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The Power of Zero Tolerance | Isabelle Mercier | TEDxStanleyPark

The Power of Zero Tolerance | Isabelle Mercier | TEDxStanleyPark

Translator: Leonardo Silva
Reviewer: Raissa Mendes So, there’s a five-letter word that’s used by the majority
of the human race every day. Many times a day, actually,
for some of us. Yet, this word has the power to kill. This simple combination
of letters kills creativity, it kills individuality, it kills performance, and, worst of all, it kills dreams. And that word is “worry.” 1980 was the year when I had my first face-to-face colision with worry. This is me. Oh, yeah. (Laughter) I’m nine years old on there,
I am full of life, and, as you can see on this picture, I’m also completely unaware
of my slight fashion deficiency. (Laughter) Let’s leave it at that, alright?
Look at those glasses. (Laughter) However, what you cannot see
on this picture is that I am eaten alive by worry. Really? What do I have to worry about?
I’m nine years old, for crying out loud! I’ve got a roof over my head,
mortgage-free – (Laughter) I have food on the table, I have my favorite color pens
in my pencil case. What more could
a creative kid want, right? Most importantly, I have parents
who absolutely adore me. Yet, for an entire week, which,
I’m going to tell you, felt like months, all my energy, all of it,
is spent avoiding, at all cost, one girl: Stephanie, the bully. Why? Because she has decided
that, in order for me to prove my worth, I am to steal her a pack of cigarettes
at the corner store. Really? Did you see that face earlier? (Laughter) That face over here? Does this look like the face
of a criminal to you? (Laughter) No? And “no” is precisely
what I want to say to Stephanie. I want to say “no” to her, but, honestly, I can’t bare the thought
of the consequences that my “no” could, and, in my nine-year-old head,
would absolutely unleash. So, my solution? I avoid her some more. Well, do you know how exhausting it is
to be at “avoidance mode” 24/7? Well, I’m going to tell you.
It’s a full-time job, that’s what it is. The shenanigans I did to avoid her, Oscar-winning performance
is all I can say. (Laughter) Believe me, you do not
want to mess with this girl. She is the biggest bully and she’s also
the leader of my inner circle of friends, and I am petrified. I don’t want to be known as a wuss, and I certainly don’t want to create
my own social suicide at nine years old. Oh my God, I realized that my “no”,
me saying “no” to her, could literally ruin my entire life. Remember, I’m nine years old.
This is dramatic here. (Laughter) So, the phone rings… (Laughter) and I quickly say to my mom, “Mom,” she’s right there –
“remember the deal, right? ‘J’suis pas icitte!,'” I am not here. Well, she answers the phone. To my surprise, I hear this, (Speaker mimics the voice from the phone) “Just a sec, Stephanie.
Isabelle happens to be right here.” (Laughter) “What?” “Oh, yeah.” She leans in, hands me
the phone, and says, “Isabelle, ‘Pauvre petite fille!'” Literal translation, “Poor little girl!” Actual meaning, though,
in her tone of voice, “Why? Why are you doing this to yourself?” And she went on and said –
in French, of course, but I’ll spare you – she said, “Do not, I repeat,
do not be afraid to speak your truth. If you can’t say no
to what you don’t want, Isabelle, you will never have the time
and the energy for what you do want.” (Voice from audience) Yes. Isabelle Mercier: Yes. Thank you. (Cheers) (Applause) However, however nice this was at the time, I was livid! (Laughter) Livid! I am livid, but yeah, in that moment, my life changes forever. Yes, I do muster the guts to say no
to Stephanie, the bully, thank you very much. (Applause) And no, my world doesn’t implode,
it actually expands, and, as a result of that, over the years,
I became completely obsessed with what causes worry
versus peace of mind. And I noticed a very interesting pattern, a pattern that helped me
uncover the culprit that leads to most of what we worry about
and that robs us of our peace of mind, and it goes like this: What you tolerate you worry about. What you tolerate you worry about. What I’m saying is what you are tolerating right now
you are worrying about. Meaning, when you say “yes”
and you really want to say “no” – you know those moments
where all you want to do is say no, or should say no? – is what you tolerate, and what you tolerate will always,
