I was fortunate to be able to attend my 6th consecutive TED event last week. As always, it was awesome. You should listen to every 18 minute talk that becomes available (with the exception of the spider talk – it’s worth 5 minutes of your time).
James Cameron spoke about his life, his movies, his oceanic expeditions and more. It is well worth the 18 minutes of your time (not yet posted so check back here and I will post or at TED.com). One key walk-away for me is something that he didn’t necessarily say but I read between the lines and Cameron later stated during a one on one interview.
While Cameron was filming Titanic, he developed a love for the ocean and exploration. As a child, he had always dreamed of traveling to outer space. For James, the deep ocean was outer space – just as mysterious, beautiful and unexpected. He completed Titanic and spend a decade focusing on the Ocean. In order to explore the depths of the ocean and the Titanic in more detail, he had to build new instruments and machines. He controlled these machine from his submarine, which allowed him to enter the Titanic with cameras as if he was actually exploring the inner depths himself.
Flash forward 10 years to Avatar. If you have seen Avatar you may recognize the parallel between creating the Avatars that could explore a different world from within the pods. What James experienced while he was “taking time away from movies” was a new way to experience the unknown through an intermediary – the equipment that he built for deep exploration. He directly applied these concepts to Avatar, to its great success.
To me, the key message is to be observant. The concern that I have with the world of micro-attention streams (and I’m active on them) is that we fail to observe some of what is truly happening around us. If we cannot observe then we cannot leverage these concepts to other activities. This is where the balance needs to happen – try to find your attention balance. You might read @chrisbrogan‘s post about his activity streams here.
Take what you want from this post but my goal was to deliver the following message – put down your mobile device and pay attention to the world around you, whether it’s your friends, family or the environment around you as you walk down the street – it all matters. Wouldn’t it suck to miss your own Avatar?