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You Can Easily Learn 100 TED Talks Lessons In 5 Minutes Which Most People Need 70 Hours For

You Can Easily Learn 100 TED Talks Lessons In 5 Minutes Which Most People Need 70 Hours For

The other week I watched 70 hours of TED talks; short, 18-minute talks given by inspirational leaders in the fields of Technology,Entertainment, and Design (TED). I watched 296 talks in total, and I recently went through the list of what I watched, weeded out the crappy and boring talks, and created a list of the 100 best things I learned !

This article isn’t entirely about productivity, but I guarantee you’ll learn a thing or two. Here are 100 incredible things I learned watching 70 hours of TED talks last week!

productivity

    Productivity

    1. Studies have shown that what motivates a person the most (in non-factory-type work) is how much autonomy, mastery, and purpose they have, not how much money they make.

    2. Playing video games can actually make you more productive because video games give you more physical, mental, emotional, and social resilience.

    3. A lot of people aspire to be productive so they can become happier, but happiness has been shown to lead to productivity, not the other way around.

    4. You don’t have as much attention to give to the world around you as you think. You can’t recall memories while processing new data, you can only process so much information at once, and your attention is easily manipulated (like by magicians).

    5. Innovative thinking is often a slow and gradual process, not a moment of instant, lightbulb-like inspiration.

    6. If you want people to remember you, sweat the small stuff. Most companies (and people) do the big stuff right, so sweating the small stuff (like getting the user interfaces on your products right) can really set you apart.

    7. You have three brain systems for love: lust, romantic love, and attachment. To develop more intimate relationships with your significant other, it’s important to invest in all three.

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      8. When you create an environment for your employees that makes them truly happy(instead of just rich), more profits may follow.

      9. Your office is actually a pretty crappy environment to get work done. In fact, when Jason Fried asked folks where their favorite place to get work done was, almost no one said “in the office”.

      10. Taking time off can make you a lot more productive, because time away from your work lets you explore, reflect, and come up with better ideas.

      11. The greatest leaders and companies constantly reflect on why they do what they do, instead of simply doing it.

      12. Success isn’t a destination, it’s a continuous journey that’s made up of eight parts: passion, hard work, focus, pushing yourself and others, having great ideas, making constant improvements, serving others, and persistence.

      13. The key to becoming more productive and successful may be to fail faster and smarter, especially if you do creative work.

      14. We don’t feel fear because of a potential loss of income or status, we feel fear because we’re afraid of being judged and ridiculed. Any vision of success has to admit what the definition doesn’t include, and what you may be missing out on.

      15. IQ isn’t the only thing that dictates whether someone will be successful or unsuccessful; grit does too.

      16. If you want to make better long-term decisions, imagine how your decisions will affect your future-self.

      17. All you have to do to learn practically anything is jump in and ask yourself, “what’s the worst that could happen?”

      18. People tend to avoid conflict (it’s in our nature), even though a moderate level of conflict may be the key to better relationships, research, and businesses.

      19. Mass media is pretty much dead, so the key to making big changes is through tribes. As time goes on, more and more people are investing their time and attention in their tribes (like TED!)

      20. The best way to help someone is often to shut up and listen to them.

      21. A great way to kill two birds with one stone: have walking meetings, where you walk and talk to someone at the same time. It’s great exercise, and it speeds up the meeting.

      22. Stress by itself doesn’t affect your healthHow you think about stress does.

      Here are three other productivity experiments I’ve done recently: Meditating for 35 hours over 7 daysusing my smartphone for only an hour a day for three monthsliving in total reclusion for 10 days.

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        Becoming a better human

        23, 24, 25. Limits are bullshit. Some people choose to not be set back by limits, and at the end of the day, they’re the ones who end up giving TED talks. Like Neil Harbisson, who was born without the ability to see color, so he hacked together a device to hear color. Or Caroline Casey, who didn’t learn until she was 17 that she was legally blind. Or David Blaine, who pushed his body and mind to hold his breath for 17 straight minutes underwater.

