Being an Optimist in the Age of Pessimism


Winston Churchill famously said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”

At the beginning of 2022, it is hard not to feel pessimistic as the pandemic continues to test our patience to the limit. With the ever-changing public health restrictions there could be a feeling that we don’t have the choices that we used to have.

But … that is utter nonsense. Of course, we have choices. They may not be in the area of the pandemic but we have choices in many other areas of our lives. In fact, the future is filled with incredible, amazing possibilities. Life can be much, much better for many more people IF we just allow ourselves to reset, shift our thinking and be open to new possibilities.

It is time for each of us to step up, be the optimist, and see the opportunities in this particularly difficult time.

There is an exceptional opportunity coming up soon that is available to all optimists (or would-be optimists!) … TEDxSurrey takes place on February 19, 2022, from 1.00pm to 5.00pm at the Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey, BC, Canada!

TEDxSurrey is a part of TED, a global community of optimists that welcomes people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. TED believes passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives, and ultimately, the world. 

TEDxSurrey is run by a team of special optimists – 25 dedicated volunteers who have been pouring their hearts and souls into ensuring that TEDxSurrey WILL go ahead as scheduled on February 19, 2022, in some form or another, despite all the challenges. Whenever there has been a difficult roadblock, this group of special optimists has found a way around it. The TEDxSurrey team is now poised with Plan A, B, C and D. Whatever happens over the next few weeks, there WILL be an event on February 19th. With every difficulty, this team has created an opportunity! 

The focus of TEDxSurrey is for selected speakers to share “ideas worth spreading”. There will be 12 carefully selected speakers, each with a compelling, powerful idea. Ideas that will inspire peoples’ hearts and minds (especially if you are an optimist) and shift the audience’s thinking in a significant and meaningful way.

Our speakers are devoting 4 months of their busy lives to experiencing an intensive coaching program to ensure their idea is delivered in a way that will connect meaningfully with their audience. They are passionate about their brilliant ideas, are unflagging in their belief in their value, and feel a strong need to share them with the world. 

Imagine spending a Saturday afternoon with optimists like these speakers, along with 5 others!!

Kevin LamoureuxFaculty member at the University of Winnipeg who has served as the Education Lead for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. His most recent book, Ensouling Our Schools with Dr. Jennifer Katz, is being used by educators across Canada working to create inclusive spaces for all students. 

Riley MoynesPublic educator, founder of a national wealth management firm, and author. One of his most recent books, The Four Phases of Retirement, became a Canadian best-seller within 12 months of publication, and is the basis of his TEDx Talk.

Dr. Sharlene Gill. A Medical Oncologist specializing in gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies at BC Cancer. Dr. Gill is also actively engaged in education and research, with over 100 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters to her credit, and has presented widely at national and international cancer conferences.

Denise WithersA story coach who has helped leaders make change for 35 years through her work as an award-winning filmmaker and innovator. 

Frances Litman. An award-winning professional photographer and multi-media artist who has organized some of Canada’s largest zero-waste Earth Week festivals, founded a free community solutions hub:, and produced and hosted a popular Climate and the Arts webinar series.

Fatima ZaidiA member of Mayor’s Taskforce on Inclusion, Diversity, and Accessibility. Fatima’s mission to create leaders who inspire change, improve lives and uplift humanity, took shape as a result of experiencing bullying in high school. She transformed this adversity into an opportunity for growth and spearheaded a national anti-bullying campaign.

Dr. Simon DonnerSimon is an interdisciplinary climate scientist and professor at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Donner is a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent Sixth Assessment Report and is a member of the Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body.

Go to to see the photos and full bios of all 12 speakers.

TEDxSurrey promises to be an incredibly special event. If you are not in an optimistic frame of mind at the beginning of the event, you can rest assured you will be by the conclusion!

Here is the pessimistic news … TEDxSurrey has very few seats left at the Bell Performing Arts Centre.

And, here is the optimistic news … We’re thrilled to provide affordable access to the TEDxSurrey Virtual Live Event (on Feb 19th from 1.00pm to 5.00pm) using Eventbrite, for only $19.97 (including taxes and fees). An entire family or a circle of friends can gather around one screen and take it all in for less than $20. Now, that’s safe, convenient and inexpensive!

Buy your virtual ticket here: Virtual Live Event Ticket

The world needs an increasing number of optimists in this age of pessimism. TEDxSurrey provides the perfect opportunity to shift your thinking and, in Churchill’s words, “become the optimist who sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

We would love to have you be a part of our TEDxSurrey community on February 19th, from 1.00pm to 5.00pm by joining us on our Virtual Live Event. Be an optimist … come and join us!

Buy your virtual ticket here: Virtual Live Event Ticket

By Alan Warburton, Licensee/Curator TEDxSurrey

About TEDxSurrey

TEDxSurrey is an all-volunteer enterprise presenting some of the finest and most potent ideas for the betterment of our world from our home city of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

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