Shift The Script – Why Your ‘Supposed To’ No Longer Works | Blake Mallen | TEDxWatts

Shift The Script – Why Your ‘Supposed To’ No Longer Works | Blake Mallen | TEDxWatts


Translator: Joshua Beal
Reviewer: Cihan Ekmekçi Remember how much we all
just loved pop quizzes in school? We’re going to start with one of those. If you feel like you know the answer, just fill in the blanks
by shouting the words out loud. We’ll all do it together, here we go. So, living a good life is simple. It starts out around age five. Grab the back pack, it’s time to go to – Audience: School. At school, study hard to get good – Audience: Grades. So you can graduate high school
and get into a good – (College) So you can get a good – (Job) Work hard so you can make good – Audience: Money. Meet the right person,
fall in love and get – Audience: Married. Find a house and start a – Audience: Family. But don’t forget to save your – (Money) So you can eventually – Audience: Retire. And be – Audience: Dead. Not dead. (Laughter) Not dead. The end of the story is happy. The end of the story is happy. Amazing job, A-pluses all around. Give yourself a big round of applause. (Applause) So, now that we’re all done with that, I want everybody
just to pause for a moment. How did we all know
the exact same answers? How did I know
that you’d give those answers? Because I’ve told that story now to tens of thousands of people
across 14 different countries. And despite all the different ages,
backgrounds, different parts of the world, nearly everybody always
answers the exact same way. And what exactly do you call this thing we just recited
from the top of our head anyway? I call it the script because it feels like
a prescription we’ve been given for how to live a good life. It serves as our belief system
around everything we’re supposed to do and our internal measuring stick. It kind of gauges how well or not so well we feel we’re doing in life. It’s the thing that makes some of us
feel like we’re failing if we don’t get certain letters
on a report card or aren’t married with kids by age 35 or the only way we can be successful is if we’re a lawyer or a doctor
or a rapper or a pro athlete. You see, aware of it or not, we all have ingrained in us a script that we’re following every single day. But the question is why,
and where did this script come from? And the big question, How is it that all of us,
as different individuals with our own unique set
of talents, gifts, goals, are all expected to follow
the exact same script? You see, I’ve spent half of my life
searching for answers to these questions. And what I found may surprise you. Let me go back in time to a moment where I had no idea there was even
such a thing as the script. So, growing up I was
kind of a scrawny kid. But even then, I knew
I wanted a lot out of life. Call it success, happiness, meaning. How many of you guys remember
wanting to be successful, growing up? I grew up in a good traditional household. My mom, a school principal;
my dad, a police officer. Yeah, a cop and a principal as parents. Not meant to be a joke,
but I appreciate you laughing at my pain. Thank you. And they gave me the script
we all just recited: here it is, the prescription for life. And who was I to argue? So I followed it to a tee. I was the outstanding sixth grader award
in my elementary school. I was the student body
president at my high school, graduated with a near-perfect GPA, went to a highly academic university. Got a pre-law degree,
cum laude in a total of three years. Yeah, you say wow, I say why. (Laughter) And all joking aside, it was
actually that question, Why? that began to shift everything for me. I remembered the exact moment
I was interning for a district attorney, sacrificing my summer,
filing giant manila folders and feeling absolutely miserable. But I figured, it’s just a price
I have to pay, right? Then I looked around
at the people in the office that had the jobs that I was supposed
to go to school to get, and most of them seem miserable too. So, there I was cramming
my class schedule, fighting for grades, building the resume
to get to where they were. It didn’t make any sense. And I had a friend stop me and ask me a very simple question. He said, “Blake, why are you
doing all of this?” And the only answer that I had is “Isn’t this what I’m supposed to do?” I hated that. You see, that was the moment
where I first became aware that all my life,
I’d been following a script without even realizing it and without ever questioning
if it was even the right script for me. Sound familiar? So, I began questioning everything. I was like that kid that constantly
asked, ”Why, Why, Why?” I wanted answers. Books, seminars,
documentaries, you named it, I read it or watched it. I want to save you all of that time and share with you three important
things that I learned about the script. First, there’s always been a script. Study civilizations across the world, and you’ll see that younger generations
are always taught a life script based on what the economy
and society needed at that time. No, we’re not handed a piece of paper
titled ”The Script” on top, but it gets communicated to us through the people around us,
our education and so on. And ultimately, that script will determine how most people will
live their entire life. It’s always been that way,
just nobody seems to talk about it. Second, shift happens. (Laughter) In other words, throughout history,