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          26. Don’t worry – texting isn’t ruining your understanding of the English language.

          27. You’re not as rational as you think you are. One example: do you supersize your meal at McDonald’s even when you’re not hungry?

          28. Three keys to success from Elon Musk: Work very hard, pay attention to negative feedback (especially when it comes from friends), and study physics to learn how to reason from first principles (instead of by analogy).

          29. If you’re arguing with someone to win the argument, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.You should be arguing to learn.

          30. Like it or not, your body language affects how other people think of you.

          31. Great, committed sex combines two thingsyour need for security, and your need for surprise.

          32. Being introverted isn’t a bad thing; it’s quite the opposite! Even though society often seems to value extraverts more, introverts should be celebrated just as much.

          33. To save more money, commit to saving more money, tomorrow.

          34. Living an awesome life means having a great attitude (seeing the good in things), seeing the wonder in the world around you, and being authentic.

          35, 36, 37, 38, 39. 40, 41. There isn’t one secret to happiness, but there are a lot of small secrets that will move you in the right direction. Stay in the moment, and be mindfulSpend money on other people, rather than on yourselfSlow down. Take time to appreciate and see the good in what you haveLive a life that’s full of meaning in the short-and long-term. And change how you look at the past, present, and future.

          42. Your memory is a lot faultier than you think. You frequently remember things that didn’t happen, and remember things differently than they actually happened. Plus, your memories can be manipulated.

          People

          43. When it comes to classical music, no one is tone-deaf, and almost anyone can be calmed or inspired by classical music.

          44. The people who design book covers actually put a ton of thought (and art) into their designs.

          45. The biggest killer in America isn’t cancer, it’s obesity. 66% of the U.S. is obese, including a lot of children and teens, and 1 in 4 people in America dies of a preventable, food-related disease.

          46. Schools kill creativity, and the education model we teach kids by is significantly outdated. School should nurture, not undermine creativity, which Ken Robinson argues that it does.

          47. Students learn best when you make them stop and think, and bring classroom problems down to earth.

          48. There is a large difference between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance, and just because you are loved doesn’t mean you are accepted.

          49. People are powerful. They stand up to soldiers, show compassion when it seems impossible, and expose their vulnerability when it’s the most difficult.

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            50. Monkeys make the same stupid mistakes with money that people do, so our irrationality may just be rooted in our evolutionary history.

            51. Depression (and other diseases) can strike anyone, anytime. Including a comic who has basically everything going for him.

            52. North Korea is one of the most terrible and gruesome places to grow up. Citizens of the country frequently starve to death, are victim to military violence, and are shot if they try to escape.

            53. Violence against women isn’t a “women’s issue”, it’s a man’s issue that’s rooted in the way men view women.

            54. One of the most effective ways to cure poverty in developing countries isn’t food, cattle, or anything else – it’s giving away cellphones.

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              55. Every day, homeless people are completely ignored, abused, and made to feel invisible.Take it from someone who used to be homeless.

              56. According to data, women “systematically underestimate their own abilities”, particularly at work. According to Cheryl Sandberg, women need to sit at the table, make their partner a real partner, and not “leave before they leave” (step back from opportunities because of their family life).

              57. Some of the best designs not only look great, but also accommodate your other four senses. They should also feel great, sound great, smell great, and even taste great.

              58. We live in the one of the most peaceful times of humanity’s existence, even though it might not seem that way. This talk has the fascinating stats to back that up.

              59, 60. Good design has the potential to make people incredibly happy. And some of the best designs are the ones that tell stories.

              61. A little danger is good for both kids and grown-ups, and it makes you into a more versatile, well-rounded person.

              62. If you want to help people in developing countries, you better have a deep understanding of the values of who you’re helping. Take it from a condom saleswoman in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

              63. There may be another way to run a successful, modern economythe Chinese way. Even if you disagree, this talk is fascinating (it’s given from a Chinese perspective).

              64. The language you speak affects your ability to save money. Studies have shown that languages that are more future-oriented motivate people to save more money.

