecting with people. When we become vulnerable we are letting things inside us, love, passion, hope, that can't enter a closed box. When she started connecting with the people they understood her more and were able to relate and feel willing to help her. If we let down our guards more often we might be able to help more people. Find more love, and passion, and hope.
    Another thing I think helped her in asking was never giving the people the feeling of being forced. She used music as an example. She never gave her albums a price so no one ever felt obligated but she instead handed it to them for free and by doing that they became obligated. Its all a matter of perspective and where the power lies. When you demand someone to do something they automatically shut down and don't want to do it but if you create a way for them to think it was their idea or decision they are more willing to do it.

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    1. I LOVE what you said at the top of your post. SO true! I always think, hey, at least they are doing something productive to earn a living. Whether it's flipping a sign, picking up animal waste, or playing a guitar in the park, they are doing something. SO much better than flipping channels on a couch waiting for a check to come in.

      I also loved about what she said about opening up to people. So many people in the world just want to be noticed and acknowledged. Amanda does this for them. She notices them. She lets them into her heart and dares to ask for entrance into theirs. LOVE that!!

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  2. That was really interesting! Let me say this, she has a lot more guts than I would ever have. She is so brave and devoted to what she loves to do, that even when others judge her, she continues because it means that much to here. Our society sends off two familiar messages that contradict each other. The first one is that those who have jobs that are not college based are “low lifes”. They are people who can’t get any farther than flipping burgers or washing dishes because they are uneducated or unwilling. However, the second message is a glorified, feel good motivator “Do what you love”. Wait a minute. What if working at McDonald’s is what you love. What if you are excited to wake up every morning and stand on a street bench and play music for the public. If there is one thing that I learned from this video, its to not judge people based on their own personal interests in life.

    I have actually heard this “art of asking” in Church before. Far too often, we lie and say everything is fine when greeted by a fellow Church goer. It’s easier to utter,”I’m good” than to ask for prayer. In our world, asking for help means you are weak; too weak to provide for yourself. I think Amanda Palmer figured this out. But, despite the weird looks and the harsh accusations, she remained firm in what she believed. She figured out this sort of physiological desire for people to want to help others when social connections are made. When people care about other people, they want to help.

    I found it so interesting that with 25,000 people, Amanda’s band raised over a million dollars. The same number of 25,000 was considered a failure to the record label and it was all because she asked! She was so connected and so friendly to her fans. She trusted and loved them so much to the degree she let them draw on her naked body. That is incredible. In return, her supporters gave back when asked for assistance.

    I believe people have distorted the action of asking. It was never meant for people who ask for help to be looked down upon. It’s sad that one of the major ways humans can relate and connect with each other is shamed. However, I can no longer see asking as embarrassing or needy. I see it as an art; an art of trust.

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  3. So love what you said about how asking for help has become something of which to be ashamed in our culture when it really is the way we connect with each other...on such a deep, deep level. Being vulnerable is the first step in building strength through adversity. Letting people into your heart so that they will in turn, feel safe to let you into theirs. :)

    For a long time, I was pretty ashamed that I didn't go to law school. That was my family's hope for me. I had great grades in school, got into Princeton, was a disciplined student. But I didn't want to practice law. I wanted to be a writer...and maybe teach others about writing and literature.

    I knew I'd never become rich as my father and mother had, but I didn't want to sacrifice my passion. I have a hard time asking for help, but I do know that when I do, and people/colleagues/friends come through, it is an amazing connection that is made. I am very proud of the novel I have published. I would have written it even if somebody told me no one would ever read it. Amanda has learned that lesson much earlier in life than I. She is an inspiration!

    Do what you love. Ignore the criticizing voices. Listen to those cheering you on, and let them help you make it across the finish line. Maybe someday, you'll be in the position to help others, too! And it's a great feeling.

