Christian Long

David Hoffman: Losing Everything

In TED Talks on April 19, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Reflection by ANDREW R.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc

David Hoffman: Losing Everything

David Hoffman, a famous filmmaker, lost all of his collected valuables in a fire just nine days before his TED talk. His losses ranged from his 16-millimeter negative to all of his father’s books that he had left behind. Hoffman was devastated. It was as though a death had occurred in his family. He truly couldn’t believe it at first. He was in complete and utter shock. He didn’t know what to do with himself. He didn’t know if he should keep the burned valuables or just throw them away. He considered the idea that like all of his losses, he had been burned down, in a sense, and destroyed.

Hoffman speaks on how he loves the present and looks forward to the future in a positive manner. He shares on e of the most important life lessons that he learned as a child: “You’ve got to make something good out of something bad.” This attitude in life is very admirable and takes an amazing person to possess it. Without his optimistic outlook and personality, Hoffman wouldn’t have been able to stand up on that stage and express his feeling on how this situation has affected his life.

The fire burned down everything in just 20 minutes.

20 minutes: that’s all it took to destroy his possessions from his long and successful career.

Although the rest of his family was put-down because of this disaster, he spread his optimism to convince them that they won’t get anywhere if they just think negatively. This helped them and everybody got through this hard time together.

Hoffman decided he was going to create a scrapbook-like collection of the burned pictures, records, and books as a memorabilia. He actually liked some of the burned things more than he did before the fire. They looked more antique and special. Hoffman was not scared to tell people that he was very proud of himself that he was able to take in something this bad, make it a positive thing, and come talk about it on that stage.

In conclusion, Hoffman used his positive attitude to turn everything into a good thing to get through this disaster. He was very grateful to have the opportunity to talk about it among his fellow “TEDsters” to express his feelings. He was not looking for sympathy, but for people to see how mentally and emotionally strong he was during that time.


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