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TED speaker Pico Iyer on traveling and staying still


Global author Pico Iyer enthralled his audience at SAP Silicon Valley with stories and insights from his travels, from Los Angeles and Atlanta to Tehran and Pyongyang. Hosted by Scott Leatherman, Vice President SAP Silicon Valley, Pico’s talk is the first of a series of presentations by TED speakers that will take place at SAP in 2015.

“The world is much larger than our ideas of it,” believes the cultural explorer, who decided to move to Japan from the U.S. in his twenties while exploring the little Japanese town of Narita during a short flight layover. The unexpected and unwanted experiences are often what change our life course. Pico urged the audience to explore the unfamiliar, close to home and while traveling. Give yourself an unusual mission, he advised, like finding cardamom in Hong Kong, and see how surprising your day can turn out to be.


Our digitally wired lives, where we receive an email, text, or phone call every few minutes, create an illusion of knowledge and connection. Pico, who does not carry a mobile phone, talked about the importance of moving out of our routines and creating quiet spaces in our lives. This stillness, whether from a short walk or from travel as with Pico, lead to more clarity, focus, and creativity.

By giving ourselves time to be still and to wander, Pico believes we will be able to reconnect with ever more energy and inspiration. The audience had a lively discussion with Pico about imbibing stillness into our daily lives, in parenting, and resolving conflicts.

This talk was part of Month Of Inclusion at SAP Silicon Valley. During February, more than 90 speaker sessions by SAP executives and external thought leaders will address a range of topics important to employees, from personal and professional growth to community and social issues.


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      Author's profile photo Moya Watson
      Moya Watson

      Super story about what sounds like a great event! Missed this one, but glad you brought it to life!  "Be still and wander." Love that.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Glad you enjoyed the story, Moya:)The next TED speaker at SAP will be autism activist Temple Grandin - she is amazing! Hope you can make it to her talk on April 6 at Palo Alto! There will also be a live stream