“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” – Aristotle
Each one of us needs a starting point to better ourselves, a spark of inspiration that lights up passion inside of you.
And as the old saying goes: if you want to be the best, learn from the best.
Here’s a list of the 31 best TED talks of all time, which will open the gates of imagination and creativity and help you become a better person!
Takeaway: The future is already here. Learn how modern technology helps the physical world interact with the world of data.
“What we can do is not important. What we should do is more important.”
Takeaway: Learn the force behind the things you do in your everyday life and how to change your habits.
“The defining factor [for success] is never resources; it’s resourcefulness.”
Takeaway: Discover why you are irrational and why your memory often misleads you.
“We don’t choose between experiences, we choose between memories of experiences. Even when we think about the future, we don’t think of our future normally as experiences. We think of our future as anticipated memories.”
Takeaway: There is so much we still don’t know about the planet we live on.
“Today we’ve only explored about 3 percent of what’s out there in the ocean. Already we’ve found the world’s highest mountains, the world’s deepest valleys, underwater lakes, underwater waterfalls … There’s still 97 percent, and either that 97 percent is empty or is just full of surprises.”
Takeaway: Learn 10 baffling and hilarious things about sexual climax.Advertising
“If you can trigger the Lazarus reflex in a dead person, why not the orgasm reflex?”
Takeaway: Having less stuff might actually make us happier.
“We’ve got to cut the extraneous out of our lives, and we’ve got to learn to stem the inflow. We need to think before we buy. Ask ourselves, ‘Is that really going to make me happier? Truly?”
Takeaway: Learn how to train your mind to be happy.
“Natural happiness is what we get when we get what we wanted, and synthetic happiness is what we make when we don’t get what we wanted. In our society, we have a strong belief that synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind.”
Takeaway: Big data helps to debunk myths about the so-called “developing world.”
“I have shown that Swedish top students know statistically significantly less about the world than the chimpanzees.”
Takeaway: Learn why introverts should be encouraged and celebrated.
“Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Gandhi — all these peopled described themselves as quiet and soft-spoken and even shy. And they all took the spotlight, even though every bone in their bodies was telling them not to.”
Takeaway: Learn how our brains can fool our bodies.
“I’m going to show you all how easy it is to manipulate the human mind once you know how.”
Takeaway: Great reminder of how important passion and persistence are in our lives.
“As a magician, I think everything is possible. And I think if something is done by one person it can be done by others.”Advertising
Takeaway: Learn one of the most useful skills in your life – how to detect lies.
“A lie has no power whatsoever by its mere utterance; its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe the lie.”
Takeaway: You will never know if you like something unless you try it.
“The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not, so why not think about something you have always wanted to try and give it a shot for the next 30 days?”
Takeaway: Incredibly moving journey of a scientist who suffered a stroke and her way back to the normal life.
“I am the life-force power of the universe. I am the life-force power of the 50 trillion beautiful molecular geniuses that make up my form, at one with all that is.”
Takeaway: Learn why those who are vulnerable are generally happier and feel more worthy of love.
“Maybe stories are just data with a soul.”
Takeaway: Learn why there is a genius in all of us.
“We’ve completely internalized and accepted collectively this notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked, and that artistry in the end will always ultimately lead to anguish — are you guys all cool with that idea?”
Takeaway: Learn why your twenties are actually a formative period in our lives.
“When you pat a twentysomething on the head and you say, ‘You have 10 extra years to start your life’ … you have robbed that person of his urgency and ambition.”
Takeaway: Learn how you are influenced by your own body language.Advertising
“Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.”
Takeaway: Learn why we need to rethink how we run our businesses and motivate our employees.
“If you want people to perform better, you reward them, right? Bonuses, commissions, their own reality show. Incentivize them. … But that’s not happening here. You’ve got an incentive designed to sharpen thinking and accelerate creativity, and it does just the opposite. It dulls thinking and blocks creativity.”
Takeaway: Learn in detail how children acquire language and what the implications of this process are.
“The true promise is where the numbers and patterns from this data connect and become personal, enabling us to understand and to respond to humanity and the world in ways previously unimaginable”
Takeaway: Learn why our sedentary lives might be deadly to our bodies and minds.
“Walk and talk. … You’ll be surprised at how fresh air drives fresh thinking.”
Takeaway: Learn about the growing importance of creativity in our education system.
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
Takeaway: Learn about innovative thought processes and the future of energy.
“Really pay attention to negative feedback and solicit it, particularly from friends. … Hardly anyone does that, and it’s incredibly helpful.”
Takeaway: Learn where the true inspiration really comes from.
“People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.”Advertising
Takeaway: Learn why the world needs more women at the top of their professions.
“I believe a world in which half the countries and half the companies were run by women would be a better world.”
Takeaway: Learn how diagnosis of an illness can affect identity.
“People … don’t want to be cured or changed or eliminated. They want to be whoever it is that they’ve come to be.”
Takeaway: Learn why every child deserves to have someone believe in them completely.
“Every child deserves a champion — an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”
Takeaway: Learn how to pursue your dreams and see the opportunities in life’s obstacles.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.”
Takeaway: Learn how our ignorance of food might destroy our lives and the those of our children.
“Your child will live a life ten years younger than you because of the landscape of food that we’ve built around them.”
Takeaway: Learn about the powers of trust and relationships.
“I maintain couchsurfing and crowdsurfing are basically the same thing — you’re falling into the audience and you’re trusting each other.”
Featured photo credit: Old Wisdom / Agnes Scholiers (TouTouke) via rgbstock.com
The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?
It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.
Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,
“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”
In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!
New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”
There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.
So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.
Table of Contents
What is the productivity paradox?
There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.
In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.
He wrote in his conclusion:
“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.
Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”
How do we measure productivity anyway?
And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?
In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.
But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”
In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.
But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?
Possible causes of the productivity paradox
Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:
- Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
- Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
- Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
- Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.
There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.
According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s. This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”
Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.
The paradox and the recession
The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,
“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”
This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.
According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”
A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:
“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”
Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.
“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.
On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”
Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.
Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com
|||^||Erik Brynjolfsson: The Productivity Paradox of Information Technology: Review and Assessment|
|||^||USA Today: Productivity might sound like one more economic statistic to numb the mind.|
|||^||The Economist: Solving the paradox|
|||^||Neil Irwin: The Productivity Paradox|