The Vast TED Experience

  • Phil Hansen at "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night" in 2008
    Photo: Steve Granitz/

51st GRAMMY Awards official artist Phil Hansen was invited to speak at the TED conference in Long Beach, Calif. on Feb. 26. Following are his thoughts after delivering his remarks and experiencing the TED culture. You can view Hansen's video submission for the TED Global Talent Search below.

It's been a whirlwind from when I nervously auditioned at the first TED global talent search to even more nervously giving a talk at the TED conference on Feb. 26. Being at TED was like a stuck throttle in my brain. Every night, I felt exhausted from absorbing information yet so excited to wake up the next day for more. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the vast experience that is TED, but a few things about the TED community really struck my core:

1. I was really humbled by how much everyone is rooting for each other. The TED mentality is about helping each other. And by helping others, you help yourself.

2. By bringing together such a dynamic group of people, there are so many opportunities for collaborations and creative remixes, which is why great ideas are born at TED.

3. TED is not just about sharing ideas but sharing actions that improve the world. Thomas Edison said, "Vision without execution is hallucination." I left TED so excited about our future because by coming together, we make ideas tangible. And we can alter our future.

My TED talk was about embracing limitations to drive our creativity. I shared my personal journey about how facing nerve damage in my arm changed the course of my life. Little did I know how much people would connect with this idea and openly share their stories of limitations with me. We are being challenged with more limitations than we've faced in a long time. I feel hopeful that by changing our mindset about limitations, we can replace setbacks with opportunities.

(Minnesota-based multimedia artist Phil Hansen was commissioned by The Recording Academy to create the official artwork celebrating the 51st Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2009. Hansen experiments with different media in his art, including creations made from matchsticks, food, flesh, blood, and YouTube-ready video.)

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