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Watch These 12 TED Talks To Be Much More Successful

Watch These 12 TED Talks To Be Much More Successful

Successful TED Talks are a great resource for inspiration, instruction, and ideas to help you reach success. Start by viewing these 12 popular TED talks and you will be on your way to becoming much more successful.

1. The key to success? Grit — Angela Lee Duckworth

Views: 6 million+

What qualities drive students and others to achieve success and reach all of their goals? That question drove Angela Lee Duckworth to conduct research and present her engaging TED Talk. Simply put, persistence, patience, and grit are key qualities to reach success. In fact, grit is sometimes a better predictor of success than intelligence scores.

2. How great leaders inspire action — Simon Sinek

Views: 23 million+

Sinek calls on leaders to inspire their followers by answering why they do what they do. His talk also explains why traditional explanations for failure — like not having enough funds or poor timing — are not enough. He does this with a great case study looking at the invention of powered flight in the early 20th century. Passion and purpose make a difference when you’re working on a challenging goal.

3. Try something new for 30 days — Matt Cutts

Views: 6 million+

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Getting into a boring routine is frustrating. On the other hand, completing items on your bucket list may be too difficult. What’s the answer? Do a 30-day challenge to prompt yourself to write more, become kinder, and achieve other worthy goals. As Matt Cutts explains, trying something new for 30 days is just the right amount of challenge for most people to manage.

4. The happy secret to better work — Shawn Achor

Views: 11 million+

Shawn Achor’s research-based TED talk on job success contains an important lesson for us all. He found that “only 25% of job successes are predicted by IQ.” The rest of success comes from attitude, learning how to motivate yourself, and being in a good environment. If you are a manager, it is vital to learn this lesson and create a positive environment for your staff to shine.

5. The nerd’s guide to learning everything online — John Green

Views: 600,000+

Learning new skills and knowledge is one of the most important ways to grow yourself. As John Green explains, the Internet is a fantastic resource for learning if you are focused on finding good resources. For example, you may learn how to work through conflict with a guide to conflict management resources. Or you might improve your professional skills with online courses. Green reminds us that not everyone finds success through traditional education — some people need to learn on their own.

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6. The puzzle of motivation — Dan Pink

Views: 13 million+

Is money the only reward we care about in our work? In this popular TED talk, author Dan Pink explains that our traditional understanding of motivation needs to be rebuilt. In fact, sometimes motivating people with financial rewards backfires and produces terrible results. Pink presents evidence to show that achieving mastery is an important source of motivation. If you want to motivate others successfully, you owe it to yourself to view this TED talk.

7. The power of introverts — Susan Cain

Views: 11 million+

What words come to mind for you when you see the word “introvert?” Many people imagine introverts to be shy, anti-social, and lacking in important social skills. In her outstanding TED talk, lawyer-turned-author Susan Cain explains the unique strengths and traits that introverts bring to the world. In the workplace, introverts are better at listening and focusing on complex problems for long periods of time. If you are an extrovert, this TED talk will help you understand the quiet style of introverts.

8. How to speak so that people want to listen — Julian Treasure

Views: 7 million+

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Communication is central to achieving almost any goal or career that matters. In his focused TED talk, Julian Treasure exposes seven deadly sins of speaking, starting with a basic mistake: gossip. Speaking negatively about people when they are not around to defend themselves is harmful. Treasure also points out the common problem of dogmatism — confusing facts and opinions. As you work to improve your public speaking skills, take the time to watch this popular TED talk.

9. Why we do what we do — Tony Robbins

Views: 14 million

Legendary speaker and personal development expert Tony Robbins shares his wisdom in this classic TED talk. Robbins explains how truly effective decisions reshape our identity. You will learn how to reflect on your emotions and how your words influence your feelings. This TED talk makes an excellent companion to Dan Pink’s presentation. If you are looking for a high-energy presentation to propel you toward success, watch this one.

10. Why you will fail to have a great career — Larry Smith

Views: 4 million

As you plan your career success, do you view it as a grind or as a way to live your passions? University of Waterloo professor Larry Smith explains why many people fail to have an outstanding career in his blunt TED talk. Professor Smith explains that you may start out with twenty interests and take some time to explore them. Ultimately, you need to choose a single passion to reach the highest level of career success. If you keep focusing on excuses, rather than working on your passion, you will fail to have a great career.

11. The power of time off — Stefan Sagmeister

Views: 2 million

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As you work toward success, you may think that endless hours at the office are the solution. Hard work certainly matters, yet it is only part of the puzzle. Stefan Sagmeister’s TED talk explains that taking time off from work — several months in his case — gives you new energy and perspective. If you are an employee, this talk gives you great motivation to use all of your vacation days: you will be happier and more productive. Not sure what to do with your time off? Create a bucket list!

12. Keep your goals to yourself — Derek Sivers

Views: 3 million

Goal setting is one of the most important success skills you can develop. However, there are significant dangers to be aware of. Entrepreneur Derek Sivers explains that keeping your goals to yourself is the best way to go. Why? Loudly talking about your goals with other people gives you the mental satisfaction of actually achieving them. In effect, talking about your goals too much may stop you from doing the work necessary to reach success.

Featured photo credit: Success/JeongGuHyeok via pixabay.com

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Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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