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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.

Habits

Why Chasing Perfection is a Futile Activity

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Why Chasing Perfection is a Futile Activity

“Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time.”

-Voltaire

Perfection takes time. Time is something that most of us scared to invest. You either invest your time or you elude it trying to save it. From the time we start understanding words and achievements, we are inspired to chase perfection. By the time you realize that there is no such thing as ‘perfection’ in this world, you have already wasted a lot of your learning years chasing it.

While looking for a perfect job, a perfect career, a perfect relationship, a perfect moment – we often forget to cherish the things we have or be thankful the opportunities we have been given – we end up losing what we have.

“When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target.”

-George Fisher

We keep on running after an adjective that is very hard to put onto things. Perfection is going to have a different meaning for different people. Something that isn’t perfect for you is going to be perfect for someone else.

The pursuit of perfection in every aspect of your life can be very exhausting, you will be going through every stage with a looming dread of not being perfect. Even when you have done a great job, you won’t be satisfied because it does not meet your idea of perfection. 

In an attempt to achieve perfection, we have laden ourselves with copious amounts of pressure for every big or little thing we do. It sort of takes out the fun from things when you are constantly striving to make it exceptionally perfect.

“Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.”

-Antoine De Saint-Exupry

We often chase perfection so that we can stand tall in front of society. The opinions of other people affect a lot of people and that is usually the driving force. We want to prove ourselves to others – it can be someone who said we can’t do this or it can be someone we want to be proud of ourselves. What we don’t realize is that everyone is struggling to do their bit. Everyone is under the pressure of being perfect, the irony being, none of us are.
Low self-esteem and self-doubt is usually the cause of us trying to be ‘perfect’ at everything, we do this to improve our self-esteem. Self-doubt also stems from constantly comparing ourselves with others. Many people suffer from imposter syndrome. We don’t understand how that can be detrimental to the work we do. Not feeling good enough, feeling like a fraud, feeling like you don’t deserve anything can really suck the life out of you. These are the mental roadblocks that stop you from doing your best while keeping you constantly worried about chasing a state that is not that tangible – ‘perfection.’

Why Chasing Perfection is a Futile Activity

In the years you spend chasing it, there will come a moment of clarity that will help you realize that the pursuit is futile. When you realize that you no longer have to run after being perfect – when you understand that being good enough is actually enough – that is when you feel contentment in life.

Being content is the first step of feeling satisfied with your life and with your efforts. It is a liberating feeling to finally be happy with yourself after years of beating yourself up.

“To accomplish the perfect perfection, a little imperfection helps.”

-Dejan Stojanovic

There are a lot of advantages to not chasing perfection. You start feeling more happiness and gratitude in the light of appreciating the things around you and yourself. This results in you developing an optimistic approach toward life. When you are chasing perfection, it is somehow lost. You start finding faults in all your achievements, stopping yourself from being happy about them. This leads to negativity clouding your thoughts and as a result, you start pouring the same negativity in your life.

When you let go of the notion of perfection, you allow yourself to relax and be proud of your achievements. This action triggers positive emotions within you, helping you become optimistic toward the next stage of your life. This then leads to you feeling more confident. Being confident about your abilities also stops you from running after perfection and makes you realize the worth in what you do.

Why Chasing Perfection is a Futile Activity

Striving for perfection is a good thing because then it will make you work harder to get better day by day. With time, every skill gets better. Chasing perfection, on the other hand, is dangerous to the learning process. You need to learn the difference so that you don’t end up harming yourself in the long run.

Instead of chasing perfection, remember to strive for improvement and excellence. When you focus on becoming better than you were yesterday, you automatically open doors for yourself. You surround yourself with positivity – inside and out – making it a much-needed fuel to keep working toward your goal.

Always believe in what you can achieve no matter how imperfect you feel. There are going to be days when you don’t feel good enough. Everyone feels like that once in a while – trust me we all feel the same as humans. 

Final Thoughts

When you let go of that perfection ideology, you free yourself from your own expectations tying you down. You start feeling content with your life and with the pace you are going. That is what will help you sail by, that is what will hold you aboard.

