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Self Improvement

7 TED Talk Videos That Spark Creativity

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7 TED Talk Videos That Spark Creativity

A simple search on the TED website yields about 1,754 results for creativity. So let me give you a good use of your 20-minute break. I curated 7 TED Talk/TEDx Talk videos for you on the subject. 

You can read the snippets to decide whether it’ll be worth your time to start watching. A few here I’ve already seen over and over. The rest are new but recommended by friends. That said, I should let you go for it now.

Adam Grant: The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers

In this 15-minute talk, organizational psychologist Adam Grant shares what he learned after studying “original” thinkers, or the nonconformists. According to Grant, these are the people who come up with new ideas and take action to champion them. He found three habits common among them. 

First, they are procrastinators. That is, they let an idea simmer at the back of their mind and wait until the last minute to act on it. Case in point was Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” statement, which wasn’t part of his drafted speech. Second, originals doubt the default. Grant uses people who download Chrome instead of settling for the default browser on their computers to illustrate his point.

Lastly, original thinkers generate a lot of ideas, even the bad ones. Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart composed hundreds of music to arrive at a small number of masterpieces.

Jia Jang: What I Learned From 100 Days of Rejection

Jia Jang, a former marketing manager at a Fortune 500 company, tried the Rejection Therapy. It’s a 30-day challenge to seek rejection by asking for something, like money from a stranger or Olympic doughnuts from a Krispy Kreme doughnut maker. He was filming himself throughout the process, and the latter brought him YouTube fame when the lady said yes and made her exactly what he asked.

What did he learn from trying to desensitize himself from the pain of rejection? 

One: that instead of running away after getting rejected, you should consider facing the possibilities. Two, you can turn a “no” into a “yes” by asking “why.” Sometimes, people’s answers can surprise you. So next time you’re pitching your creative ideas, do not fear rejection. It can happen, and you won’t feel that great. But if you persist, you might discover opportunities along the path.

Manoush Zomorodi: How Boredom Can Lead You to Your Most Brilliant Ideas

Do you ever get bored? In our always-connected life, multitasking is the norm. You’re sitting on the couch browsing through Instagram or answering emails. You’re driving the car while taking a hands-free call. Amidst these activities, journalist Manoush Zomorodi encourages people to let their mind wander. Allow yourself to be bored, she says.

Using MRI, a data-backed project, and personal experience, she proposes that we drop our phone and take a break. Something as simple as staring at the window could spark creativity and imagination. It could lead to your next big idea.

It’s “in the default mode is when we connect disparate ideas, we solve some of our most nagging problems, and we do something called ‘autobiographical planning,’” Zomorodi explains. This is the time our brain creates a narrative, sets goals, and makes plans for the future. Why don’t you go ahead and take advantage of it?

Brian Janosch: Lessons Learned from the Onion’s Creative Process

Have you heard of The Onion? You should have. This 30-year-old publication is known for its satirical and comedic take on American society. Just consider the headlines World Death Rate Holding Steady at 100 Percent and Archaeological Dig Uncovers Ancient Race of Skeleton People. Much of its brilliance is attributed to the brainstorming strategy of the staff.

Former staffer Brian Janosch lets on the TEDxWilimington audience in The Onion’s secret to coming up with its killer headlines:

  • Create ideas alone
  • Vet ideas as a group
  • Build on the best ones together 

Janosch highlights the importance of step one: solo brainstorming. The act of creation starts with the individual, he says. Meanwhile, use the team to build on the best ideas. This strategy enables the staff to give an equal voice to its members. And, more importantly, it hits the mark when it comes to understanding that individual creatives often generate their best ideas in private.

Hannah Gadsby: Three Ideas. Three Contradictions. Or Not.

Stand-up comedian Hannah Gadsby’s talk is more of a stand-up set than a talk. She says something, the audience laughs. Which is what you would expect from a stand-up set. But one thing she also does is tell stories. Gadsby is a neurodivergent LGBTQ comedian who doesn’t seem to run out of stories. Yet, she admits she’s not that great at speaking her mind.

