The anatomy of a turning point, on TED Radio Hour

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TurningPoints_mainYour life’s turning point — whether it happens in an instant or is the culmination of gradual change — could occur tomorrow. Would you be ready for it? How would you reconcile your former self with the person you’ve become?

In this week’s TED Radio Hour, we hear from TED speakers forever changed by major and unexpected turning points, and how they dealt with their profound transformation. Surgeon and author Sherwin Nuland begins with the story of his deep depression, his electroshock therapy and the morning he decided to just get over it. Up second, Ric Elias describes what went through his mind as his plane — Flight 1549 — crash–landed in the Hudson River. Next, Maajid Nawaz highlights another kind of turning point: a change so significant that it splits your life in two, into the past and present you. For Nawaz, it was a journey that left him with two conflicting identities: his past as an Islamic extremist and his present as an advocate for democracy.

For Nuland, Elias and Nawaz, substantive change was a choice — they made conscious decisions to recover, to reflect and to reform. But for the episode’s final speaker, Joshua Prager, change was imposed on him. As a teenager, Prager was in a bus accident that broke his neck and left him hemiplegic. He talks about whether, in the interceding decades, it’s the crash or his response to it that defines him.

Check your local NPR schedule to find out when TED Radio Hour’s “Turning Points” airs. Or listen to it via NPR’s website »

You can also head to iTunes, where the podcast is available now »