Dr. Wayne Pernell’s How A Parallax Perspective Can Disrupt Perceptual Bias

Filled with hope and a desire to both spread a new idea and to redeem myself from a mostly adequate first TEDx talk, I reached out to TEDxRutgersCamden. There were hoops to jump through and I made sure I met or beat any deadlines suggested or imposed.

TEDx is serious and I wanted to honor the process. In so doing, I was honoring MY process. This work is personal. The concept of sharing an idea and elevating it to an idea worth spreading is personal.

I had ideas. I leveraged the notions of staying curious with how to see things differently. Ultimately, I wanted the talk to inspire accountability for creating conversation and for each of us to deliberately see other people differently from how we first judged them. When we do that, we can heal the wounds that our global society is feeling. We stop right-fighting and listen differently.

My passion surged. So I wrote.
And I wrote.
And I rewrote.
And then I thought that all of this could become a book. It could also become the foundation for my keynote. And it will.

Through all of the writing, I wasn’t as concise as I wanted to be.
I submitted my drafts and received some helpful feedback… There’s so much to be said in a 10-to-18-minute time frame.

I began funny.
I went down a rabbit hole (or two) that became unnecessary to include in my final.

I received feedback that made me wonder if anyone had actually read my words. And then, I dug back in and rewrote again, to make it clearer.

I was loving my work. And I still do. The message is one that both lifts and inspires, without my talk being the presentation of an inspirational speaker.

The rehearsal and commitment-to-memory phase had begun.
And before I knew it, I had the first line down.
Then, the first paragraph.
And then, somehow, I found myself stumbling over the next paragraphs.
I told myself I’d get it in me. I’d rehearse until the words were mine.

And that process, the running of the miles that no one sees, that’s a tough thing.

A few weeks before the date for presentation approached, we speakers were alerted that hard choices had to be made in the wake of COVID restrictions. While initially we looked at pushing out the date, the decision was made for the presentations to go pre-recorded and virtual, as the campus was shut down.

I was both disappointed and relieved and immediately leapt to action, contacting my mentor and arranging to film my video under her direction in New York. I flew to New York, incurring the expenses of my travel, my mentor’s time, and the use of the studio space and her award-winning cinematographer. This was an investment in my future and the way to honor my message while giving something special to TEDxRutgersCamden.

We created a cinematic treatment of my speech.

The feedback I received, “…AMAZING!!” in all caps with two exclamation marks felt so good. In showing the preview to friends and family, I was told that they got chills.

I’m thrilled and can’t wait for the premier. I can’t wait to share my message further. I can’t wait to let people know How A Parallax Perspective Can Disrupt Perceptual Bias (and bring us closer together).

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