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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.

Goals

5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Goals And Double Your Success Rate

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5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Goals And Double Your Success Rate

Everyone wants to achieve their goals, however, very few put in the effort to actually make this a reality. And even among those who do put in the required effort, chances of attaining the goal tend to be pretty slim. Set realistic goals to begin with because when you set unrealistic goals, you are already setting yourself up for failure.

We think we need to work more to achieve our goals but what we need to do is find ways to be productive and achieve more in less time in a given day. There are many ways to make sure that you are being productive but that falls apart if you don’t know how to stick to your goals. So, to ensure that you stick to your goals and triple your chances of succeeding in the venture, you need to abide by the following tips:

1. Divide Big Goals Into Smaller Ones

5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Goals And Double Your Success Rate

A good tactic you should start using is to divide your big goals into smaller ones. For this, you need to find out the course of action you must take in order to achieve those smaller goals. For example, suppose that you are a student whose main goal is to perform well in an entrance test coming up in two months.

Now, the first thing you should do is to break the big task into smaller targets. Since there are two months to the test, you can set up weekly targets. If there are 7 modules you need to learn, then you can assign one week to learn one module. And the last week can be set aside to revise and refresh your knowledge. Make sure to finish all modules on time and to test yourself each week to assess your retention of that specific subject. This process of learning will surely help you far more than trying to learn all the 7 modules in a haphazard way.

This example demonstrates how you can split your big goal, which is preparing for the entrance test, into smaller goals where you finished learning a section every week. And by doing so, you were able to learn everything and be ready for the entrance test comfortably.

People usually have difficulty in managing a big goal. However, with a smaller goal, which they think is doable, people can achieve better with a bit of an effort. Turning a big goal into a series of smaller goals, and writing your goals down, will not only help you stick to your goals but also to achieve them successfully.

2. Create Beneficial Habits

5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Goals And Double Your Success Rate

It is also important to create habits that will help you attain your goals. These habits have to be developed by identifying the various ways which will be used to achieve the end goal. Carrying the previous example forward, you will now have to dedicate a fixed amount of time each day preparing for the test.

As such, you will have to decide the best time slots for your studies. Once decided, you need to ensure that you follow the said plan accurately. And for this, you need to attune yourself to the time slots. So, if the time is set at 8 AM, and you usually only wake up at 10 AM, then you need to immediately consider adjusting your sleep cycle so that you wake up at 8 AM and are ready to study.

Similarly, if your aim is to improve your productivity at office, then you may have to accept and embrace habits like waking up early to exercise as it helps to ensure a fully-charged body for the entire day. So, whatever your goal, just make sure that you incorporate and develop a few habits to achieve your tasks as a part of your plan.  

3. Commitment and Accountability

5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Goals And Double Your Success Rate

A good method to help you stick to your goal is to commit to another individual who will make you accountable for it. For example, imagine that you are an overweight person and wish to shed about 30kgs. You draw up a 6-month diet and exercise plan with monthly targets that define the process.

The next thing you should do is to get in touch with a very close person, a friend or relative, and share the goal you have set for yourself. For example, you can disclose the plan with your brother coupled with the condition that you will pay 20% of your part-time income to him if you fail to meet the target. The prospect of failing in front of your brother and the loss of your income will act as a good motivation for you to try and meet the set goals.

4. Behavior Substitution

5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Goals And Double Your Success Rate

At times, your goal may require you to change certain behavioral patterns. Under such circumstances, you may have to substitute such behaviors with good alternatives to ensure that you are able to proceed toward achieving your goal. Let’s suppose that there is a 1.5 km race being conducted in your community and you wish to place a position in the top 3 but your weight is an issue for you.

Now, you may have a habit of overeating which results in excess weight. This is something that you must try to control to be in perfect shape for the race. But cutting down your eating can be difficult. So, what do you do? Look to substitute that behavior with something that causes the least negative impact on your goal. For the purpose of this example, you can replace high calorie foods with low calorie ones. By doing so, you will be in a better position to achieve your goal.