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  4. My favorite thing that Amanda Palmer said in the video was that we shouldn't be shameful to ask questions. I know that I personally struggle with that just because I'm a shy person. I genuinely care about what others have to say but I don't ask. I just remain quiet because I'm afraid that others will judge me for some reason. It seems as though the world does not trust others very easily. And they have a right to since there are so many psychos in the world. But, that doesn't mean we should just be stand offish to other people. We should be engaging with other people instead of just sticking with our group of friends. Even though we find comfort in our friends, we should find comfort in knowing that we can ask anything of anyone and not be criticized for it. Asking of others is, like Amanda said, vulnerability in this culture. Culture wants people to be strong and independent. Otherwise, it makes us weak. And no one wants to be weak anymore.

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    1. I like that you brought up the culture clash this presents: the notion of strength in independence vs. asking for help. It's hard to reconcile both, isn't it?

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  5. I loved how Amanda Palmer seemed to take you down a few memorable moments in her career. From when she was working as a live statue, bringing joy to random people she didn’t even know, and sharing non-verbal connections with them. I’ve always found art on human beings fascinating. Maybe it has something to do with my love for fashion. Personal references aside, I found Amanda’s pieces of her life to be truly memorable. At first, I found a wall in between me and her because of her eye make up and edgy clothing. But once she began to explain her passion for her career in music I saw myself in her. Using her art to touch the lives of other people, to me is a wonderful gift.

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    1. The 8 foot bride story was a favorite part for me, too.

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  6. Well I must say once I got past her crazy eyebrows, I actually loved this Ted Talk. One she is quite a great speaker and story teller. I love how she explains her life to the audience and even by explaining to the audience about the connections to her fans she is doing the same with the people sitting right there. I also love the fact that she admits that she has to ask for help and accept that. That she has become the "hat" and is receiving money from people that she does not want to take from but has to in order to support herself. A lot of people now and days wont admit that they need help and if they do they do not want to receive it because we have because a self- centered, self- dependent society. Also loved the point of celebrities having billions of fans from afar but true artist understand what it means to have a few fans that are very close and imitate and how that ties in with the connection between the fans and herself. I thought it was really good and I loved the ending when she threw the flower!

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    1. I liked the idea of just emptying yourself--being vulnerable--so that you can truly be the "empty hat," ready to receive. That takes a lot of courage. I agree with you on the self-centeredness of people today. You really have to get over yourself to ask others for help--it is that risk of connection. :)

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  7. First of all: eyebrows. Now that that's out of the way, I have to say that I loved how she viewed her work and her connection with her fans. To her, music is a personal concept, not an enterprise, and that's quite an outside view nowadays. Several people mentioned how she essentially begged, as a statue and a musician. But really, the begging was just a method. What she was really doing was forging a personal connection. Albeit, a connection that resulted in a monetary transaction, but for her it seemed the connection was what was important. I loved how she talked about the eye contact with people on the street, how that was so different from what they had been experiencing, and so welcome to both of them. I believe the reason she spoke so eloquently in her talk was partly due to her ability to seem like she was talking to all the audience members at once. She was relaxed, spoke freely, and looked around. She makes a compelling case for getting people back to the roots of relationships, where it's just one talking to another.

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    1. Her eyebrows convey a sense of whimsy, that's for sure! I like that you focused on the connection because that is really the source of her power as a communicator. :)

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  8. After the video was over all I could think was "Wow, that's amazing.", she really is an awesome person! The way she talks about being ashamed to ask or not wanting to be vulnerable in asking for money, I realized that she was describing me. I get embarrassed if I have to ask someone for money even if they are my close relatives. After watching this video and listening to her calming voice, Amanda Palmer made me open my eyes and think that it's okay, all she did was be brave and trusted people, and that was totally okay. Making connections with people is okay. I loved when she shared about the family from Honduras, they didn't have much and they shared what they had because she shared her music with them. That type of connection is too big and too strong to go unnoticed and everyone should experience that good warm feeling. I believe that she will succeed in her band with whatever they have in store next because of how she connects with her fans and how they connect back with her. I know I will definitely be supporting her from now on because this type of connection and experience can't be missed.