Her talk is a gem not because she lays out three ideas (warning: there might be none). Or that she enumerates her contradictions nicely. But while listening, you’d feel that authenticity in sharing her truth. And you can get more of that in her Netflix special Nanette. So, hit the play button and watch Gadsby. Listen to her jokes (or non-jokes). And glean fresh insights from her stories.

Eric Berridge: Why Tech Needs the Humanities

Eric Berridge, CEO of IBM software consulting firm Bluewolf, builds the case for hiring people from the humanities on your team. His company has a thousand people, but fewer than a hundred are computer science or engineering majors. It wasn’t always this way. Back when the business was smaller, it employed mostly those with a STEM background. 

But through a eureka-type experience, they once sent a philosophy dropout slash bartender to a client that was about to fire them. Jeff, the bartender, ended up figuring out how to program the solution. But he also helped the client understand what they were building and why.

Berridge thought about replicating what happened with Jeff in their recruitment process. And he shares the reason for this conversion: 

While the sciences teach us how to build things, it’s the humanities that teach us what to build and why to build them. And they’re equally as important, and they’re just as hard. 

Vittorio Loreto: Need A New Idea? Start At the Edge of What Is Known

Vittorio Loreto’s description of the space of the possible is both beautiful and peculiar at the same time. There is this whole mathematical explanation of how people experience the new. And he encapsulates it well with his Leonard Cohen example. 

Suppose you listen to Cohen’s Suzanne for the first time. That triggers a passion for his work, so now you play his whole production. But then, you also find out that Fabrizio De André recorded an Italian version of the song. And you see here how one thing leads to another. Novelties are correlated, not randomly occurring. 

Stay with him, and you’ll learn about the strategies people use to work out the edge of what is known: exploit and explore. Do you think you know which one are you more inclined to drive innovation and creativity? 

Final Thoughts

These are just 7 of the best TED Talk videos on creativity. If you’ve enjoyed this list, let me know what kind of videos you want me to curate next. Don’t forget to share this list with a friend.

Self Improvement

Why Talking To Yourself Is The Fastest Way To Build Self-confidence

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The idea of talking to yourself in a mirror might seem downright silly. And chances are, if you struggle with self-confidence, you want to be spending as little time in front of the mirror as possible. But if you can get past the initial awkwardness, you can benefit from the fastest results from spending time with yourself and actively engaging in conversation.

The wrong way of building self-confidence

When a person is under-confident, it generally means that they crave validation, appreciation, or some kind of proof that they’re worthy of love and recognition. We can all think of at least one person in our life who can be called ‘attention-seeking.’ But in reality, a vast majority of people are underconfident, even if it isn’t blatantly visible. 

Trying to seek approval from other people can manifest in indirect forms. You might find yourself working extra hours to get approval from your boss or going out of your way to do favors for people who wouldn’t do the same for you! We can really make ourselves suffer all for the quest of a few words of praise. 

The sad part is — the praise never really feels that great! Like an ice cream that got over way too quickly, praise and approval taste sweet for a few moments; before we fall right back into feeling lousy about ourselves. 

There has to be something that makes us feel better, for longer.

Why we listen to ourselves the most

Most of the time, the main reason why people are underconfident in the first place is that they have spent years thinking about self-derogatory and unkind thoughts about themselves. 

When you think that you’re not good enough for so many years, the conscious brain forms a habit out of these thoughts and keeps re-visiting them with every new situation. That’s why it’s so tricky to build self-confidence. There are numerous incidents of overweight people who had low self-esteem but found that losing weight didn’t improve their mental health. They still had low self-esteem, probably even more than they did earlier. 

The only way to get out of the rut of negative self-thoughts is to change your neural pathways. The only way you forget a previous habit is by forming a new one.

Continually talking to yourself in the mirror and saying good, positive things about yourself really works. And you might find it easier to say “I love you” in the mirror than saying “I love myself,” and that’s because we have a habit of being nicer to other people, not ourselves. Try to talk in the first person. “I am so smart.” “I am worthy of all the good things in life.”