5. Join a Community

5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Goals And Double Your Success Rate

Finally, try joining a community that shares interests and goals similar to yours. If you try to fulfill a goal by yourself, you might find it difficult to stick with the plan and this will eventually impact your success. However, if you make it a group activity, then there is a better chance that you might actually end up achieving the goal. This is also for accountability and commitment.

For example, if you wish to study Spanish, you might find it difficult to study the language on your own. However, if you join an online study group that conducts weekly learning lessons, then you have a fighting chance of fulfilling your goal. So, find a supportive community that focuses on the subject of your goal and become a member.

Final Thoughts

Having big goals can be intimidating but do not run from it. Find ways to face it. Find ways to make the huge tasks manageable, seek support from people you know or people who are in the field, get tips from people who have done it – either succeeded or failed in it. Learn as much as you can, set rewards for yourself and keep yourself motivated. Keep going, stick to your goals, and do not give up.

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Self Improvement

Qualities of Humorous People that Give Huge Benefits in Life

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Qualities of Humorous People that Give Huge Benefits in Life

We have all heard the saying that, “Laughter is the best medicine.” In a lot of ways, it is true and learning how to laugh at slip-ups in your life is a great way of not letting things affect you with greater gravity. Learning to laugh at yourselves will help you through hard times. It becomes easier to deal with dire situations if you can make light of it. 

“Cancer is probably the unfunniest thing in the world, but I’m a comedian, and even cancer couldn’t stop me from seeing the humor in what I went through.”

-Gilda Radner

When you are a positive person, it becomes easier to find humor in situations, but then again there is dark humor too. Humor, as a quality, can make people very likable and they tend to have good chances at cultivating relationships as everyone is attracted to people they can laugh with.

Qualities Of Humorous People

Ever had a funny friend or co-worker who brightened up every occasion with their funny stories and anecdotes? If so, you would have wondered how they are the way they are. Let’s take a look at three common attributes of humorous people.

Joke About Themselves

The first thing that you will notice about humorous people is that they are capable of joking about themselves. They usually make fun of the things they do and make others laugh along with them. 

Qualities of Humorous People that Give Huge Benefits in Life

For example, they might share a funny incident that normal people will think twice of sharing because of how embarrassing it sounds. But they put it across in a nice, cheerful way that you cannot help but laugh. However, do not confuse them with low self-esteem people. Those who have low self-esteem might also make fun of themselves. 

“If you would not be laughed at, be the first to laugh at yourself.”

-Benjamin Franklin

But their jokes usually make people pity them. Instead, self-directed jokes of a humorous person will make him a star among the people around him. And this mostly has to do with the confidence and enthusiasm with which they deliver the jokes. Comic timing and delivery are something to wrap your head around if you plan on studying humor.

Diffuse a Tense Situation

Qualities of Humorous People that Give Huge Benefits in Life

People with a good sense of humor have a great ability to diffuse tense situations. No matter how heated the atmosphere becomes, whether at home or work, even if it involves them or not, funny people can easily infuse humor into the situation and bring everyone back to their senses.

Sometimes there is no point in arguing and to stop things from going south, humor proves to be most effective. It also gives you a way to point out something dicey in a manner that is less offensive, hence negating a chance of bitter confrontation.

People Magnet

Humorous people are known to be a magnet that attracts others around them. After all, who doesn’t like to be in the company of someone who can make you laugh all day? They will have a wide circle of friends.

Qualities of Humorous People that Give Huge Benefits in Life

This applies to family, friends and all sorts of relationships – from the neighborhood barber and the grocery guy to a potential love interest and clients.

And no matter where they go, to the office or a supermarket or even a police station, they are talented at making all types of people comfortable around them.

Humor And It’s Hearty Benefits

Now that we have talked about the qualities of humorous people, it is only natural to move onto the benefits of those qualities. How many times have you heard that networking is a great way to build your business? Do you not think that the ability to make people laugh, get them comfortable around you, and in general vibe with you helps? A quality that makes you a people magnet is always a plus. Here are some other benefits that affect them personally and makes their life better.