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    1. I loved the story about the family from Honduras, too. They didn't see her staying with them as an inconvenience--they were so honored by the connection. That was heart warming! :)

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  10. This was actually really inspiring...especially to a usually shy person. My absolute favorite thing was how she was talking about asking someone for something not only as a favor, but as a sign of trust. You're basically saying, "You are the one I am entrusting with my greatest flaw: the fact that I'm not perfect and I can't do it on my own. Would you help me?" I've never quite thought of something as simple as asking for a favor like that before. Like she explained, there's always that question of, "Is this fair?". Is it really fair to burden someone with my needs when they could be going through much worse? Although, to her, it's all about creating a personal connection; with the people on the street and her fans. That's definitely a foreign concept to most artists today. Though, they will never establish a connection like her's behind guards and phone screens. I love how trusting she was to everyone she met, whether she was singing or just looking into their eyes and having a silent conversation. Being a singer myself, I understand how important it is to have a deep and personal connection with the song, but I never thought about having one with the people listening. I guess you have to push away that inner feeling that you'll be judged and just trust that they will love it and understand that you aren't perfect. That's all you can ever ask of someone, and if you really establish a connection with them like she explained, maybe they won't think of it as a burden, but something they'd love to do for you. Just like she mentioned, "I didn't make them, I asked them".

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  11. Wow, Megan!! I LOVE your response. Everything you said about your take/experience with this video struck my heart. I am so happy and inspired that her talk resonated with you on such a deep level. I especially love how you talked about pushing away that fear of being judged and take that risk that the audience will love you BECAUSE you are imperfect and relatable and not so untouchable. I also loved your ending. :)

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  12. Questions are hard. Especially with people you don't know. Even with people you do know. As Megan had said, "is it fair?" Even though I am very theatrical and open, if i need or want something from someone it's very hard for me to ask, because I will feel like a burden to them, to ask of them something that they have and I don't.

    Asking for help is a big problem with many people in this day and age. Everyone is trying to be independant and act like help is unnecessary or makes you feel weak. It does for me.

    I love her line "I didn't make them, I asked them" which makes me want to ask people more things, because the worst thing they could say is no.... I like ted talks.

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    1. I like Ted Talks, too! :)

      I loved the same line you pointed out--that was really the heart of this message that I took away, too!

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  13. I like the way she sees asking. It's true that many see asking for something as making themselves vulnerable to others. The way she sees it opens so many doors for people and greater social interactions. She looks at asking questions, the same as trusting others in that they will at least justify her asking with a response and won't look down at her for what she is doing and asking for. I also like how she talks about the crowd that she asks all find it normal to help her out and everyone just watching from the sides finds it completely strange. They way she explained it was amazing, I agree with the fact that when you're asking a question it is not just about receiving an answer, but also the interactions that go on between the two people. Whether it be eye contact or the start of an actual conversation past the original question, the interaction is the major part that many people have lost in asking questions.

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    1. You are so right--interaction, in any form, is an engagement with society, and establishes connections that can lead to relationships. That is power! :)

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  14. First I love her unique look and she seems to stand out, but I think this may be because of her crazy eyebrows. The way she speaks with the audience and carries herself is amazing. I was focused into her speech the whole time. I want to start off by saying I have always loved the people that sound outside with their guitars and sing for people or dance for people for money. I love their unique talents and how they are able to stand out there and do something they love and what makes then happy to not only receive money but also make others happy. Something I found amazing was how much money she earned from people that just donated because she asked. Its crazy what people are willing to do if you just ask other than demanding.
    What I noticed in this video was at the beginning when she first mentioned the drivers passing by yelling “get a job” she kind of shook it off and laughed and made it joke by saying “well this is my job”. As her speech went on, you could tell that those words hurt her and stuck with her for a while. It just shows how much power language has to impact a person.

