I absolutely love watching Ted Talks. They are very inspiring and a great way to learn about something new. They help me to grow and adapt in many different ways.
There are really way too many Ted Talks to put on my list below and I feel I need to limit the list to between 3-6 to keep the load time to an acceptable level. When I have time (I am applying the lessons of time management from the video below), I will create separate pages for different topics so I can keep all my favorites in one place but still keep the page size manageable.
How to Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals
This video really explains how anyone can really accomplish anything just by simply breaking the large task into many different micro tasks. It really shows someone how to eat the elephant. It also touches on the topic of how to use the power of daily habits to learn and grow. The speaker learned German by simply listening to language tapes on his way to and from work (plus doing a little extra towards the end).
The Art of Letting Go
This was one of the video’s that really taught me about how all my stuff is clouding my ability to focus on improving my life. This video has touched me in such a way as to reverse my spending mentality and to start clearing the clutter in my life. I have no plans to move into a camper and move to the mountains (That is not what minimalism is about) but I will start to live a more moderate minimalist (Simpler) life.
How To Multiply Your Time
I would list this as another one that hits the mark on how to create more time in your life. The topics are familiar and nothing earth shattering in the message other then it clearly defined in less than 20 minutes great books such as “The 4-Hour Workweek”.
To summarize “The Focus Funnel” topic, here are some key topics:
There is way too much work in everyone’s lives to fill several lifetimes. We do not have enough time to do everything. The purpose is to spend your time on items that will make a difference in improving your life in the future. Make sure the items you spend your time on will move you (and your projects) towards the outcome you require.
Designing Your Life
This talk will help you decide what you want to spend your limited time on in life. Most people spent a very large amount of their life on their career and this talk will help you choose the best options for you. I learned that I have too many passions to narrow it down to a single career or activity and this is normal (8 out of 10 people either have no passion or too many).
First, the principles of Design Thinking:
- Empathize: Design Thinking places people and their needs at the center. What does the end user want? What is the “job to be done”? This step requires observation, engagement, and conversation. Most market research studies fail this first step. It should not come as a surprise that most products and services fail.
- Define: Once we identify the real “job to be done” from the perspective of the end user, we need to define the “problem” or “challenge” in a meaningful way. Defining the problem right is half the solution.
- Ideate: Use your creative mind to generate as many “solutions” as possible. Never mind whether the solutions make sense. Don’t try to figure out the “right” answer. Just allow your mind to come up with solutions that do not exist at present. Brainswarming (not brainstorming), mind mapping, and doodling are some of the useful tools for this stage.
- Prototype: Design Thinking is all about “learning by doing.” Convert as many solutions as you can into working prototypes. The essence of this step is speed. Don’t aim for the perfect solution. Look for a tangible solution that the end user is likely to be pleased with. Remember: it is better to fail and cheaply at this stage than to fail spectacularly later.
- Test: Go into the real world and test your solution/s. Don’t expect the smell of sweet success. Expect end users to trash your solution. Learn from their feedback. Iteration is at the heart of Design Thinking. Don’t ever think that your first solution is indeed the best. More often than not, your first solution is likely to be your worst – from the end user’s perspective.
Then applying these principles to my career for the next 5 years (traditionally I have always looked 10-20 years out), here are sets of questions to help define my realistic alternate career plans:
- The first scenario is a continuation of your current state. Status-quo.
- The second scenario is what you would do if your current situation suddenly changes. What if you lose your job? What if you your current job is no longer enjoyable or your passion changes and is now different then your current career? What if there is a natural disaster in your area?
- The third scenario is a hypothetical “wish list” of all that you might want to do over a life time. Sell off everything and walk or bike across the world? Become a chef? Go para-gliding or bungee-jumping? Go ahead. Create the most preposterous list that you can imagine. The point of the third scenario is to explore many different paths – most of which you might not have thought of consciously till now. Remember it is never too late to learn. Ten hours a day for three years can get you to the magical 10,000 hours to master anything.
Staying Stuck or Moving Forward
When we ask ourselves problem focused questions, we focus too much on the problems. Some of our problems could be way in the past or future and not related to why we are not moving forward today. When we focus beyond the current situation, we stop moving forward. There is a process you can learn to help get unstuck and start moving forward.
- Turn: Realize you are stuck. Refocus on your goal and turn your effort in that direction.
- Learn: Learn ways to deal with the problem or avoid the problem. Learn and grow beyond your bumps on your way to your goals.
- Move Forward: Once you get around your problems, don’t look back. Focus on the now and watch your progress.
Why Comfort Will Ruin Your Life
The idea of using the 4 rings to push yourself out of the comfort zone. The 4 zones are:
- Stagnation, Non-creative mode. Over managed by process, not organized properly, and nonproductive.
- Order, This is the comfortable mode where most people (and organizations) want to remain. Limited creativity but slow steady growth.
- Complexity, nothing more then changed order. This is unpredictable and when you are in this zone, you are in large growth mode. This zone is very creative and focused.
- Chaos, This is the opposite of Stagnation. This is common when business reorganize and lose traction and focus. This is poorly managed, not organized, and not productive.
What Makes a Good Life?
Good relationships make us happier and healthier! This is the key finding of this 75 year study on.
- Social connections are really good for us. Connections with friends and family makes us happier, healthier, and makes us live longer. The opposite is also true for people who are socially isolated.
- Its not just the number of connections. It is the quality of those relationships that is required for a happier and healthier life.
- Good relationships also protect our brains. Memories are maintained better when quality relationships are part of their lives.
Must replace work mates with play mates in retirement. Commit to your loving relationships and prioritize them above all else.
Mark Twain said “The Good Life is built with good relationships”.
How to Make Stress Your Friend
There is a study that concluded that stress is not the cause of health problems in itself. The health issues come from believing that stress is harmful. This makes sense to me. If you choose to see stress as being helpful, then it will not create health problems in your life. Instead it will create more focus and energy and help you accomplish your goals and take advantage of these life opportunities. We all have known that stress is something in your head and something most people choose to carry around with them all the time. Now we have the opportunity to turn those problems around and improve our outlook on life.
One other conclusion from this study I find amazing. Talking about our stressful conditions (hopefully in positive ways), we dramatically improve our health and wellbeing. The close relations we have support our ability to deal with stressful events in our lives and help us not only overcome them but also make us stronger and better able to deal with future stressful events. This idea is also covered in the TEDx talk about “What Makes a Good Life”. Caring for others also has the same benefits as having deep personal connections with other people.
Do you have a Ted talk you like and can recommend? Please leave it in the comment section below. I would love to watch it.