              65. Hard work is sometimes degraded in society, but unjustifiably so. According to Mike Rowe (the host of Dirty Jobs), hard work is worth it.

              66. The way we think about charity is dead-wrong. We reward charities for how little money they spend, instead of for the difference they actually make.

              67. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change”, and it’s one of the most powerful qualities you have.

              68. 4 a.m. is the most mysterious hour of the day.

              69. 30 is not the new 20. Some people see their 20′s as a throwaway decade, even though it’s one of the most formative decades of a person’s life.

              70, 71. Additional choice can make people either happier or less happy. Choice can make someone happy when the choices legitimately suit their needs better, and it can make someone less happy when it makes them more paralyzed (which happens a lot more than you think).

              A Year of Productivity is my full-time job for a whole year, and I have no ads on the site. If you find what I make valuable, please pitch in a few bucks! You don’t have to any means, and I hate asking for money, but it truly helps me build my site up and pay the bills. Here are 8 awesome reasons to pitch in!

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                Technology

                72. It turns out you can use two slices of pizza as a slide clicker, make music with ketchup, and make a piano keyboard with a banana!

                73. If your medical data could anonymously be used by any researcher seeking a hypothesis, there would be a “wave of healthcare innovation”.

                74. Since more and more websites are trying to tailor their content to you, you may get caught up in a digital “filter bubble” and not get “exposed to information that could challenge or broaden [your] worldview”.

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                  75. There is a camera that shoots video at a trillion frames a second, and the results are incredible.

                  76. Google is working on a car that drives itself, and it actually works very well.

                  77. A trend to watch: 3D printing. The ability for you to be able to print 3D items at home isn’t that far away.

                  78. Incredible things happen when you create an open encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Here’s the story behind Wikipedia.

                  79. There are a lot of videos about cats and twerking, but web video is also an incredible tool for learning and global innovation.

                  80. Everywhere you go online, you’re tracked; a lot more than you might suspect. Web tracking isn’t 100% evil, but websites certainly track you a ton, so it’s worth informing yourself what they use that information for.

                  81. Every electronic device you own is incredibly complex, with parts sourced from all around the world, so rebuilding anything you own from scratch is nearly impossible, as one guy found out.

                  82. You might put in orders on Amazon without much thought, but after you place an order, an incredibly intricate, hidden world of box-packing churns away to deliver your order.

                  83. Computers keep getting smarter; so fast that they often seem to be approaching (and exceeding) how smart humans are. But although they may be getting faster, they’re not as clever or creative as humans are.

                  84. Electrical sockets used to be shaped like lightbulb holders, because that used to be the only thing we plugged in.

                  85, 86. You can make plastic out of mushrooms, and the process is very good for the environment. This is great, because plastic has huge, surprising consequences for the environment.

                  87. It’s possible to stream wireless data from a light bulb (though it requires a line-of-sight between your device and the light).

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                    Earth (and beyond)

                    88. Fish are delicious, but the way we’re farming them is unsustainable, not to mention bad for Nemo. Luckily, there’s a revolutionary (and fascinating) fish farming system in Spain that solves this.

                    89. Some fish and other ocean critters are positively enchanting. Want to see what I mean? Here is 5.5 minutes of footage of fascinating underwater creatures, including fish that change colors, creatures that camouflage to fit their environment, and fish that light up in the black of the ocean.

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                      90. 80-90% of undersea creatures light up.

                      91. In my opinion (after watching this TED talk), one of the most interesting underwater creatures is the octopus.

                      92. Bees have been around for 50 million years, but they recently started dying en masse because of “parasitic mites, viral and bacterial diseases, and exposure to pesticides and herbicides”.

                      93. Flowers play beautiful tricks to attract insects to spread their pollen.

                      94. How a fly flies is fascinating, and according to Michael Dickinson, “perhaps one of the greatest feats of evolution“.

