Think free or die

by Peter Watts

Because presenting is inventing, constantly check yourself for dogma.

Dogma sets up unchallengeable absolutes, and has a simple purpose: to castrate.

By castrating the ability to question, it shuts down the chance to innovate. Public speaking without innovation becomes mere preaching by rote, the same cold meat served day after day until the intellectual hunger of the speaker becomes numb.

The people of the state of New Hampshire live by the state motto “Live free or die”. To be effective as presenters we guard and nurture that same freedom.

In her book “How to live a life of Montaigne“, Sarah Bakewell describes how the French philosopher lived by a simple credo:

“All I know is that I know nothing, and I’m not even sure about that.”

It is hard to be a know-it-all when your world view is “I know nothing”, and nothing captures the love of an audience quite like humility. Freshness and humility. What a killer combination on stage.

Genuinely free thinkers are few and far between, and that makes them memorable.

We walk amongst those thinkers whenever we cut free from the dogmas and orthodoxies that seek to hold us down.

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