Josh Harris TedTalk: Strong Enough to Be Wrong

July 31, 2023

Six year ago when the annual Ted event was held in Vancouver I went to a nearby movie theatre and watched a live stream of some of the presentations. I sat there thinking, “I would love to get to do this one day.” I put “doing a TedTalk” on my life bucket list but didn’t think it would happen anytime soon. Sometimes life surprises you.

Making the decision to stop being a pastor and moving into branding and content strategy (helping businesses better communicate their message), was a big decision for me. It felt like my love for public speaking wouldn’t have an outlet. When I found out that a TEDx event was accepting applications, I took the plunge and sent in my proposal. I was honoured when the hosts invited me to join other speakers for their event.

After a challenging but rewarding process of coaching, practice and memorizing my speech (something I never did as a pastor), I stood on a stage in Harrisburg, PA, to talk about a question that has defined the last chapter of my life: “Is admitting you’re wrong a sign of weakness or a sign of strength?” In it I shared some of what I learned on my journey of reevaluating “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.”

A few highlights from my talk include reflecting on my own experience of:

  • Understanding how much fear was inside me
  • Unpacking how afraid I was of being wrong
  • How easy it is to write the critics off as haters
  • Exploring what and who shaped my thinking and beliefs
  • Contending with why we’re so afraid of being and “getting it” wrong

The talk is broken down into three truths that were foundational to my pathway of growth:

  1. Evolution always involves death 
  2. You can’t rush this process of transformation 
  3. Admitting that you’re wrong will tick some people off (Expect resistance)

This talk was given while I was very much in the middle of rethinking my book (I hadn’t yet decided to unpublish the book and publicly apologize for it), but I think it captures an important moment in my journey and I hope it’s encouraging to you. 

Watch the TedTalk