Health Benefits

Humor positively affects your health – both physically and psychologically. On the physical side of things, humor is said to relieve muscle tension. This effect is even more pronounced when a person has a hearty laugh. 

People suffering from spasms and neurological problems can ease their tensed muscles with a good dose of laughter in their lives. Humor also boosts your immune system. In fact, people have been found to have a better immune system after watching comedy videos. 

Yup, Jim Carrey can sometimes help you more than your doc. 

Immunoglobulin A, which protects your body from respiratory issues, has been observed to increase after watching humorous videos for about 30 minutes or an hour. On the Psychological front, humor is the best way to beat stress. 

“I have not seen anyone dying of laughter, but I know millions who are dying because they are not laughing.”

-Dr. Madan Kataria

Have a fun time with friends or watch a comedy whenever you feel stressed out, and your mind will immediately relax. Your stress levels will reduce and your nerves would have calmed down after a good laugh.

Relationship Benefits

If you want to make your relationships stronger and endearing, then humor is your secret weapon. Whether it is dealing with your spouse, children, or friends, humor will definitely give you an edge and make them feel more connected with you. 

Qualities of Humorous People that Give Huge Benefits in Life

For example, imagine that you and your girlfriend have a heated argument about something. Instead of indulging yourself in some ego play, try to bring humor into the situation and let the other person see the funny side of your conflict. 

All is forgiven over a good laugh. This can easily smooth out disagreements; avoiding chances that the argument might blow up into a disastrous breakup. 

In the same way, if your children misbehave, then don’t be angry at them. Instead, convey the message in a firm, but humorous way. Doing so is far likelier to get them to comply with your demands. If you had approached them angrily, then they might have rebelled against your authority. 

There will be such complicated emotional situations in all kinds of relationship throughout your life, right from childhood to old age. With humor, you can prevail over them without denting the relationships one bit.

Professional Benefits

Qualities of Humorous People that Give Huge Benefits in Life

Those who possess incredible humor can easily be popular at their jobs than those who idly sit by their desk all day. This is because everyone likes to be around a person with good humor sense. Who doesn’t mind a good laugh? In fact, if you are put in a position of responsibility, with employees under your management, then humor can become a potent tool to run the team.  

For example, if your team does something wrong, and you need to address it, then instead of coming off as completely unemotional and authoritative, try mixing in some humor along with the talk. This will lighten the mood while ensuring that your message gets across.

Final Thoughts

Humor is a great way to inculcate positive vibes in your life. If you don’t have the quick wits that you so admire, there are ways to learn to be more humorous. With practice, you can learn to be anything and do anything. Apart from you yourself delving in the genre, surround yourself with laughter too. Go to comedy shows, watch them online, read funny books, share funny anecdotes. Don’t be shy when laughing at yourself. When you learn not to be embarrassed about things, you feel liberated. Enjoy the feeling!

“And keep a sense of humor. It doesn’t mean you have to tell jokes. If you can’t think of anything else, when you’re my age, take off your clothes and walk in front of a mirror. I guarantee you’ll get a laugh.”

-Art Linkletter

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Goals

The Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting

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The Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting

Whenever you have to step out of your comfort zone, finding reasons not to is a natural response. Learn to fight that. You either find a reason to do the job or an excuse for not doing it. 

Get obsessed, totally obsessed. There is no just liking what you do, get obsessed with it.  Stand up and do what you want! Don’t be lazy! Don’t hesitate! Don’t let fear stop you from achieving your goals! Life is what you make of it – might sound cliche, but this is the ultimate truth.

Because in the end, the worst regrets are of things you didn’t do, experiences you didn’t have, and chances you didn’t take. Let go of people, things, situations, and habits that hold you back.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

– Tony Robbins

Now, arises the question- how to set a goal? You might be at a juncture in life where you feel you’ve achieved everything, so there are no more goals to attain. But there’s always more to achieve. Wouldn’t you feel charged up when you have something concrete to accomplish?

Or, you might fall in the league of underachievers- people riddled with self-doubt, who are not expected to achieve much- floating through life directionless, rudderless? If so, it’s time to surprise everyone, including you. 