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    1. Yes! Those words did have a lasting impact on her. Even though they were the words of strangers. I think the reason for that is what you pointed out--she was standing out there, making herself so open to others in her job, and doing what she genuinely loved: connecting. That is probably why it hurt.

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  15. I really like this TED talk; as a matter of fact, I shared it with a few of my friends that don't attend OI, and told them that it was the best thing I've listened to all day.

    We have been built up to think that you're unsuccessful if you don't have an orthodox job and regular set of income. That's just how it is. If you don't work at a coffee shop and make minimum wage, you're unsuccessful. If you play guitar on the street corner with your open guitar case full of money, you're unsuccessful; that talent that you possess is irrelevant if you're not signed to a label.

    So many of us are trying so hard to find something concrete that there's too much competition to even get something definite.

    For Amanda, it wasn't about that. She wasn't the 8 ft bride because she didn't have a job. (what circumstances even lead people to that conclusion, honestly.) There are so many stereotypes and predetermined ideas that people just assume; assumptions make you ignorant.

    She was the 8 ft bride because she found solace in the personal connections she made with people who put money into that hat. There were moments of personal and intimate connections between her and those who were willing to accept the flower from her hand; she was able to establish this understanding that these people were grateful that she /saw/ them and she was eager to see them as well. These personal connections change a person, and they establish trust.

    Trust was a huge factor in her video. She talked about how she always would talk to fans at venues and ask musicians to come on stage and play a few songs with her; by this communication, by this natural desire to want to get to know everyone that was brought into her life, she was able to create this comfortable environment with everyone and this trust. She used her couch/crowd surfing as an example — trust is a two-way street, while her audience trusted her weight and were willing to hold her up (much like her couch), she trusted that her audience (and her couch) would not let her fall.

    Musicians and others have people who adore them, but she's different. She's adored because she connects with everyone she meets. Her fans don't admire her from a distance, they admire her on a personal level.

    When she wanted money, she didn't make them buy anything. She asked. Because she had this trust already in her favor (and in her fans' favor), they were willing to work with her and support her.

    Her story is extremely powerful.

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    1. Loved your reflection on her talk! You really saw deeply into the heart of what I also believe she was communicating.

      I have always told my kids, I don't care what you decide to become when you grow up as long as you are kind, loving, and contributing to making this world better in some way. If you want to be a trash collector for the city, and that makes you happy, well then be the very best trash collector you can be. I will be more than proud. :) Amanda represents what I love most about my fellow artists: their passion and vulnerability. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there like she does, and her fans recognize this and respond with their support.

      It made me smile and feel so glad to hear that it was the best thing you heard all day. :) Thanks for passing it on to others, too!

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  16. This TED talk really got me. I loved how she had the courage to stand in the streets, not only because of self interest but because giving back is very important. This is something we should all be taught. This also reminds me of the honey bee foundation a lot.
    I am the kind of person that values every little thing that others do for me.
    I have gotten to the point where I've had nothing but I still have given everything that I have had & could do.
    In Hurley's class a few days ago, we where talking about how everything that we do is out of self-interest & this is very true. I am not saying that we are selfish; I am saying that we don't do something simply to do it. We do something, to get something back; we help others to feel better and make others feel better. I personally love helping out and trying to contribute in anything that I can because I love others reactions, I love when others are thankful and I especially love when people notice what you are trying to do and see the meaning behind it. Even here at Odyssey we are taught to care for others.

    This really got me thinking about something that occurred on Tuesday. One of the Sophomore scholars need help with setting up the boarder for their bulletin board, she asked around a couple of sophomore friends if they could help out but all of them didn't want too. I happily said yes; despite that I helped out making our own Junior bulletin board and knowing that it was a contest, I still said yes. She was surprised but took my offer and while we where trying to put the boarders up, she looked at me and said "It is the people like you that I am grateful for. You are willing to help whenever my 'true friends' don't".
    I looked at her and smiled politely; even though she didn't know that what she just said made my entire day, just because she noticed that I was trying to be a good person and help her out when no one else would.