the script changes. For example, go back to
when our nation was founded. Our economy was largely
built on agriculture. So what did we need? Successful farms. So from the time a kid
could carry a bucket, they were taught what they needed
to know to support farming. Let’s call it the farm-work script. But then as technology advanced,
we needed less people on the farm. So that by the early 1900s, industry jobs had actually
passed agricultural jobs for the first time. So what did we need now? Successful factories. And that required something different:
consistency, conformity. This is where following
protocol became a priority. And so we shifted from a farm-work
to a factory-work script and designed many of the
educational, economic, political and other systems still in place
today to support it all. Third insight: scripts work. You see, all life scripts seem to come
with a kind of unspoken promise. Follow it and you’ll live a good life. It’s a social contract of sorts. And there’s plenty of examples
of that promise being kept. After all, the farm-work script
provided a good stable life for many. The factory-work script
powered an industrial revolution. It’s what gave birth
to the American dream. There’s no question that scripts worked, but all only for a period of time
until the world changes. You tell me, what has changed in our world
since the early 1900s? The answer would be almost what? Everything. But I’ll tell you one thing that hasn’t
changed in the last hundred years. The script. So what happens
when the promise of the script – love, success, happiness – and the reality that comes
from following it start to become two very different things. Because that’s what I saw. While the factory-work script
still seemed to work for some, it wasn’t working for everyone. It definitely didn’t feel
like it was working for me. And the deeper that I dug,
the more that I learned, the more that I felt
like I’ve been lied to. Unintentionally, yeah, but lied to. I realized I’ve been following a script written for a time that no longer existed and if I continued, would lead to a life I didn’t even want. I can’t be the only one. And I felt this 18 years ago. So let’s fast forward to today. Although more educated, millennials now make up around 40%
of the unemployed in our country. We’re all familiar with that whole
midlife crisis thing. But have you guys heard
of the quarter-life crisis? LinkedIn just put out a new study that said 72% of young professionals,
that’s three out of four, have experienced a quarter-life crisis,
questioning their life decisions. And this isn’t just a millennial problem. Right now, the happiness index says that only one in three
Americans are very happy. So if you’re there thinking, “Blake, I have no idea
what you’re talking about right now. I’m perfectly happy,” well then, odds are the two people
next to you probably aren’t. Imagine what the stats would be if these studies were done
in lower income or minority communities like we’re sitting in right now. The results would even be more alarming. And then there’s Bronnie Ware, that nurse that spent years
documenting and recording the most common regrets
people had at the end of their life. The number one regret of the dying: “I wish I had the courage
to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” You see the gap between the promise
and the reality is getting bigger. Now it’s easy to think, “Blake, why don’t people
just pick a better script from today?” Come on, let’s be real. A lot of people are trying,
but most people feel stuck. I found that most people that are stuck
fall into one of two camps. I call the first camp the traditionalist. You’re still holding onto the old script. You did everything right, but there’s a part of you
that just feels like something is missing. You continue doing
what you’re supposed to do, hoping that one day it will all pay off. This is a camp of a lot
of boomers, older gen X-ers, millennials that don’t want
to piss off their parents. I know this camp well. I lived in it for 18 years of life. How many of you guys know people
in the traditionals camp right now? The second camp I call the rebels. You rebel against the old script. You know something is missing, but you don’t quite have
a new proven script to follow. You might feel misunderstood by others, maybe sometimes doubt yourself, but you’re hoping that one day,
you’ll figure it all out. I know this camp well too. I remember, actually,
when I graduated college, all my family and friends
seemed to ask the exact same question. They’re like, “Blake,
so what are going to do now?” There’s me, graduated early
with honors, great resume. My answer, “I think I’m going
to be an entrepreneur.” (Laughter) People thought I was crazy. How many of you guys know
people in the rebel camp? By the way, these two camps
might help explain some of the tension we’re seeing
between generations today. I feel like we’re stuck in a generational
yelling match over a bad phone connection. You got older generations saying,
“Just follow the script.” Younger generation is trying
to yell back, “It’s not working!” Older generations,
“They’re not listening.” Younger generations yelling,
“It’s not working!” I guess me being born in the early ’80s puts me right in the middle
as a getting-gray-hair millennial. (Laughter) I feel like I can hear
both sides of the conversation and just want to help