Are you afraid of setting a goal for yourself? Are you setting yourself for disappointment and guilt? It’s not so. Life gives us umpteen chances to change; every day is a new opportunity. Goals can be changed and realigned.  Here’s the ultimate guide to setting a goal that will help you live the life you want.

Set a Goal That YOU Really Want

The Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting

All our lives, we are conditioned to make sacrifices, to take into account the wishes of those who are close to us, to be considerate. Thinking about what you want is considered selfish. Some people don’t even have the liberty to choose their college major because their parents choose it for them. This results in people not being happy with their lives. Most people go through life not realizing that they hold the key to change in their hands.

Again we come to the point about self-realization. Eliminate what’s not important from your goal list. Experiment with different goals to find the ones that make you happy. Prioritize goals based on their importance in your life. Then, pick the top goal, determine its timeline and action plan. Voila, you have your goal!

Make Small, Iterative Goals

Big goals can be intimidating and have the power to have an adverse effect on you. Do not stop yourself from setting big goals. Instead, push yourself to set bigger and difficult goals but break it down into workable chunks. This makes the big thing not look that huge, and gives you an achievable viewpoint to conquering the said goal.

“Most impossible goals can be met simply by breaking them down into bite size chunks, writing them down, believing them and going full speed ahead as if they were routine.”

-Don Lancaster

Instead of making yearly resolutions, have a monthly goal and revise it for the next month. For instance, target to lose 5 pounds in a month. Work hard to achieve this and once you have your strategy spot-on, iterate to a larger goal for the next month.

Share Your Goals

The Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting

Confess your goals to people you trust. Beware, telling the wrong people about your ambitious plans can act as a deterrent in reaching your goal. They will criticize or pull you down if you waver or fail, demotivating you. Your well-wishers will support you completely, gently remind you if you get diverted, and empathize if you are unable to attain your goal.

This also helps because people will help you hold yourself accountable to your goals while this also gives you an opportunity to find people with goals similar to yours.

Savor the Journey

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.”

-Jim Rohn

Goals should not become an albatross around your neck. They should not overwhelm you. The key to enjoying your journey towards your goal is to set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goals.

Reward Yourself

Enjoy the fruits of your success. You need not be too critical of yourself. At the same time, don’t cut yourself too much slack. Set short-term goals, pat your back when you achieve them, strive for a bigger goal, and reward yourself, even more, when you reach the touchpoint.

Keep Yourself on Track

The Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting

When the temptation to procrastinate or to abandon your goal strikes, ask yourself some hard questions. Find out why you’re pulling back from the goal. If there’s an actionable way to solve the problem, take action. Even if you can’t find any answers, find a way to remain on track. While it’s okay to take a breather when you feel down and out, too much of a break can lead to complete delineation from your goal and you’ll find yourself back from where you started.

Self-Affirm

Think positively about your goals. It’s not entirely a falsity that when you visualize vividly about something, the whole universe starts conspiring to make it possible. Self affirmation primes you for success.

Measure Your Success

Find ways of measuring your success. This is easier said than done. For goals that equate to emotional, social or psychological success, it becomes quite hard to calibrate how far you’ve reached. If you’re generally satisfied with results, you can term your goal setting exercise a winner.

View Failure as Opportunity

The Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting

The final piece of advice is to view setbacks as learning opportunities. You need to learn to change your mindset if you see failure as an end. Failure is very important for us to grow. It gives us experiences and lessons that cannot be learned in any other way.

When you fail, you need to get back up, dust yourself, and keep going. Assess what went wrong and why, then restructure your strategy, and start afresh. Failure is nothing but success turned inside out. It will humble you and make you stronger. 

Final Thoughts

Give yourself a chance to explore your talents and achieve what you have always wanted. Have a goal. Have a plan. Have difficult targets. It’s okay if you fail – what isn’t okay is giving up because you failed once. Stop trying to find reasons for not doing something, instead start looking for reasons to do it. 

Excuses are cowards way out – they are the reason you stay in your comfort zone forever. They give you a false sense of security. Life is an adventure. Live like it.

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

-Steve Jobs

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