sooner or later, drive you to worry. Now, would it surprise you to know
that 95% of North Americans either go to bed or wake up
worrying about something every single day? We, ladies and gentlemen, are a bunch
of professional “worryaholics.” In fact, we worry so much nowadays
that the phrase “I’m thinking about this” has now culturally been replaced
by “I’m worrying about this.” Yet, 40% of what we worry about will never happen. It will never happen. That, my friends, is like putting a 40%
down payment on a house you’ll never own. (Laughter) How ridiculous would that be, right? Putting a 40% down payment on a house you’ll never see,
smell, experience, or own. Yet, when it comes to worry,
we do it every day. Thirty percent of what
we worry about – get this – has already happened. (Laughter) Has anyone ever
accidentally hit “reply all” – (Laughter) on a massive rant email
that was meant for Bob’s eyes only? (Laughter) Need I say more? Twelve percent of what we worry about
are needless worries about our health. For example, you got a headache
for three days in a row, and, boom! You are worried about a brain tumor. Oh, and if you have the brilliance
of consulting with “Dr. Google,” now you go from having a brain tumor
to having six months left to live, right? (Laughter) Ten percent of what we worry about
are petty miscellaneous worries, like what to cook for dinner, or what shoes to wear
for a TED Talk, for example. (Laughter) Now, I don’t know
if you’re calculating this, but that leaves 8%
for real, legitimate worries, eight percent, which means that 92% of what we’re
worrying about is complete nonsense, and that nonsense, by the way, not only keeps us
from being at out best – oh, no – it keeps us from actually living. So, what if, what if
we took all this energy that we use to worry about this crazy 92%, and what if we repurposed it? What if we repurposed it
to do something good, something positive? How about this? Something tangible might be nice. Well, as a very proud
recovering worryaholic myself, and a strong believer
that we’re all on a journey to increase what I call
our units of happiness, our peace of mind, I created a simple formula to help me basically
repurpose this crazy 92% and quickly snap me out
of the rabbit hole of worry that I find myself in on a regular basis – and, if I’m to be transparent
with you today, absolutely every day,
including this very moment. (Laughter) And I call this my “HERO” formula. “H” is for “hush.” First, you’ve got to hush the noise
and hush the chatter, upstairs, in the drawer, so that you can reconnect
with what you truly want. What do you wholeheartedly believe in? What are your non-negotiables? What are you willing or not willing to do
to get from here to there? “Yes, I want you to come for a visit. No, you cannot stay 30 days.” (Laughter) “Yes, I will donate $ 50
to your school fundraiser, but no, in no way, shape or form,
will I bake 250 cookies. Believe me, you wouldn’t want them.” (Laughter) “Yes, I want to work with you, but, no,
you cannot take 90 days to pay me. I am not a bank.” Because what you tolerate you worry about. “E” is for “evaluate.” Evaluate what and who
you are tolerating in your life. Are you tolerating a jam-packed
schedule every day? How about high-maintenance clients, right? How many of those are slowly
but surely dimming your light? How many of you – and this will require
a little honesty on your part – how many of you, show of hands, have one special,
ever so special, family member? (Laughter) Oh, and, if your hand
is not up, here’s a hint. (Laughter) It might be you! (Laughter) (Applause) So, basically, what and who is causing
you more gray hair than it’s worth, and what difficult conversation
do you need to have? Because what you tolerate you worry about. “R” is for “ritualize.” Ritualize the habits that have
the potential to bring your best self, bring your best “you” to life. Elizabeth Gilbert, Arianna Huffington, Richard Brandson, Michael Jordan. What do they all have in common? Well, apart of course from being
game changers and trailblazers like we know them to be, they all have a few simple daily rituals
to be and stay at their best. Not working past 3 o’clock
in the afternoon, for example. Wouldn’t that be nice? Sleeping eight hours a night. Now that is a concept
this girl here has no idea about, because I’m about
halfway there on that one. Having daily inspiration time,
