Seven Questions with Mike Johnston

1. Why are you excited to speak at TEDxWinnipeg?

I am excited to speak at TEDxWinnipeg because I like the idea that stories have value. I hope that people will hear what I have to say and be less inclined to focus on my words but to ask themselves what stories and ideas do they have that need to be shared because, really, we all have those stories inside us.

2. What is your idea worth spreading?

My idea worth spreading is that science and poetry are the same thing in their essence – that they are both just seeking out ways to find out how we’re connected to one another.

3. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Honestly, my daughter and the person that she is. She and I are so close and I am so proud of the person that she is. Selfishly, I love that I had any kind of hand in that. Who she is and the person she chooses to be make me feel like regardless of what I do from here on in, she’ll always be my incredible legacy. I mean, I have a son too, but he’s two and believes he’s a dinosaur, so I’m hoping to have to adjust this answer to include him in my pride.

4. How do you want to be remembered?

I really want to be remembered as someone who was kind and helped the people around me feel valued and loved. I want the people who I’m lucky enough to interact with to walk away feeling like I listened to their story and like I saw what made them someone’s most important someone because really, we’re all that person to someone and that’s important to remember.

5. What’s the best gift anyone ever gave you?

I’ve always found tremendous emotional value in books. So I’d have to say a few of the best gifts I’ve ever received were a custom-made poetry writing book with an image of my son in the womb on it (that reflected a line I had written about him), a first edition of Michael Ondaatje’s book of poetry The Cinnamon Peeler, and a star-gazing book that had been ‘edited’ to include and connect personal stories to all kinds of constellations and night sky happenings.

6. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Do I have to?

7. What TED Talk do you think everyone should see?

The latest from TEDxWinnipeg