    We should notice the little things. We should notice people who open doors for us and those who smile at us while walking by (especially strangers). We should give back without expecting anything in return and most importantly we need to be able to understand that a world without trust and care is not a world at all.

    A team is a really good example for this. In a team we need to be able to trust each other, have each others back and be willing to do something that other might not even be able to do for us, because it is not the action who defines us, is the power behind the action that shows who we really are. So smile at strangers & do something crazy because at the end of the day what makes you long term happiness aren't material things. They are the power that contains the act of kindness.

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    1. Your response brought tears to my eyes. You have such a sweet and gentle soul. I have noticed it daily in my class, and I am thrilled to hear (though not surprised) that others on campus notice it. That is a gift that I hope you will continue to share with the world, because it DESPERATELY needs it.

      Kindness and noticing little things can truly save and brighten lives. Thanks for your post, and I LOVE what you pulled from this Ted Talk.

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  17. Let me bring up one thing first. I think her facial expressions were priceless. I almost laughed a few times out loud because of what she did. Anyway, I wish that i was as good as a speaker as she is. And she made it seem easy to ask for help.. I always have trouble in general when it comes to exposing myself as she says and asking for help.. I like to see myself as an independent person. And when i have to ask for help, it makes me feel inferior, like I'm not as smart. It embarrasses me and I don't like it. It does however show through her story that there are good people in this world and all you have to do is find them. I also liked the point she brought up about her connecting with people through asking them for help. I thought it was interesting, and it makes sense due to you pretty much showing you belly as a dog would to sort of surrender itself to its own and ask for forgiveness. You are revealing a weak part of yourself and asking for someone else to be kind enough to help you. And it makes me feel more comfortable with asking people when i think about it that way.

    Also, am i the only one who couldn't stop looking at her eyebrows for most of the speech? :P They were uh, an interesting choice.

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    1. I LOVE your analogy to the dog who just surrenders all for a belly scratch. :) SO true! I, also hate asking for help. I have actually hurt myself doing jobs by myself when I should have asked for help to lighten the burden. I love how she is challenging people like you and I to look at it differently: instead of being weak, it is reaching out to make connections, and giving others an opportunity to be strong, too. :)

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  18. I thought it was interesting how the lady in the video actually looked at what she was doing and how her eyebrows looked. She didn’t really seem to care for the money at all which I think is an amazing quality that is really hard to find now. Money is something that we see as too valuable to lose and we need to make sure that we get money. She still needs money but she gets it by asking people for it instead of forcing a trade with her music and the money. She also shows that the money isn't everything by the way she interacts with the fans. She sees the relationships with her fans as extremely powerful and wants to actually get to know them and spend time with them. She wants friends instead of customers. I really liked what she brought up and it is something that is interesting to think about.

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    1. I, also love how she realizes it is the relationships that are her key to power in her industry. If only more business owners recognized this. :)

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  19. I have actually seen this TED talk before. Personally, I believe Amanda Palmer is the definition of a good public speaker. She has so much meaning and intention behind all of her words. She talks about the strengths she has gained from her past experiences instead of the weaknesses. Amanda Palmer also speaks from a place of truth and integrity. She connect with the audience by bringing them into her own story. For example, when she was explaining the story with the immigrants from Honduras I felt the happiness. This is a perfect example of how verbal and non-verbal language can impact so many people.

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    1. Yes! We will hear more about how honesty and integrity are KEYS to speaking so that others will listen. :)

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  20. I thought it was cool how she interpreted her job before she started to make music. Most people I would think would just stand there and wait to get money but she made eye contact with people and was able to try and make them feel good about themselves. It is kind of excited in a way to think about all you can do or accomplish by just having courage. She had courage to ask random people about things and didn't let criticism stop her. What I really got from this video was to have courage and don't let criticism and things stop you because you never know what the outcome may be.

