Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Single Shots of Wisdom from Derek Sivvers

Our assignment this week was to watch a TED talk and review/ share our thoughts about it. After wasting dutifully viewing a handful of videos for about an hour, I settled on the short but inspiring talks but Derek Sivvers. He seems like a cool guy – started his own record company by accident – and upon further research I found that he also has a blog of inspiring stories and lessons, some of which are based on his TED talks.

His three talks, “Weird, or Just Different?”, “How to Start a Movement”, and are all based partly on conventional wisdoms, partly on personal observation, and a little bit on a ‘recent study’.

His first speech, “Weird, or Just Different?”, not only educated me on the street system used in Japan (did you know they name their blocks, rather than their streets?) but emphasized the importance of being open to information that challenges that to which you may be accustomed; in other words, “whatever you learn somewhere, it might be the opposite somewhere else”.

“How to Start a Movement” was actually quite entertaining – after initially watching the TED talk, I found it on Sivvers’ personal website and viewed the narrated version of the video, which features a shirtless dancing guy. Sivvers emphasizes that while he will be named the leader, and remembered as ‘beginning’ the giant dancing crowd that forms around him, his true functions are: A) to inspire a single individual, who becomes the ‘follow’, and B) to nurture that ‘follower’ by encouraging them in their fellowship

It’s just plain funny, but still has enough going on to have substance.

“Keep Your Goals to Yourself” is kind of self explanatory – Using findings from ‘recent psychology tests’ (quotation marks because anything citing a recent study really needs better citations) and the 20th century writings and findings of several psychologists, including Peter Gollwitzer, who conducted the recent tests (Qualifier! Eh? Ehhh?) Sivvers explains that you shouldn’t share your goals, and “if you do need to talk about something, you can state it in a way that gives you no satisfaction”. I have definitely been having this problem lately with class, between procrastinating and general time management failure. So quit asking me what I plan on doing for my next piece :P

In other news, now that I’m aware of it, I’ve been seeing TED talks everywhere on the Internet. Mrs Q. posted the cutest Texan kid talking about organic food here, and the hilarious but offensive called out this mutton-chopped robotics engineer here.

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