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Habits

How You Can Use Humor to Win at Life in the Face of Adversities

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How You Can Use Humor to Win at Life in the Face of Adversities

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.”

-William Arthur Ward

When you are starting out on a new path – may it be starting a new course, a new business, a new relationship – there are going to be difficulties at every corner. Just because your path is hurdled with obstacles doesn’t mean you give up. While people can keep pushing in order to achieve their dreams, it can often take a toll on their health – especially mental health.

Mental health anyway is not taken that seriously but when you don’t feel right in your mind even the mundane of tasks become utterly complicated in nature. One way to keep going through adversities without losing yourself is learning to laugh at yourself and your situation.

“Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely onshore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.”

-Alan Alda

While laughing at yourself is important, you need to know the difference between finding humor in whatever is happening and being self-deprecating. Self-deprecation helps no one. It isn’t the good humor that helps you make light of things, it is the kind that will make you drown in self-pity and make you lose confidence in yourself.

You already have a lot of negative feelings surrounding you, you are already dealing with doubts that are related to your decisions, your chosen path, your abilities, you don’t need to add on to it by doubting your self, your determination, and your worth. For others to respect you, you need to learn to respect yourself.

“Laugh at yourself and at life. Not in the spirit of derision or whining self-pity, but as a remedy, a miracle drug, that will ease your pain, cure your depression, and help you to put in perspective that seemingly terrible defeat… Never take yourself too seriously.”

-Og Mandino

Learning to see humor in situations and developing humor as a habit is the best course of action to take if you are in a difficult phase and could use with not letting everything affect you to the core. 

There are two very basic things you can do to develop a sense of humor without going out of your way – observe people who can find humor in situations and observe situations you can find humor in.

Observe Funny People

How You Can Use Humor to Win at Life in the Face of Adversities

An easy way to develop your humor is to observe people who are known to be funny. If you have a friend who is incredibly popular at work because of the way they crack jokes and make people laugh, tag along and learn the tricks of the trade. 

Look at them and identify situations when they make a joke, the way they present it, and so on. And when you spend some time with such people, you are sure to imbibe some of their qualities.

When developing your humor sense, be careful of distinguishing between being funny and mean. Remember to never crack jokes at someone’s expense, making them a butt of jokes in front of others will creating animosity rather than a good-natured bond.

“To laugh at others is egoistic; to laugh at oneself is very humble. Learn to laugh at yourself – about your seriousness and things like that. You can get serious about seriousness. Then instead of one, you have created two diseases. Then you can get serious about that also, and you can go on and on. There is no end to it; it can go on AD NAUSEAM.”

-Rajneesh

It will only make you a despicable figure. Plus, only make jokes in appropriate situations. Blindly joking around won’t get you anywhere. You need to balance the serious stuff in your life with humorous aspects. And when you achieve a perfect balance between the two, your life will open itself to new experiences, and you will lead a fuller, better life with new and deeper relationships.

Observe Everything From a Humorous Perspective

How You Can Use Humor to Win at Life in the Face of Adversities

Most people usually don’t observe things around them in their daily lives. Instead, they are busy being engrossed in their desires and fears. And this is quite sad since you will start seeing an entirely different world if you take the time to watch and observe the things around you.

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.”

-Bill Cosby

You might start seeing a quirky habit of the roadside vendor you pass every day but never bother to look at. You will ride the taxi as usual, but see that the owner has a picture of a funny quote right in front of the dashboard. And during the travel, you might see that an elderly man, who was buying flowers from a young woman, was trying to flirt with her in a rather comedic but sweet way.

All these observations will come in handy when you try to make a joke among friends and co-workers. If you observe most people who are funny, they are able to draw from their experiences and present them in a humorous manner. It is basically storytelling in the heart of it. This is why it is very important that you start observing the things happening around you. The more you see, the more material you will get to use in your jokes.

Final Thoughts

There’s no point in taking yourself seriously when your life is already full of seriousness. You might not have time to enjoy yourself because you are busy building your dreams, you might have to give up a lot of things, you might even stop working on your hobbies – these things are common in the building phases of people’s careers – but what you have to remember to not give up is laughter.

“A sense of humor… is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.”