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    1. LOVE your final message. :) Remember that through life.

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  21. I enjoyed watching this TED talk. She is a very good public speaker. The way she tells stories really has you intrigued into what she has to say. I like how she really connects with the audience. I've seen people who pretend to be statues or do something entertaining for the audience, with a hat or bucket to be able to collect that extra money. Like she mentioned in her talk people wonder who these people are. I do wonder these things when I see them. They have a lot of confidence to be able to be in front of a lot of people. One thing that she said that really stuck out to me is that people do not like asking for favors. When people ask for favors, it makes them seem vulnerable. I think this is true. I don't like asking people for favors. The only people I might ask are those who I am really close to. Another point that stuck out to me was when she talked about staying at other people's houses. I liked hearing about the family from Honduras that let her stay in their bed while the family slept on the couches and when the mother said that her music inspires her daughter. I thought of this as a way for them to thank her. Another topic that stuck out to me was her music and how she is okay with giving out her music for free. In return this actually helped her a lot. I think it was because she had that connection with her fans. She was able to become friends with them. She did not care about the money, but cared more for her fans which is really respectable. She would put herself out there as a sign, that she has trust. Which is actually really hard to do.

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    1. I love your reflection. The family from Honduras story really moved me, too. Amanda was worried that maybe it wasn't fair to stay with them when they had so little, but their hearts were so big, and rich, and full of gratitude. It spoke volumes about the power of human connections. :)

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  22. My favorite part was the cOuch surfing. Although extremely dangerous, it sounded like an adventure. I also like how everything came together for her. She went from standing on a box trading flowers for coins, to what she is now. It's truly inspiring. It's also odd to know the people who do the side of the road shows would be anyone from a guy with no education to a graduated college student. It gives me hope forty future in a sense to know that dreams come True and anything can happen to anybody.

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    1. Right?? We can never really put too much faith in our assumptions about people. :)

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  23. There were many interesting points in here. Amanda Palmer sticks with the main topic of her music career throughout her speech, not starting directly with it but leading into it and coming back to it at several points. This serves both to help give the speech a concrete focus and also to give an example of the bigger picture. One of her most important points was her attitude toward asking for help. This started with her job as a living statue, and would also be seen in her various needs for food, a place to sleep, etc. later on. As she pointed out, asking for help often feels wrong to us. We do not wish to make ourselves seem rude, or weak, or unwilling to find things for ourselves. There is a strong influence in our society which has some presence in all of us, however much we allow it to dominate our decisions, that tells us that it is a sign of weakness to ask for help. The truth is that we all have weakness. None of us are perfect, or capable of doing everything by ourselves, but we end up trying to hide that. There is a desire to be strong and independent, made even worse by our idea that others will look at us and think us ungrateful for what we already have if we ask for more.

    But she does not look at asking in that way. Instead, she views it as trust, and connecting with people. In the eyes of Amanda Palmer, she is not inconveniencing people by asking, but rather giving them an opportunity. The interaction when we ask for help and receive it is not an interaction in which we simply take. We connect with the people helping us, and we have a shared experience of appreciation. It is an opportunity.

    I have many personal experiences in which I experience fear over asking questions in a variety of circumstances. This is often because I fear to be thought of as weak because I ask. But it is very important to remember that I'm not really saying "I have weakness, unlike everyone else" when I ask, instead I am saying "I admit that I have a weakness, and I trust you with it". The idea of trusting people with our vulnerability and with our needs seemed very prevalent in Amanda Palmer's speech, and from the experiences she shared, it can certainly work out well.

