TEDx Repost: Don’t have 10,000 hours to learn something new? That’s fine — all you need is 20 hours

Wanting to learn something new comes from that best, most curious part of us. But then we have to put in the work. When it’s day three on the keyboard and the cat walking across the keys still sounds better than us, we can get discouraged — and often give up.

Writer Josh Kaufman, author of The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything … Fast and The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business has figured out why so many of us get stopped in our tracks during this early learning period. “Feeling stupid doesn’t feel good, and the beginning of learning anything new is feeling stupid,” he says.

Through trial and error, he has come up with four steps that can help you scramble up the sharp slope of the learning curve in as little as 20 hours. Why 20? As he puts it, “20 hours is doable — that’s about 45 minutes a day for about a month, even skipping a couple of days here and there.”

The mastery of a new skill can be tough and humbling. This post provides practical tips for how to approach the task, or you can watch the video below.

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TED talks RePost: Why the secret to success is setting the right goals

In 2008, a Googler, Sundar Pichai, took on an objective which was to build the next generation client platform for the future of web applications — in other words, build the best browser. He was very thoughtful about how he chose his key results. How do you measure the best browser? It could be ad clicks or engagement. No. He said: numbers of users, because users are going to decide if Chrome is a great browser or not. So he had this one three-year-long objective: build the best browser. And then every year he stuck to the same key results, numbers of users, but he upped the ante. In the first year, his goal was 20 million users and he missed it. He got less than 10. Second year, he raised the bar to 50 million. He got to 37 million users. Somewhat better. In the third year, he upped the ante once more to a hundred million. He launched an aggressive marketing campaign, broader distribution, improved the technology, and kaboom! He got 111 million users.

Here’s why I like this story, not so much for the happy ending, but it shows someone carefully choosing the right objective and then sticking to it year after year after year. It’s a perfect story for a nerd like me.

Watch John Doerr break down the whats, the whys, and the hows of effective goal setting, and how it can be applied to both individual and organizational goals.

Like this TED talk? Watch more here!



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TEDx ReBlog: 9 common-sense rules for getting the most out of meetings

Been in a meeting recently? Sure you have.

When it comes to making the most out of meetings (i.e., productive, clear, professional, and as brief as possible), it’s not uncommon that we drop the ball from time to time. But that doesn’t mean we can’t strive to run meetings as effectively as possible.

Ray Dalio with Bridgewater Associates has some sounds suggestions for making the most of that time you and your coworkers spend locked away in a conference room trying to change the world (or at least, make a decision on the best font for your quarterly report). Clear objectives, firm leadership, and focus top the list, but do yourself a favor and read more here.

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TED ReBlog: A simple exercise to get any team unstuck

It’s the job of a leader to get a team to see, feel and understand their common mission, vision or task. But what I’ve noticed throughout my career is, people on a team tend to focus on the familiar and on their previous experience with how they operate. They bring these memories into how they frame solutions to any new task. As a leader who wants to inspire creativity in your team, you must keep reminding them to focus on their new task — and that accomplishing it might involve their trying different approaches and strategies.

It’s easy to get stuck in a particular mode of thinking. That line of thinking may serve us well most of the time- until it doesn’t anymore. Jim Crupi outlines in this post one of his exercises aimed at getting teams to think more creatively about problem solving.

via A simple exercise to help get any team unstuck — ideas.ted.com

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TED RePost: Why every office should scrap its clean desk policy

Haslam and Knight asked their participants a variety of questions about how they rated the office they had been working in. They loved the empowered office and hated both the lean and disempowered ones, complaining of being bored or even of physical discomfort such as feeling too hot. And their feelings of despair became all embracing: if they disliked the office space, they also disliked the company that was hosting it, and they disliked the task they were doing in it.

Tim Harford, an economist and senior columnist at the Financial Times, explores the implications of environmental control over workers’ productivity and general satisfaction in this TED article.

As auditors, we spend a great deal of time plunking away at computers in cubicles and offices. Does it help us to be the best auditors we can be if we get to decide if our pot of succulents should sit next to our tastefully displayed framed family cat pictures, or whether those succulents would look better in the window? Tests carried out by Haslam and King indicate that it may- they also indicate that should an unwitting coworker move the succulents off the window sill, there could be heck to pay.


Succulents: Do they cure- or create- office strife?

Check out TED’s other offerings here, and have an excellent holiday weekend!


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