“Every thought is either an investment or a cost.” T. Harv Eker

The Process

It will seem silly for the first few days. You will forget to do it sometimes, or even when you remember, you might get irritated with the entire process. It’s very hard to stay motivated. But try to stick with it! Give it 21 days of talking to yourself in the mirror every morning before you brush your teeth.

 (I found it easier to do it when I brush my teeth in the morning and night because that’s something I never forget to do.)

Focus on starting with complimenting yourself, listing out the things you admire in yourself.
“I like that I have a good work ethic.” or “I’m a good person, and I always value the truth”. After that, you can spend a few moments chatting with yourself. Talk about how much you like the weather today or anything else positive that you can think of. 

The key is to look right into your own eyes in the mirror. Try not to get distracted by that pimple that’s popped up on your chin or being critical of something else. You wouldn’t stare at your best friend’s pimple while they’re talking to you, would you? Treat your reflection with respect and talk to it directly without being mean.

The Results

After some time, you will notice results. They will be almost imperceptible initially, but you’ll end up looking forward to the time you spend looking into your own eyes. 

It takes a bit of time to rework the way your brain thinks, but this is the only direct way to get your mind to start giving you the approval you need. 

Once you spend time with yourself in the mirror, it creates distance. You’ll be less mean to yourself because you don’t want to hurt the person in the mirror. You’ll have started a long journey of self-love, one we must all undertake. 

There is so much more to human potential than we give ourselves credit for. The mind is powerful, and if you’re planning to do something for self-improvement — you’re already on the right path. 

Remember to stick with the process, and don’t expect instant results. In a month, your self-confidence will have improved because you’re finally getting the approval you always wanted: approval from yourself!

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Productivity

Ways to set up a Home Office

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home business

Day 1: ‘I am feeling lethargic today, maybe I’ll take rest for a while and resume after a few hours’

Day 2: ‘Don’t feel like working today’

Day 3:  ‘Work from home is not productive at all! It was better when we could function in office’

Have you been experiencing this for the last few months? 

Work from home can get boring and unproductive real quick and with changing times, this could be something companies resort to permanently.

So what’s the solution to not lose your work drive and keep working to your contentment?

Why not change your home workspace into a professional setting that gives you somewhat similar vibes as your in-office environment!

Wondering how?

Well, read on! 

To transform a small part of your house can be tedious but if the thought of strategically, can complement it well enough.

First things first – visualize how office spaces are built, most importantly the area where you used to sit in for hours and hours.

Got an idea? Now all you have to do is structure that into a smaller carpet area.

Decide on a location thereafter – where in the house do you want to set up your office. Make sure to be very particular when considering this because this has a major role in determining work focus and concentration. A corner, an entire room or just dividing the room into workspace and home is all to you and your comfort.

Usually, it is recommended to be in a remote area (like away from the kitchen) so to block any unnecessary noise.

Another thing to be cautious about is the amount of light that your chosen location has. With no proper lighting, the strain will increase and you might find it difficult to keep going.

What do companies do after building the space? 

They settle on what furniture and equipment will be required to commence the activity.

Similarly, select your desk and chair wisely. You will want to need a chair that isn’t too hard nor is it too soft.

Too hard could make your back hurt and too soft can cause you to sit in a wrong position that’ll ultimately result in a backache. Ideally, a rolling chair is recommended because it’ll give you movement and comfort at the same time.

Coming to the size of your desk, it depends on if you want a longer one or a short desk would suffice. However, make sure that the workplace doesn’t look and feel too clustered because then your efficiency is what can be affected. Along with the size of the desk, it’s shaping also is equally significant. L-shaped, T-shaped or U-shaped or any other shape, that will look chic and be the perfect match to your location – judge appropriately.

While you are at it, keep in mind to place your desk in front of some view that will soothe your eyes. A pleasant scenery to look at acts as a relaxing tool for the mind and the eyes, giving you the refreshment you need during the job hours.

