The Process to Become a TED Speaker

Great connections start with lunch. At least how I make lunch. In Japan, there are many varieties of rice.

“Soness, you can’t eat this rice with a stir fry! It’s sushi rice.” Another cultural faux pas. I’ve made more than a few in my 15 years in Japan. I’m beginning to realize they’ll never end.

Rice is rice, right? I mean, maybe I can see not wanting to eat jasmine rice with miso soup. I recognize the consistency issue. When so many people are starving around the world, including obese American literally nutritionally starving themselves fat, what’s the big deal about one type of Japanese rice versus another?

Everything has a specific purpose here. The wonderful thing about Japan is they create tailored goods. It’s very niche. But I’ve got a problem: No time to cook. Apparently people all across Japan have this problem. Metabolic Syndrome (Metabo) is literally a crime. Companies get fined if their employees’ waistlines are too big. What is big? Males over 33 inches or females over 35 inches. Hardly big compared to most countries.

Over the years, I’ve noticed stores carrying my size. I’m not big compared to American standards. I’m proportionately balanced with a small waist. When I first came to Japan, I was told to go on a diet first when I asked to try on a dress. Now, I can buy an American size 6, 8 or 10, thanks to American retailers demonstrating the growing, no pun intended, need for larger clothes.

After discovering a health issue, I found the solution. I cook meals with 3 minutes prep in my rice cooker. Different than a slow cooker, I can cook some meals by leaving it in for 20 minutes, overnight, or up to all day.

“Looks delicious!” my Japanese friends say.
“Thanks, try a bite, I made it in my rice cooker.” I grin.
“What?! Can you do that?” they are puzzled while asking for recipes.

Patrick Newell asked about my cooking methods over lunch at the TEDx NHK Super Presentations Event in March. I had tried to pitch another TED talk idea. He loved my food. My heart raced.

What if you had the chance to sit down with people who could grace you with an opportunity? Would you shy away, or would take up on it?

It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure book from here on. Before continuing on, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Stay tuned for how the selection process works!

What’s TED Worldwide Talent Search like?

Soness Stevens getting feedback from Chris Anderson, TED Curator

What’s TED Worldwide Talent Search like?

American Idol for smart people. That’s the simplest way I can describe it.

I love that there is no real winner because even those who do not get chosen to go to Longbeach, California wins both onstage and off through the exchange of Ideas Worth Spreading. Everybody wins. From what I understand, just like a talent search, even those who get up to the final rounds get amazing opportunities.

Looking at the brilliant minds surrounding me, I feel like a kid who accidentally got put in the honors class due to a typo. No, wait, I am meant to be here. I may not be a neuroscientist, but I know how to spell it…or at least spell check it. Oh, I was in the honors class. Might have been a mistake, but I rose to the occasion.

I’m thankful for my community and TEDxTokyo who believe in me knowing the passion that burns inside. Thank you for the opportunity to share a simple idea.

I hope to spread two simple things:
1. A solution to time and healthy cooking that the audience can apply the moment they get home.

Time is valuable. I had no time, and frankly no skills, to cook healthy meals. It was more than just expensive to eat out, I was getting sick. So, I needed to change ASAP. I looked around my kitchen at the only device I never used and had an Ah-ha moment.

Now, I cook 3 meals a day in a piece of Japanese technology most people already have. It takes 3 minutes to prepare meals. Just mix simple ingredients in it. Push a button and go. I have time to do what I want to do: sleeping, running, working, surfing, etc. I make 3 meals a day in a rice cooker. I’m healthy again and have cut my food bill by 2/3.

2. The solution to problems might be right in front our face. 
The solution may have one name, one limiting purpose (It is called a rice cooker for a reason) but I say, “In life, go against the grain.”

What solutions are you seeking that might be staring at you in the face?
Have you ever felt out of your element but chose to go for it?

Please share and let’s discuss in the comments below.