which I call “me time.” Just ask my partner how intolerable I am
without my morning yoga. Now, keep in mind that not all rituals
have a positive impact. Oh, no, that would be
way too easy, wouldn’t it? How many of you have
one of these bad boys, and look at emails
within one hour of waking up? Bad news for you. This little habit alone is proven
to reduce your performance by 27%. Don’t think that’s much? Add that to the crazy 92%
of useless worry, and you might just have yourself
a recipe for disaster. Successful people know
that their performance is a direct result of their daily habits
and of their daily rituals. They truly do know what they need
to be and stay at their best. So, I’m curious. What’s your winning ritual? Is it an early-morning walk
before the kids get up? Is it a hot bath at the end of every day
to melt all that stress away? Good idea for me today. Or is it as simple as watching
an inspirational TED Talk before going to work? What do you need to do,
on a regular basis, to feel happy, healthy, and fulfilled,
instead of being worried? And, most importantly, what the heck are you tolerating
that is keeping you from doing it? Because what you tolerate you worry about. Hush, evaluate, ritualize,
and finally my absolute favorite: “Own.” See, it’s not enough to know it,
you’ve got own it. Own what you stand for. Own your non-negotiables. Own the fact that you are responsible
for what you choose to worry about, and that, as of today, right now, you will no longer tolerate the things,
the people, and the habits that are causing you to worry. Peace of mind is a choice. It’s a choice that requires
a lot of commitment, I’ll grant you that. It’s also a choice that requires
a whole lot of guts and courage. Why? Because it’s not easy to say “no”
to someone we love, of course it’s not, but it’s freeing. No, it is not easy to go to the gym
day in and day out after long, hard days at work, it’s not, but it’s energizing. And it is certainly not easy
to treat ourselves as importantly as we treat everyone else, but it is massively rewarding. So, the next time you worry
about something, first remember you’ve got a 92% chance
that what you’re worrying about is a total waste of time and energy. Second, apply the HERO formula –
hush, evaluate, ritualize, and own – and ask yourself, “What am I tolerating?
Who am I putting up with?” And, if all hell breaks loose
and you can’t remember the HERO formula – which probably will happen, right? – here is my backup plan for you: I want you to set yourself
a date with worry. Oh yeah, set a date with it. A friend of mine
has a time slot on Fridays reserved exclusively to worry. (Laughter) And I actually think
it’s absolutely brilliant. As she goes through the week, and as worry hits her in the face,
left, right, and center, here’s what she says, “Pause. Would you be part of the 92%? Probably. I will schedule you in. I will schedule you in
and I will worry about you on Friday, between 10:00 and 10:30.” And, as ridiculous as this might sound, when Friday comes, how many worries
are left in her worry slot, you think? (Laughter) Most of the time, none. Now, I was nine years old
when I embraced the HERO in me. Thank you to my mother. And, recently – Thank you. (Applause) (Cheers) Recently, my mother had
a nice, little opportunity to reconnect with the HERO in her. We’re sitting at the kitchen table, having the most intense
and passionate conversation – as always in my family,
there is no other kind; we are Quebeckers after all – (Laughter) when the phone rings. As I go to pick up the phone,
I see my mother going, “Isabelle, je suis pas ici,” I’m not here. (Laughter) “Are you kidding me?
This is way too good to be true. Who do I have to pay for this? Because
I feel like we’ve been here before.” (Laughter) Oh yes, oh yes. I lean in, hand her the phone, and say,
like it’s payback time, (Laughter) “Mother, ‘pauvre petite fille!’ Don’t be afraid to speak your truth. If you can’t say ‘no’
to what you don’t want, you will never have the time
and the energy for what you do want.” Don’t you just love karma? (Laughter) (Applause) (Cheers) So, my question for you is this: If – and “if” being
the operative word here – if you are worrying and tolerating
something or someone right now in your life, will you choose to worry, or will you choose
to embrace the HERO in you? (Applause) (Cheers) Thank you. Thank you. (Applause) (Cheers)