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    1. "I admit I have a weakness and I trust you with it." That is a powerful point you pulled from the Ted Talk. SO true and profound!! I really appreciate how you broke down the speech and what made it work structurally. Amanda Palmer knows how to communicate--to make connections, to engage in her society and with her fans, and to ultimately get the things she needs and wants. :)

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  24. I love people who are truly themselves. They donwhat they enjoy and what they think is right now anyone else. I felt like Amanda was one of these people. It takes a lot to ask for help. It may make you feel weak or ashamed but I beleive with a certain humbleness it becomes easier. I love how she talked about the conversation she had with the man when she was a statue. It is the best conversations sometimes, the ones with your eyes. This video made me feel a little more open to things such as Amanda and I admire her for her strength, uniquness, and humility.

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    1. I especially love that you noticed her humility. It is so rare these days...people see it and are drawn to it and trust it. :)

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  25. I really liked watching this. She has a sort of an infectious personality about her, that draws you in. I enjoyed how she views asking. Its strange, and I just get it. She lives, dare I say, dangerously in that sense. She puts her full faith in others, asks them for help, for just random things, and falls right into them. Her philosophy is basically a giant game of "Trust Fall", with strangers. But I like it.

    However, sometimes I view asking things a bit differently, I guess its sorta like what she says a few times, but I'll still say mine. Sometimes, when I ask people things, it isn't to ask for help, and it isn't me completely, and outwardly trusting them, like she does. When I ask people things, it is me directly, indirectly, telling them, that I trust them to be honest, but more importantly to trust me. I'm always asking questions to solidify my friendships and relationships with others. I ask questions because it feels like a balance of powers. That we aren't fighting for it. Amanda Palmer asks things to put the power in others hands. And I'm sure others ask, with the intention of putting the power in their hands.

    But when I ask things, I want people to look at me, look at what I wrote, and realize that, yes. I do care, because if I didn't, I wouldn't ask you dumb questions, or ask for advice, or sit there, and wait for an answer until a legitimate one arrives. It puts me on the line, but it also puts their faith in me on the line, and that really can tell you a lot about a dynamic in a relationship.

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    1. You're right--definitely a dynamic process and there is CERTAINLY a power dance going on in asking...and really, in any communicative act. :)

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  26. Oh. My. Gosh. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVED this ! The way she explained and talked about her experiences, and the passion she has for her fans to succeed or to break out of their comfort zone is just amazing. I loved everything from this video from being the 8ft. bride and having that connection with the people who just walk by, to having her German fans draw on her when she's naked. It inspires me to want to help people feel better about themselves and to let them know that they're not alone.

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  27. Amanda Palmer sure knew how to capture the attention of an audience. She centered her whole speech on "the art of asking" but she used her personal experiences to ultimently lead the audience into the thought of "the art of asking is important". She used all of her trails from the beginning of her carrier as a statue to her daily struggles now to build a sense of pathos with the audience. She even used a bit of ethos to establish her credibility of "asking" with her audience. Personally, I never would have stripped and let drunk Germans write on me but I understand the point she was trying to make. I did not realize that this stemmed from "the art of asking" but people are too stuborn to ask for even a simple favor. In todays society we are constantly watching movies or reading magazines that tell us stories of men and women who assumably "made it big" on their own, when this is not the case. Today, we think we need to do it all on our own and are often to stubborn to ask for help. But the fact f the matter is that some where down the line those people made a connection just like Amanda Palmer did and asked someone for help. Ultimently, this connection helped bring them to the place they are now. Amanda is a showcase of the "art of asking". Amanda Palmer fully believed in trust and in trusting her fans. She also believed in the timeless tradition of asking. Amanda Palmer didn't just write songs or tell people about these ideas, she made a living example of herself and lived each day according to these principles. And that is something truly inspiring and worth asking for.

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    1. I wouldn't let people write on me even if I were clothed. ;)

      I love what you said in here about how no one makes it big all on their own. We were, I believe, made to be in community with one another, and it is through each other that we discover and exercise our purpose. :)

      I also loved how you pointed out here that she "made a living example of herself." That is really the key to the trust she had with her fans.

