“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.”
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.comAdvertising
Last Updated on July 21, 2021
The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.
Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”
A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.
Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.
In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.
Table of Contents
From Creating Reminders to Building Habits
A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.
For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.
This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.
The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.
That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.
Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!
The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.
Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.
But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?
The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.
The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders
A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.
For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.
But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)
If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.
For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself) can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.
These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.
For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.
How to Make a Reminder Works for You
Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.
Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.
Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.
My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.
Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.
I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.
More on Building Habits
- 16 Everyday Habits of Highly Productive People
- How Long Does It Take to Break a Habit? Science Will Tell You
- How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months
- How to Break a Habit and Hack the Habit Loop
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com
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