Have you noticed how your in-office cabin looked hassle-free and clean? That’s what exactly you want in your home office too, trust me. Wires tangled and plug loosely attached will definitely distract you and come in the way of smooth operation. So to avoid this, make sure you’ve proper connection and sockets for keeping your wires and plugs out of the way.

Moving continuously to fetch files and other important things can turn out to be time-wasting. To not lose out on productivity, you could have cabinets and drawers made around your desk or within the same area as is your workspace.

The office is not about just desk-work. There are visits and meetings and conferences too. Therefore, having an area dedicated to client meetings is necessary. Though if you feel that this is something that can be done without, it’s entirely your call.

Sitting in one place for about 8-9 hours every day can be monotonous. What can be worse is when the same to you sit in is bland and plain – just like a hospital ward. I am sure you don’t like that and certainly wouldn’t want your workplace to emulate the same!

Hence, decorate and paint!

Make your room look green to calm you or fill it with colors to keep you fresh, bright, and awake the entire day. If you didn’t know, colors very much influence your emotions.

Like I had mentioned before, changing interiors can be tedious but if strategically done, it can complement your home well enough. Considering that, you could design and decorate your home office according to your house and it’s color combinations. This will not only not erupt your interior but also make you feel safe and congenial making it easier for you to work.

In the end, whatever you read or see, go by what you feel is right and appropriate for your house and your surroundings. Do not place anything that isn’t required or is unnecessary and just keeps adding up your budget.

In an attempt to make your home office beautiful and classy, remember to not walk off the money line. Setting a workplace at home can be expensive but if done well within the monetary limit, you are sure to get elegant and reasonable decor.

What?

Are you still reading? 

Go!  It’s time you start planning because you never know when offices might open up and you may be required to step out of your lazy workdays.

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Habits

How Reading can impact your Day to Day Life?

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book read

Reading is a healthy habit, which, if practiced daily, can change your entire life around. Do you want to know why? Through Reading, one can not only gain knowledge but also stay acquainted with the outside as well as the inside world. The best thing about reading daily is to have an isolated place for yourself in your mind, where you can run off to. Most people don’t have the patience or intention to read, and that too, daily. Though this is a habit that takes time to settle in but trust me, once it does, you would never regret it. So, here is a list of reasons why you should read daily?

Why should you read daily?

  • To gain knowledge

Once you start reading daily, and by Reading, it can be anything – you can read few pages of a novel, or a magazine, or newspaper, or even poetry – you would notice within weeks how much your knowledge regarding the outer world has improved. Through Reading, one can have clear information regarding the current affairs, and hence, stay updated.

  • To improve your vocabulary

Through Reading, you can definitely learn new words and hence, improve your vocabulary. Most people make it a habit to learn a new word from the dictionary every day, but if you read daily, you are bound to get new words and make a list of them on a notebook with their meanings, which is definitely going to be helpful for you.

  • To have a make-believe world

The most beautiful consequence of Reading is having one’s own imaginary world, where one can live a life full of magic. This is the extraordinary superpower one acquires while reading. In this busy daily life of ours, we all look for a secluded place where we can feel the essence of peace. Reading can fly you off to the imaginary land of sunflowers, daisies, and cats who can indeed talk.

  • To become more attentive

Most people lack patience nowadays. Being impatient and restless has become a severe problem in today’s world. Here, Reading can help you calm your mind and improve your observation skills. It works like meditation. In no time, you would find your mind focusing on details and becoming more attentive to events, which used to go unnoticed.

  • To reduce stress

Reading is similar to meditation, and hence, it definitely helps to reduce your stress. Books always have a calming effect on one’s mind. It takes you away from daily problems and stressful situations and helps your mind to gain stability. Not only it helps in reducing stress, but it also helps to decrease the anxiety levels of a person. 

Everyone should make reading a daily habit. One should switch off the mobile phones, turn off the television and take some time out to read. It works wonders on one’s day-to-day life and changes one person’s entire personality. Though it can be hard at first, with time, you would cherish the moments alone, reading in a corner while your mind is flying off to Narnia.

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