Inspired by Inspiration: Jill Bolte Taylor’s “A stroke of Insight”

My amazing comrade at arms, Alex Rister, shared with her readers this wonderful talk from, which I learned about in one of yesterday’s Professional Communication and Presentation TED analysis speeches: Inspiration: Amy Purdy on Living beyond limits.

I figured I’d add one of my favorite sources of TED inspiration, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, whose talk A Stroke of Insight moves and inspires me every time I watch it. Like Purdy, Taylor was an expert in her field of neuroanatomy who found herself experiencing what her patients experience–a stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. She recounts the experience with humor, humility, and beautifully crafted metaphors (as Alex and the class are studying logos tomorrow, I felt it necessary to look for examples of amazing metaphors–metaphors are powerful rhetorical tropes; they show the inherent truth in something abstract by connecting it to a tangible experience).

Taylor experienced a complete and catastrophic shut down of the left hemisphere of her brain, and while it took her years to recover, it was the ultimate truth she was left with after the experience that provides lessons for viewers. Existing entirely in her right hemisphere, Taylor discovered her connection to the universe, to the great energy that links all matter together. The experience liberated her from her own ego, so much so that Taylor is in tears by the end of her talk. She chooses now to exist in the right hemisphere as a collective part of the universe, and invites us to consider what would happen if we chose the same.

Even if none of this moves you, Taylor uses a real human brain as a prop–that at least, should grab your attention enough to give this amazing talk a thorough watch and listen.

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