                      95. An asteroid 6 miles wide could end civilization on Earth in an instant.

                      96. The scientific odds are not against, but incredibly in favor of alien life.

                      97. One of Saturn’s moons has a giant volcano that shoots out ice instead of lava. And that’s just one cool part about the planet.

                      98. You can run a program on your computer that helps the University of California, Berkeley analyze radio telescope data for aliens.

                      99. Curiosity-driven science pays for itself, and drives incredible innovation for years to come.

                      100. Embrace the mystery that exists in the world. J.J. Ahrams has a mystery box that he hasn’t opened in 35 years, because the potentialof what’s inside the box is unlimited. which is worth way more than what’s actually in the box.

                      More by this author

                      The Top 10 Things I Learned about Productivity Living in Total Isolation for 10 Days The top 10 lessons I learned using my smartphone for only 60 minutes a day The Top 10 Things I Learned Meditating for 35 Hours over One Week 10 one-minute time hacks that will make you more productive You Can Easily Learn 100 TED Talks Lessons In 5 Minutes Which Most People Need 70 Hours For

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                      Last Updated on December 9, 2019

                      7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

                      7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

                      The world has become a very distracting place, you don’t need me to tell you that. Where once we could walk out of our house or office and disappear into our own world with our own thoughts, we are now connected 24 hours a day to a network that’s sole purpose is to make us available to anyone and everyone at any time they choose to disturb us.

                      Of course, it is very easy to sit here and say all you have to do is turn off your electronic devices and just allow yourself several hours of quiet solitude; but the reality is far harder than that. There is an expectation that we are available for anyone whenever they want us.

                      However, if you do want to elevate yourself and perform at your best every day, to produce work of a higher quality than anyone expects and to regain control over what you do and when you will need to regain some control over your time, so you can focus on producing work that matters to you…

                      The good news: You do not have to become a recluse. All you need are a few simple strategies that will allow you enough flexibility in your day to stay focused to do the work that matters and still allow you to deal with other people’s crises and dramas.

                      Here are 7 ways you can stay focused and be less distracted.

                      1. Find out When You Are at Your Most Focused

                      According to research, brilliantly documented by Daniel Pink in his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, our brains have a limited capacity to stay focused each day.[1]

                      From the moment we wake up to the time we turn in for the day, we are using up our brain’s limited energy resources and, depending on the time of day, we will be moving between strong concentration and low concentration.

                      This means that for most people, their optimum time for sustained concentration and focus will be soon after they wake up. For others, it could be later in the evening—a kind of second wind—but that is rare.

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                      Once you understand this, you can take time to learn when you are at your best and to protect that time on your calendar as much as possible. If you can, block it off and use that time for the work you need to do that requires the most concentration each day.

                      2. Get Comfortable Using ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode

                      We have the ability to switch our electronic devices to do not disturb mode. Where all notifications are off and your phone or computer will not alert you to a new email or message.

                      Now after testing this function for a number of years, I can happily report that it does work.

                      When I sat down to write this article, I put all my electronic devices to do not disturb, closed down my email and began writing. I am safe in the knowledge that until this article is written, and I turn do not disturb off, there will be no interruptions or distractions.

                      Of course, it is not really about whether do not disturb works or not, it is whether you are willing to turn it on or not.

                      Most people believe they have to be constantly available for their boss or customers. This is not true at all. What has happened is because of your always available status, you have conditioned these people to turn to you first whenever they have a problem.

                      You are not actually helping them at all. You are preventing them from having to think for themselves and develop the skill of problem-solving. By not being so readily available, you help them a lot more.

                      What it comes down to is your boss and customers are going to be far more positive with you, if you deliver your work to the highest quality and on time than you being available 24/7. Trust me on that. I also tested that one.

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                      3. Schedule Focus Time Every Day

                      This technique is a lot easier than you may think.

                      First, you figure out when you are least likely to be disturbed. For me, that is between 6 and 9 am. for a lot of my clients, they find the first 90 minutes in the morning at their workplace is when they are not likely to be disturbed. This is important because you want to be building consistency.

