By JESSIE CHIANG.
“Do something you are scared of every day”—Holly Ransom
That whole idea freaked me out. I was afraid because of the commitment. I was afraid because I liked my comfortable bubble. That was when I knew something had to change. So today, I am publicly declaring my goal to do something that scares me every day for a year.
Subconsciously, I rejected her idea without even knowing why. It was only later that I started talking about it with one of the friends I made at the conference, that I realised the reason I didn’t want to take up Holly on her dare was because I was afraid. But I’m doing it.
Holly Ransom, who aged 22 was the youngest in a list of 100 of Australia’s most influential women in 2012, certainly knows something about confronting fears.
And she would know, as a representative at the G20 Youth Summit in 2014 she met US President Barack Obama, to whom she was introduced by Australian Council of Trade Unions former president Sharan Burrow as a future prime minister. “That’s why I’m talking to her,” said the US President, according to a Q&A with The Australian newspaper. Ms Ransom has worked high up the chain in some of the world’s top companies and has her own investment group and consultancy aimed towards millennials.
Her words still ring through my mind as I walk away from this weekend, the inspirational fifth annual Festival for the Future conference held at the Auckland University of Technology. Taking a little step out of your comfort zone every day was the best way to conquer your fears, she said.
Holly explained that whatever scary thing we do, it doesn’t have to be huge. It could be as simple as putting your hand up and answering a question in front of your class. Then she double-dared us to take on her challenge.
I have never seen the Sir Paul Reeves building more colourful and full of life.
Festival for the Future is a three day event created run by Inspiring Stories for young people who want to create change and step-up. This year featured thought-provoking workshops, motivating speakers and party music from Beau Monga, Jamie McDell and the Hipstamatics.
After attending the launch of the Future Fund earlier in the week, I expected the Festival for the Future to be nothing short of amazing -- it did not disappoint.
Despite the food shortages, when everyone battled it out Hunger Games-style (I’m not exaggerating!), food for the mind was unlimited. Every speaker session and workshop stretched, reshaped and transformed my perspectives.
For example on the first night, Dr. Hong Sheng Chiong talked to the audience about his revolutionary designs which are making eye examinations more accessible to patients.
Instead of using equipment which costs thousands of dollars, Dr. Hong is fighting blindness with a $20 method using a smartphone, showing that change is as simple as applying innovative ideas to what already exists.
My favourite session though, was the Perspectivity Game.
The basic rules of the game were groups would role play to build factories, harmful or good for the environment and make capital. There were six other teams doing the same thing, all competing to make the most capital, and collectively they made up a world.
I walked into this session completely by accident, having planned to be at other events. (This goes to show that sometimes when your plans are disrupted or changed, it can be the best thing that can happen.)
I won’t give too much away about the result, because chances are some of you might play this one day. However it was certainly interesting to see the behaviours and decision-making processes each team went through. It was also a good representation of how conflicts are extremely difficult to resolve in the real world.
Festival for the Future has definitely challenged me as a person and I really encourage youth to attend it next year. Inspiring Stories offer scholarships for the conference, so if you are a bit strapped, you might still be able to go.
Don’t let this opportunity slip past you! For more information about Festival for the Future and other programs from Inspiring Stories, check out their website.