the worlds come together. Despite who’s right, both feel stuck. Both are missing the same thing. Both need a shift. Good news is there’s a third camp
you can join today. I call it the creators. You’re very aware of the old script
that’s being passed down, but just know that if followed unfiltered,
it’s not going to work for you. So you take the parts you want,
leave out what you don’t, find what else you need
and create your own way. This is where I found the life and success
that I’ve enjoyed for a over a decade now. Like making my first
million before age 25. Doing that tens of times over by age 30. And while money is important,
quality of life is about so much more. I love my wife. I love being a father to an amazing boy. We got a baby girl due any day now. We’ve been able to keep health a priority,
see the world, create new experiences, focus on my career on pursuing ideas
I’m passionate about. And I only share this
to say that it’s possible. It’s what? Audience: Possible. And it can happen quicker today
than ever before. Think about it, who do you know
that’s crushing it right now? I don’t mean crushing it just in business. I mean crushing it in life. Who comes to mind? Are they following
the same script you are? You see, after studying hundreds
of creators over nearly two decades, I found that we all have
at least one thing in common. At some point, we decided to stop trying to be the person we’ve been told
we’re supposed to be and to become the person
we’re meant to be. We shifted our script, and you can too. Let me ask you guys, If the you of today could go back in time and have a conversation
with your younger self, what part of your script would you change? How much more of your life
needs to go by before you make that shift? So by now, you guys are thinking, “Blake, I get it already.
Just give it to me. So what’s the new script?” After everything I just said up here,
I’d be hypocritical to say, “Okay, here’s your new
one-script-fits-all.” So, no, I’m not going to give you a prescription of what you’re
supposed to do. My mission though is to inspire you to start discovering for yourself
who you’re meant to be and to shift the script you need
to be that person every single day. And I actually just gave you
everything you need. So, three things you can do
to begin immediately. Number one, admit there’s a script. There’s massive power
in just the awareness. Realizing there’s a script can feel like someone just turned the lights on
for the first time all your life. But once you know you’re following one, you can begin to question
if it’s the right one. Number two, ask why. Why do you think that? Why do you do that? Why do you care? Start questioning the script
that you’re following every day and be honest with yourself. Is it productive or destructive? Is it just because you’re supposed to,
or is it something you’re meant to? And ultimately, is it moving you toward
or away the life that you want? And lastly, become a creator. Now, if you are the rebel
or the traditionals right now, and you’re perfectly happy
with everything going on, by all means, carry on. But if you felt the way I did,
you’re looking for something new, become a creator. Some of you will have the passion
to go create new things. Contents, products, technologies.
brands, businesses. Whole new carriers, entire new industries. But all of you have the potential
to create your life your way. And that’s the power
of becoming a creator. Maybe start with the script
that we recited earlier, and you’ll see certain themes. You see, shifting your script
is just changing the belief system you have around the major
themes in your life. For example, who says that your education
only has to happen in a classroom? Shift the script. Or that your happiness has to come
after some never ending series of steps? Shift the script. Or that your legacy
has to be tied to your address, the color of your skin
or where you came from? Shift the script. They’re all just scripts
that you can shift any time you want, and that’s the point. I’ll end with one final story. Like any proud parent,
I want to share a photo of my son. This is Greyson,
and he thinks he’s a dinosaur. He loves to go monster hunting, and he’s pretty confident
he can shoot lasers out of his right arm. Earlier this year, my wife and I
had a conversation with a nice woman who gave us a thick
stack of papers and said, “Please fill this out.
Complete the application. Schedule your interview.” You’d think we are qualifying
for a home loan, only we weren’t. We were applying for Greyson’s preschool. (Laughter) Later that night, something hit me hard. The decisions my wife
and I are making right now are already beginning
to shape Greyson’s life script. And while I have some
ideas of where to begin, the minute he steps
outside our doors, he enters a world where the script is going to reinforce
certain expectations about life, and that’s where you come in, all of you. As parents, friends, family members,
educators, influencers and anyone that genuinely cares
about the impact we’re going to make
on our next generation. Because the script you choose to follow
ultimately writes the story of your life. What story will that be? And collectively, the stories of our lives
make up the world we live in. Which means that if this
conversation right now inspires enough of you
as individuals to shift your script, then it’s only a matter of time
until we shift the script. And that shift is long overdue. Thank you. (Applause)