                      Most people start their day by checking their email and other messages. While they are doing that, they are not going to be bothering you. Now there is no rule about when you should be checking your email. The chances are email is not going to be where you want to spend your most focused time, so you can decide to check your email at say 10:30 am.

                      Dedicate 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 11:00 am for email processing and use the first 90 minutes of your day for doing your most important work. You will surprise yourself by how much work you get done in that ninety minutes.

                      4. Plan Your Day the Night Before

                      One of the inevitabilities of life is there is always a plan for the day. The choice is whether the plan you have is a plan of your own making or not. If you don’t have a plan, then the day will take control of you. Other people’s priorities, urgencies and dramas will fill your day. As the late Jim Rohn said:

                      “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

                      If you take control and make it a habit to plan out what you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed, you will find yourself staying more focused on your work and be less likely disturbed.

                      Now when I say plan your day the night before, I do not mean you need to spend an hour or so planning and mapping out every minute of the day. Planning your day should only take you around 10 to 15 minutes and you only need to decide what 10 things you want to complete — 2 “must do” objective tasks and 8 “would like to do” tasks. What I call the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique:

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                      Do not be tempted to go beyond 10 tasks for the day. When you do that, you do not have enough flexibility in your day to handle crises and other unknown issues that will pop up throughout the day.

                      When you do not build in flexibility, you will soon stop planning your day. Only plan tasks that will have the biggest positive impact on your work and projects.

                      5. Learn to Say “No”

                      I am sure you’ve been told this before. We are wired to please and this results in us wanting to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. The problem is we cannot do everything and every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you are saying “no” to another opportunity. You cannot be in two places at the same time.

                      Jay Shetty shared an inspiring video on JOMO “Joy Of Missing Out”. Here’s the video:

                      Rather than allowing ourselves to be succumbed by FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), we should replace that ‘fear’ with the “joy” of missing out. Because of our need to please, we say yes to things we really don’t want to do; yet when we do that, we miss out on doing things that bring us joy—creating something special, spending time educating ourselves and just having some quiet alone time with ourselves.

                      Learn to say “no” every time you get a notification to your phone. Ignore it. Learn to say “no” to your colleagues when they want to gossip. Learn to say “no” to volunteering when the thing you are being asked to volunteer for does not excite you. Just learn to say “no”.

                      By saying “no” to opportunities, distractions and interruptions, you are saying yes to better and more meaningful things. Things you do want to focus your attention on.

                      6. Create a Distraction-Free Environment for Your Focused Time

                      This has been possibly the most powerful tip I learned when it comes to focusing on what is important. Have a place where you do only focused, high-concentration work.

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                      Now this place needs to be clean and only have the tools you need to do your work. If it is writing a report or preparing a presentation, then it needs a table and a computer, nothing more. Files, paper and other detritus that accumulates on and around people’s desks need to go. A clean, cool and well-lit environment is going to do a lot more for your focus and concentration than anything else.

                      The dining table in our home is where I go for undisturbed, focussed work. I take my laptop or iPad, and only have my writing app open. Everything is closed down and the computer is in “do not disturb” mode. There is nothing else on the dining table just my computer and my water tumbler.

                      Because that is my designated focus area, I only go there to work when I have something that needs total focus and concentration. I am there right now!

                      7. Be Intentional

                      The reality is, if you absolutely need to get something done then you need to be intentional. You have to have the intention of sitting down, focusing and doing the work.

                      There’s no magic tricks or apps that will miraculously do all your work for you. You need to intentionally set aside time for undisturbed focus work and do it. Without that intention, you can read as many of these articles as you like and you still will not get the work done.

                      It is only when you intentionally set yourself up to do the work, turn off all notifications and do whatever it takes to avoid distractions will the work get done.

                      The Bottom Line

                      The strategies and tips I shared in this post will go a long way to helping you become better at focusing on the important things in your life. No matter what they are, you are in control of your time and what you do with it and where you spend it, never give that control away to anyone else.

                      Protect it and it will be your servant. Give that control away and it will become your master and that is not a good place to be.

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                      Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

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