-Hugh Sidey

Laughter will get you through even the darkest of days. When you seem like there is nothing going your way, laughter will be there to accompany you learning from your failures and not breaking down to not apply the learnings one more time to achieve success. Learn to find laughter in what you can, you keep you going in the race of life.

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Habits

3 Things You Can Do to Make Humor a Habit

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3 Things You Can Do to Make Humor a Habit

Have you ever talked to someone and couldn’t stop laughing? It wasn’t them telling a knock-knock joke or making a specific joke, it was just their one-liners in the midst of conversation, some keen observation, and some creative comparisons that had you laughing along.

This – humor – is a quality that helps people put others at ease in their presence. When you are humorous by nature, people are drawn to you. You can easily diffuse a tense situation, you become a people magnet, and you can joke about yourself reeling people in because they can relate. This has high benefits. Not only as a personality trait that helps you in social settings, but being humorous is also beneficial for your personal life, professional life, and health. 

“If you can laugh at yourself, you are going to be fine. If you allow others to laugh with you, you will be great.”

-Martin Niemoller

When people think of improving personal qualities, they usually focus on aspects like beauty, intelligence, confidence, physical strength and so on. Very rarely do people think of developing their sense of humor. This is sad in a way since a good sense of humor can easily make you appear attractive, boost confidence, and make you look overall smarter in front of others. 

So, why not focus on making humor a habit? 

Now that we have looked at how humor can bring about positive changes in your life and the attributes of a humorous person, let’s talk about how to develop a sense of humor so that it becomes your second nature by examining how you can develop a sense of humor and learn to infuse it in your daily life.

Watch Comedy Shows

3 Things You Can Do to Make Humor a Habit

A good way to develop your humor sense is to watch comedy shows. Make a note of the best comedy shows on TV and online, and be sure to watch at least one episode per day. When you do this for a few months, you will start using some of the jokes you heard in conversations with other people. 

And slowly, you will start creating your own jokes depending on the situation you are in. Make sure that you definitely watch shows that are dependent on taking a funny outlook on current issues. The unique perspective such shows bring to real-world problems will surely make you see the world in the same sarcastic and funny way.

Join a Comedy Class

3 Things You Can Do to Make Humor a Habit

If you are serious about learning to be a humorous person, consider joining a comedy class. Since they are conducted by professional comedians, they can teach you tips and tricks to train your mind to see the humor in different situations. 

Plus, you will be with a group of people who share the same goal as you – developing their funny side. And being part of a group where you can make a joke without worrying about its failure will definitely give you the confidence to sharpen your humorous side. However, do keep in mind that such courses do not come cheap.

Be Silly Sometimes

“We take ourselves way too seriously, and we don’t take God seriously enough. It is not by accident that humor and humility come from the same root word. If you can laugh at yourself, you’ll always have plenty of good material.”

-Rick Warren

Some people are always serious and extremely wary of doing ‘silly’ things out of fear that it might affect their ‘image’ in front of others. And if you are one of them, then you need to learn to relax and do some silly stuff from time to time. 

3 Things You Can Do to Make Humor a Habit

Go out and participate in a street dance competition and let yourself loose, or dress up as your favorite superhero and roam the streets. Whatever you do, make sure that you get out of your comfort zone. 

Only then can you develop a humorous side. If you live a restricted life, then you will never be able to acquire the requisite sense of humor. So, start doing and saying some silly things, and you will definitely see life through the eyes of a comedian.

Final Thoughts

“Laughter is a holy thing. It is as sacred as music and silence and solemnity, maybe more sacred. Laughter is like a prayer, like a bridge over which creatures tiptoe to meet each other. Laughter is like mercy; it heals. When you can laugh at yourself, you are free.”

-Ted Loder

Life is a joke, after all. Who knows when things all fall apart? So, why keep tight about it all? Start loosening up, and take life to be something that should be laughed at. When you are with the right people, laughing at situations becomes easier. 

Laughter brings positive vibes in your life, positive vibes attract positive people, which in turn removes negativity from your life. It’s a circle – you need to get the ball rolling to change the bubble of emotions you surround yourself with.

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