Extraordinary Ordinary was the theme of #BRAINCANDIES LIVE SESSION 14 on March 29. Five really interesting speakers, one fascinating surprise speaker, an engaging host, and an inspiring young fill-in host. Combine that with a lively, fun (and funny) audience who weren’t afraid to get involved and ask some thought-provoking questions, and well, it was indeed an extraordinary evening.
Our host, Aiman, got the ball rolling with some of the #BRAINCANDIES rules. One that gets the brain in motion – Don’t do anything you can’t do twice! Do you know what that even means? The audience had a challenge trying to explain that one!
It was then time for the first speaker of the night - Micah Westera with his talk The Same but Different. He talked about how we’re all built from the same elements but despite this, we are all so unique. Micah gave one example of he and his sister – they were raised by the same parents, with the same values, in the same home, at the same school, yet they are both so different – and how and why is this so?
Next up was Terence van Lange: Man with a Plan. Success by Failure. Terence took us through his failed plans and how they led him to his next path – from his dream of being an astronaut being dashed by his dislike for school, to becoming the top breakdancer and those plans being dashed by injury, leading him to become a world class MC for Hip-Hop events, to realizing his current dream as a writer.
The third speaker was Mel Lakerveld. Her last attempt at public speaking 20 years ago ended up with her fainting. Since then she had avoided speaking in front of a crowd. Mel’s talk was titled One Moment in Time – A Three Minute Moment. A lot of people were fascinated with her phobia – trypophobia - and were moved by her story of her grandfather. Mel reminded us not to fear different moments because the best things come from them. And she lived up to that: not only did she overcome her fear of public speaking but she didn’t faint!
As with all #BRAINCANDIES LIVE events, there are a number of activities to get the audience moving and connecting, as well to gently nudge them out of their comfort zone with some amusing, light-hearted activities. Amusement was definitely high with the game Apple in Your Mouth. Volunteers from the audience came to the stage and one by one, read some prepared sentences with, you guessed it, an apple in their mouth. The audience had to shout out what they thought was being said. There were a ton of laughs all round!
Speaker number four was Griet Menschhaert with her talk The Grass is Greener on the Other Side. Griet is an artist and the founder of KONT - the slow magazine that’s released once a year. She took us on her journey of how she went from having short, intense, one-on-one conversations with people around the world to connecting people who otherwise wouldn’t come into contact with each other - artists, writers, designers, photographers. Makers from all generations and disciplines who collaborate in ways that they wouldn’t have previously considered.
Sonakshi Das was the fifth speaker of the night with her talk Your Tools to an Extraordinary Life. Sonakshi had a good life back in India – a career, her family and good friends. But as she told us, love makes you do strange things, and it was love that brought her to Eindhoven when her husband was offered a job here. After landing here, she felt lost but slowly found a passion that has led her to live mindfully. Sonakshi showed us some beautiful examples of her mandalas that are perfectly imperfect and inspired us with how she found meditation as a path to a happier life.
A very young member of the audience then took centre stage to fill in for Aiman and used his chance in front of an adoring crowd to tell us all about the stars and space. He then picked a random name out of a cup, and it was announced that Liza van Linder would be the surprise speaker of the night.
Liza titled her talk Crossroads, and took us back to her former careers and passions in the Philippines – from rock singer to jazz singer to dragon boat racer, to her love of cooking and her own time as a chef here in the Netherlands. Liza showed us that when you are at a crossroads in your life, something will land on your plate, and you will know what direction to choose.
After wrapping up the talks it was time for drinks and snacks, providing the perfect opportunity to socialize and connect. Thanks to Ruud Scheerens, the photographer for the evening who captured all of these beautiful images.
#BRAINCANDIES LIVE SESSION 15 will be held on May 31. We hope to see you there!
Here what people answered from the question: “Name one thing that you learned at #BRAINCANDIES”:
That most people have the same distresses in life as me, which makes me calmer
Apples! Not only healthy but can be used for a great party game!
How different life experiences shape us in the persons we are
I came over to have fun and meet people, not to learn something. I think that the idea that we need to learn something from every experience is far over-exaggerated.
To speak more easily with people I've just met
That sometimes it is ok just to be silly, enjoy and relax
Mandala meditation by making it yourself
People can still be understood with an apple in their mouths.
Can make plans, but be flexible
At the start of your talk, acknowledge your nervousness, either directly or by a joke.
Everybody has some struggles which they are fighting to overcome
Moments matter whether they are big or small