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  28. This video was very entertaining for me. I'm not going to lie, I really don't like watching people speak, but this speech was very entertaining. The video was about the power of asking. It's amazing to me that she gave away her music, and was still able to make a living. I don't like her kind of music, but I guess there are enough people out there that do. When after a concert she goes out and asks for money is weird for me. I guess I'm like that one person that refused to beg, and the people yelling, "Get a job!" This video shows the power of asking very well, and how it works in everyone's lives. It also shows how it affects people around the world.

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  29. It was interesting hearing this speech from a musicians point of view. When I heard "The art of asking" I automatically pictured some author, teacher, or philosopher who conducted this intense study complete with facts and data tables. Hearing Amanda's perspective coming from someone in the music industry was refreshing because she actually experienced these things. What I took from the video was more about human kindness then asking.
    Many people now a days talk about how we are no longer a kind society but I beg to differ. I feel we are more of a quietly kind society. I'm not naive or blind enough to believe there isn't cruel and unfair things or people in the world but I don't think we as a society give enough credit to those are representing kindness. We're caught up in the big picture now. We look at our days, weeks, or even years as a whole compared to sections. Usually once you get enough negative things in there, you had a "bad day" but nobody remembers the good things.
    Amanda's stories were breathtaking about human kindness. People who drove across town to give her a Netti Pot for her sinuses, someone she didn't even know! After I heard that story, I was thinking about how amazing that person must've been. Someone who drove out of their way to make someone else's day easier or better, but then I got to thinking of that on a smaller scale. My mom driving to the store to pick up cough drops for me or my friend bringing me a key chain from a vacation. They didn't have to do those things. If they do or they don't will not affect them, but it benefits somebody else.

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  30. In complete honesty, at first I did not want to hear the speech. She seemed so odd, and I wouldn't think I'd find a connection, or that it would lift a rise out of me. I may be way off line here, but the response this speech bought of me was the fascination in how this artist earned her fans through asking, and not demanding. It just seemed so different to me from the mainstream, "untouchable celebrities", as she mentioned. The way that she is so touched about the connections she makes with random strangers, and how grateful she is for the kindness of those strangers makes me give her a lot of respect. This woman truly cares for the support of her fans, and demands nothing of them. She is so down to earth, it is definitley infectious. Her humbleness and passion is capturing, and the way she put aside her ego to do what she could to keep storming forward is truly inspiring.

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  31. Watching this video I could not connect to her what so ever, and I honestly was completely lost, and I watched it twice. I understand the concept of wanting to connect with the people who live for your music, as a fan I look for that in an artist. But what I couldn't understand is why she and her band didn't want to stay in hotels. I know how stupid that is but I guess its just because I haven't been in any situation in which I need to trust a complete stranger with my life. I really don't know how to respond because I didn't like anything about this TED talk besides the fact her set reminder me of RENT when Maureen was protesting.

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  32. I'm not sure if this is a culture thing, or something all humans do, but... I was always raised thinking that asking for someone's help was bowing your head to them and admitting defeat. You asked for help if you were weak. Now, I definitely never think this when people ask me for help. It makes me feel so happy that someone would deem me worthy enough to give them any kind of assistance. On the flipside, though, I won't ask other people for help, even when I am in desperate need of it. I could never be like Amanda Palmer and just ASK people for money. I could never place my faith in complete strangers. I had a really tough time seeing her points. Wile I agree with her on a larger scale, and I think she said some very valid stuff, I could never follow this advice. What exactly does that mean?

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  33. This talk had a very interesting perspective on the idea of asking for things. I think that I would have some reservations about staying at the houses of random people whom I have little to no knowledge about. But the idea of asking itself is a good one. It's all one would ever need to do in an ideal world. I feel like nowadays, people all have too much trouble asking for help. Everybody is too stubborn to admit that they cannot do something. If somebody asks me for help, I would gladly help as long as I'm not already in the process of doing something. It's interesting how far simply asking can go.

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