Reader Comments

  1. You're a very good talker, brilliant comedian, that enthusiast me, learning about myself clearly and truly… Thank you! Cause certain talker can be so dull and boring….

  2. A must see ๐Ÿ˜ญโค๏ธ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

  3. Absolutely loved this video! Thanks for the inspiration. I've had quite a bit of worry and I think it's time to make an end to all these unnecessary worries

  4. Planning's always more productive than worrying. By asking yourself the right questions at the right time, you can spare a lot of time and energy) But, about not tolerating, be really careful: some of your minor 'wants' could have a devastating effect on other people. When your 'no' is a matter of self-importance, for some situations and some individuals it could be a matter of life and death. Sometimes literally.

  5. Wow! A truly outstanding and most relevant presentation! Iโ€™ve already begun applying her principles. Thank you!

  6. I have zero tolerance for theft …. so I murdered a million socialists…. but I saved a billion humans from starvation. Zero tolerance

  7. very powerful information. i feel a big life shift coming on. i will take this information and use it to continue propelling my life forward in a unrestricted way. thank you. ๐Ÿ’– ๐Ÿ˜Š

  8. ๐Ÿ”ฅโค๏ธ๐Ÿ”†JESUS IS GOING to HEAL YOUR HEART, ๐Ÿ”ฅโค๏ธ๐Ÿ”†let Him, youโ€™ve got nothing to lose. When I became a Christian in 2018 , he healed me of ALL ANXIETY

    HE โค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ญCARESโค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ญ FOR YOU โค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ญ

    He loves you. ๐Ÿ”ฅReceive his LOVE๐Ÿ”ฅ

  9. Zero tolerance in YOUR world. But keep your boundaries lines in your own life. I won't apply YOUR boundaries to MY life.

  10. TED talks have gotten very derivative, mundane and conventional. Do people really not know this and need to be told in 20 min of anecdotal form? Don't tolerate what is intolerable, or you'll worry about it all the time. There, I just saved you 19 minutes and 45 seconds. Why do I tolerate this mediocrity? lol

  11. Haha when she explained the date with your worries on Friday I litteraly thought "wow, does she write her worries down or how does she manage not forgetting them till Friday". Guess that shows how unimportant some worries are when I'm even worried about forgetting them ๐Ÿ˜‚

  12. You may be on your way, but you allow worry and doubt set in to persuade you that whatever you are doing, or what you want to do stop you. Worrying what others may think is a killer. So kill worry, or worry will kill you!

  13. Islam promotes tolerance ,
    Quran (koran) Surah Al-Mumtahina, Verse 8:
    ู„ู‘ูŽุง ูŠูŽู†ู’ู‡ูŽุงูƒูู…ู ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ู ุนูŽู†ู ุงู„ู‘ูŽุฐููŠู†ูŽ ู„ูŽู…ู’ ูŠูู‚ูŽุงุชูู„ููˆูƒูู…ู’ ูููŠ ุงู„ุฏู‘ููŠู†ู ูˆูŽู„ูŽู…ู’ ูŠูุฎู’ุฑูุฌููˆูƒูู… ู…ู‘ูู† ุฏููŠูŽุงุฑููƒูู…ู’ ุฃูŽู† ุชูŽุจูŽุฑู‘ููˆู‡ูู…ู’ ูˆูŽุชูู‚ู’ุณูุทููˆุง ุฅูู„ูŽูŠู’ู‡ูู…ู’ ุฅูู†ู‘ูŽ ุงู„ู„ู‘ูŽู‡ูŽ ูŠูุญูุจู‘ู ุงู„ู’ู…ูู‚ู’ุณูุทููŠู†ูŽ

    Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.
    (English – Shakir)

    via iQuran

  14. You guys worry about Islam and have nightmares after nightmares but yet you Tolerate Islam. You tolerate that monstrous religion because you are terrified of what would happen if you did Not tolerate it: You are worried that your peer groups would abandon you right? So you put that fear of social rejection before Love and Compassion. Love means I stand up against violence and oppression. Each person is responsible for the way the world shapes itself. Each single person. So listen to Isabelle and stop tolerating the stuff you are worried about.

