If money had no value, what would you chase? Nishat Ahmed at TEDxUIUC

Translator: Tulio Leao
Reviewer: Denise RQ Woah! My name is Nishat. As you heard I’m a student here
at [the University of Illinois], I’m studying [Psychology] and Poetry, and yes, it is a major. It is in the English
Creative Art Department but… I got a lot of mixed reactions
when I told people this, whether it’s at a class, or on the streets
or at parties or different clubs And there is
four very commonplace reactions that I get and I want to run through them
with you guys. The first reaction that I got when I say
that I’m studying Psych and Poetry people are like, “Uh…that’s cool,”
and they kind of walk off. And that’s understandable,
because here at the U of I, let’s be honest, you know a lot of people
by their first name, their last mane, and their major, if that. Sometimes you just know them,
“I think that’s Jim, or John or Joe, he studies History,
that’s all I know about him.” So they just kind of brush off,
that’s fine. The second reaction that I get
when I say I’m studying Psych and Poetry is, “Oh! That’s cool.” Because there’s like five of us doing
Psychology and Poetry here at U of I. There’s not that many… The third reaction and this is
my favorite reaction [that] I get, — which is a lot, like, all the time — they say, “Poetry uh? That’s a major?
You can study Poetry here?” And yeah! You can!
It’s pretty awesome! It’s a good time. And the last reaction,
the one I want to talk about that often comes in tandem
with the third reaction is, “So Poetry, huh?
How are you going to get a job? What are you going to do?
Money, yeah…? No? You are not going to make the money?
You are not going to do that?” (Laughter) So, instead of just explaining to you
why I intent to do what I do, I’d like to take my craft
and perform a poem for you, that I wrote for this, can I do that? Can I give it to you as a poem?
Is that cool? Yeah? All right, cool! (Applause) So here it is. “When I told my mother that I was going from Psych in Pre-med into Psych in Poetry she began to worry
as every mother does, wondering, “How can my son throw away his future for writing down this words?” And the first question my father asked me was, “How do you plan to make
a living from that?” And some of my friends laughed, and some of my teachers
shooked their heads, muttering to me their eulogies
before I was even dead. But why should it matter
what kind of money this brings? If money had no value,
how rich would you be? When you get at 75 years or 80 at the least in my estimation, and my declaration
is that I don’t want to be 45 beginning to regret the rest of my life. What are your passions? What do you love? If money had no value
what would be your job? And are you on that path now? If no, why not? Raised in a culture
where everyone is pressured to become engineers or doctors, I’m trying to proctor a future where I don’t feel stopped
because I don’t love what I do. And what’s the point of all the school,
this years that I’ve given up? And what about you? What’s holding you back
from the freedom that you’ve been lacking? Is it your father? Is it your mother? Is it your so-called friends?
Is it your teachers? Or is it a stop further? Is it society? Are you doing it to yourself? Are you manufacturing
your own future hell? I want to spend the rest of my life living
on stacks of paper that I create not these green bills
that I’m forced to make. If money had no value,
what would you chase? If money had no value,
tell me, what would you chase?” I’m chasing poetry,
it’s my passion, it’s what I love, and despite having plans to go
to grad school for Psychology and another, who knows, how many years
doing things in school. On the side, I’ve taken
my poetry to places, and I plan to do it the rest of my life. Just two months ago
I saw published a book called, “The things
they don’t teach you in school,” that features about 70 or so poems that I’ve written over the past few years. I run a blog
that has thousands of followers, I have ammased
over half a million hits worldwide, I get messages from China,
and Denmark and Australia and all these other exotic places
that are really cool. People were saying “Wow,” “Your poetry speaks to me,
I love it, thank you for doing it.” I’m not only just writing that, I’ve taken my poetry
and move them in to lyrics. And I sing in a band and we play
shows here, at ISU, at Brad. University we’ve played with national acclaimed bands
at venues in Chicago. We’ve even gone out of state, to Indiana,
and we have plans for that, more out of state later on. You might be sitting there thinking,
“Well that’s good for you Nishat, but I’m not a poet,
how does this affect me?” And the thing is I didn’t just get lucky
I didn’t have anyone sitting there saying “Yeah! Go do that man,
you grab those poetic dreams!” No, I met a lot of backlash
from different people along this journey, but I loved it and I still love it
and I will always love it, and that’s why I chase it,
that’s why I’m going for it. I didn’t have anyone to say,
“Here’s some cash, go publish your book,” I didn’t have people saying, “Let me make
your blog the first hit on Google,” “Let me give your band
some money to record, let you guys travel out of state and pay
for gas and equipment,” and all that. No one did that for me. What I want to leave you with is this, that despite who is supporting you
or who might be holding you back, whatever it is that you love, whether it’s poetry
or it’s business or it’s art, whatever you find passion with,
follow that, because your future
is no one but your own. No one makes that decision for you, and the choice of your future happiness,
that, is also yours. Thank you. (Applause)

7 thoughts on “If money had no value, what would you chase? Nishat Ahmed at TEDxUIUC

  • I’m sorry, your poem is sucks!!!! I never studied poetry, in fact English is my second languish and I can assure you I could do much better presentation of what you have done. You may want to look into something els, if you are doing this for people to listen to you. 

  • Keep going buddy you are a true inspiration, Few have the strenght to follow their heart !  Big Thumb UP 😉

  • Why people value so. Much money what if the money is no value how they react always dig to money for nothing or sold they life for the money sad to say money is important more that life

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