34 thoughts on “Shift The Script – Why Your ‘Supposed To’ No Longer Works | Blake Mallen | TEDxWatts

  1. Great job Blake! It's high time people are woke up to the truth about what the government and society has trained us to do and think!

  2. Awesome message! I learn something new from you every time I hear you speak. The motivation and inspiration you share.

  3. Amazing talk, Blake! Met you back in 2011, adored you then and still adore you now. Thanks for your continued inspiration!

  4. Good speech…… I'm lucky enough to not need to "Shift my Script". I'm happy, and wouldn't change a thing about my life.

  5. Spot on, incredible talk. I shifted my script and left Wall Street to pursue my passion and hearing a message like this always inspires me to keep going in the right direction. Thank you Blake!!

  6. I didn't really think about this earlier but hey, spot on! We don't even realize that we all are ingrained to follow a script without even knowing! This talk has now kept me thinking! Thank You for this 🙏

  7. Great talk Blake, in order to start a movement you be have someone start it. Your talk is inspiring so many people to remember that life is short and you have to hold onto every moment. Time is the most important thing we have, when you realize that you have traded time for money will it be too late? Thank you for reminding me of this! Money is great, but HOW you spend your time with your loved ones and enjoy your life is more valuable!

  8. Never been a "follow the script" kinda guy, more of an improv. Follow where life leads you, recognise and capitalize on opportunities presented. Love this presentation. Great job Blake.

  9. Blake, your speech was a huge hit!!! and Thank you for leaving a lasting impression and wisdom to each and everyone of us!!!!

  10. I love this message so much!!! As a teacher I see some changes/ideas starting to happen, but it’s SLOW! Our youth are searching for something right now that IS NOT part of the “old” script. We need to become better equipped to help them find “that thing” that truly lets them shine!

  11. It seems to me you are following the script. You studied hard, went to college, are successful in your business, (probably thanks to many skills you learned through school). You formed your own family,..The only difference seems to me is that you figured out that being a lawyer wasn’t for you; however that is very normal too. People shift from their careers all the time. Many poor countries rank very high in the happiness index. Sometimes having too many options is what brings out fear and anxiety.

  12. I’m 20 and lucky to say that I realized early that the script wasn’t for me✊🏼 I’m traveling all over the USA making a documentary on this to bring awareness to it🤟🏼

  13. Blake is an incredible soul with a gift for teaching and building leaders. Blessed to be in his life as he sure has impacted mine.

  14. I'm so lucky to work with Blake on a daily basis. He's constantly getting me to think outside the box & never settle with any script. Nothing is set in stone & we can always grow! Such an amazing message. Never settle on what we are "Supposed" to do!

  15. Inspirational speaker and founder of a multilevel marketing company, ViSalus….. his talk was as good as a tween in video game tutorial inspiring others to play better by simply saying "Get Good". This reminds me of every other salesman that will teach you to be rich, just send them a dollar for their book. Con(vince) 500 million people and you have 500 million dollars. Selling people good feels is absolutely a way to make money…. but its not SHIFTING THE SCRIPT. as a feel good talk 8/10 as a useful device for finding the right script for yourself 0/10

  16. Thank you lot of great information here you are awesome no doubt however I would like to add a couple things and you especially should find this of interest since you have small children. When babies are born their brains are in Theta brainwave mode they're walking around as if they are hypnotized that's why they don't have a conscience, everything we tell them up till age 7 is stored into their sub conscience mind and that is what will run their lives when they become adults. People don't realize it but our lives are ran by your sub-conscience. Adults only have Theta brain waves when falling asleep it's the in-between stage, or under hypnosis. check it out! Peace

  17. I'm Type 2 But Slowly Shifting To 1. Just Can't Figure Out What Tf Is Wrong. And My Bad Luck Is "I'm Good In Studies" So Everyone I Meet Pushes Me To Study. But I Hate It.

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