  15. I feel very embarrassed when I hear s. gals addressing God loudly, saying "Father, Father!" – this is because I cannot imagine A Pure Father having s. with daughters. – G

    DISCLAIMER: I am not sure what I meant by the above – so please don't try to find hidden meaning where there is no hidden meaning. (Really?)


  16. I agree that God doesn't particularly care about s. with ANY gal no matter how s. (God has infinite self-resoect. No one on and inside Earth knows this better than Eve. God is not cheap. Yes, FREE WILL for everyone else, but FREE WILL also for Himself – and He has no desire to run after cheap pr. – He is not obsessed with s.) – G

  17. But what if the toxic person is my mother? She never supports me with any of my decisions and although I am a 21 years old student (with no job at the moment), she forbids me to do anything normal and fun for my age (she gets mad if I want to go for a walk after 8 PM with my boyfriend – we are together for 3 years now). Me and my mother don't have a healthy relationship and I feel she's acting like a bully. I don't know what to do about it because I don't think that she can change anymore. I am looking forward to moving in another city with my boyfriend and getting a job so I can see her less.

  18. I mastered the art of saying NO, only after I realized that anything rewarded gets repeated. To that end, there is no benefit to saying yes to what you do not like or desire. An act becomes a habit when it no longer requires thought. Martin Luther King: "You don't have to see the ladder just take the first step"………………

  19. Been watching multiple times.Figuring out how to get courageous as this Girl Isabelle…the A4 sheet I grab on the printer is now full of notes taken from your talk!Such an encouragement!I will keep watching till I get strong enough to speak my Truth!And courageous enough to say NO and not always nodding saying yes…Thank you!

  20. Thatโ€™s the liveliest and sense-packed talk Iโ€™ve listened to in quite a while. Thanks for all the joie de vivre, you insufferable naysayer ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. Hello everyone,
    I'm from Australia and I made a Facebook group called Sheila's Joint. Its for woman of every age 16 and above. I created it in hopes of making it a safe place for woman to express themselves, to ask questions without judgement. The world needs more love and light, let's share ours with each other an empower one another

  22. Her mothers experience with the phone call is a clear reminder that, even if we are the originator of an idea, we also need to be reminded of it, every now and then.

  23. So easy to say 'don't worry' not so easy to do when u are being slowly starved to death by legalities, buried by rent increases, and noone seems to be concerned about it but u…. telling off a school bully is a completely different spectrum….

  24. but I'm sorry you were bullied however this better than being totally unacknowledged like I was. no boy asked me out no girl would be my friend… you see I'm unsightly to look at so I've been told. even on the inside. ๐Ÿ˜“

  25. "what you tolerate you worry about…. when you say yes and you really want to say no. what you tolerate will always sooner or later, drive you to worry"

  26. Yeah! Now you can expell a bullied kid for actually doing something against his bullies! Amazing!!!

  27. so what did your mom say when you did that? i would love to hear hear the rest. i dont know why but would like to hear it. ooh yeah great talk

  28. Allow me to share my profound insight. Follow this guide to become your most woke you:

    Work. Work on yourself, don't waste time working for others.

    Recite. Recite to yourself every day the things that make you special.

    Onward. Onward you go, never looking to the past.

    Never. Never give up on your dreams, no matter how unlikely they are to come true.

    Give. Give to yourself every day the things you think you don't deserve.

    Now, if you have given credence to what I've said simply because I've arbitrarily strung together random words in order to make them fit an acronym, then you're doing it W.R.O.N.G.

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