Maysoon Zayid: One of the most dinchack (wow!) TED talks ever!

Wow! Maysoon is extremely inspiring, super funny and very beautiful. One of the most dinchack (wow!) TED talks I’ve ever heard…

You may watch in HD on TED through this link.

“When I grow up I want to be happy, just like I am now.”

Wow, one of the best TED videos I’ve ever watched!

In this inspiring 11-minute video, mature-beyond-his-years teenager, Logan LaPlante, explains why he thinks youth should be taught to be happy and healthy, and how “hacking” his education to follow his dream is helping him do just that.

And with over 270,000 views on YouTube since his talk was published in February, I think he’s on the right path to inspiring other people to do the same.

An extremely inspiring video: Janine Shepherd’s limited body, unstoppable spirit

Cross-country skier Janine Shepherd hoped for an Olympic medal — until she was hit by a truck during a training bike ride. She shares a powerful story about the human potential for recovery. Her message: you are not your body, and giving up old dreams can allow new ones to soar.

Your body language affects your own mind and behavior too!

Did you know: Our body (how we sit, stand, walk, and our facial expressions) changes our minds; our mind changes our behavior; our behavior changes our outcomes.

It’s something I first learnt from ‘Awaken the Giant Within’ by Anthony Robbins – more from his talk than from the book. I’ve been applying, and teaching this principle in all sales/motivational training programs. It’s not only relevant at work, but in all communications with others and ourselves. And now Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reinforces the concept further: that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions. Whether you are familiar with the concept or not, please stop and watch this inspiring video from TED…

Tali Sharot: We are born optimists!

An excellent TED talk by Tali Sharot, neuroscientist and author of The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain. She highlights the following with interesting case studies:

  1. Interpretation matters
  2. Anticipation makes us happy
  3. Optimism changes reality
  4. Optimism makes you try harder

“Whatever happens, whether you succeed or you fail, people with high expectations always feel better, because how we feel, depends on how we interpret that event.” Tali Sharot

My take: Optimism is the only way for a ‘dhinchak‘ life!

Michael Norton: Money can buy happiness

Another excellent TED talk in which Michael shares a simple way to buy happiness – by giving…

Michael I. Norton is an Associate Professor of Business Administration in the Marketing Unit and Marvin Bower Fellow at the Harvard Business School. He holds a B.A. in Psychology and English from Williams and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Princeton. Prior to joining HBS, Professor Norton was a Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. His work has been published in a number of leading academic journals, including Science, the Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyPsychological Science, and the Annual Review of Psychology, and has been covered in media outlets such as the Economist, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

Less stuff = more happiness

I’ve lived with this mantra for over five years now, so I was obviously very interested to watch Graham Hill’s talk on TED with that title. He has summarized the benefits very well, but he doesn’t tell us what did he do with all his collections, possessions and stuff. Here’s my story and tips:

When I started the process of reducing my possessions and simplifying my life, I started with the biggest chunk – my collection of books. I realized I wasn’t going to re-read most of them. My hope that my kids would read them all one day wasn’t realistic because they don’t have the same interests as mine. So I gave them all away to friends or charity. I also got rid of the book shelf, so that the books I continue to buy must be given away soon after I finish reading them. Since the iPad, I only buy digital books. They are cheaper, easy to store/backup and environment friendly. You can increase the font size and brightness; you can highlight passages; you can call up a dictionary by just touching the word. And if you really miss the touch and feel and smell of real books, you can visit the book store once a while and get all that for free. I have also tried audio books, and they have their benefits too.

Then I was able to simplify my entire wardrobe to fit into ten hangers and one drawer – plus a small suitcase with winter stuff on one side and special occasion stuff on the other. I took most of the unnecessary clutter out of my life – excessive suits, shoes, belts, ties, watches (I’ve actually stopped wearing a watch), videos, CDs etc. I still need to finish scanning the photos and get rid of the albums. All of this means, I need less space for my possessions and less maintenance time. I can focus on quality instead of quantity/variety. I only buy things that I really need and have space for. If I buy a new shirt, an old shirt has to go.

My travel bag has got smaller and smaller, regardless of the length of the trip, and is now down to a small carry-on, without the additional backpack that used to go with it. I still take all the photos and make all the movies with my pocket Canon Ixus. That means I can pack easily and quickly, travel much lighter and move around easily. I have applied the same principle to my work i.e. office space and desk. It’s all easier said than done, but extremely rewarding and worthwhile. I believe it makes you more productive, more efficient, lighter and happier!

[Photo of my travel bags taken just now in the hotel room. The shoulder bag has the camera, spare battery, spare SD cards, phone, wallet, passport, charger, pens and few other essentials]

Ron Gutman: The hidden power of smiling

Ron Gutman reviews a raft of studies about smiling, and reveals some surprising results. Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live – and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being? Prepare to flex a few facial muscles as you learn more about this evolutionarily contagious behavior.

Daniel Goleman on Compassion

An inspiring talk by the award-winning author of Emotional Intelligence. Daniel asks why we aren’t more compassionate more of the time…

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Be a Weekday Vegetarian

We all know the arguments that being vegetarian is better for the environment, animals and our own health — but in a carnivorous culture, it can be hard to make the change. Graham Hill has a powerful, pragmatic suggestion: Be a weekday vegetarian.

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Help the millions affected by the floods in Pakistan!

The Power of Human Will – Lewis Pugh did it again!

Another inspiring video from TED! After Lewis Pugh swam the North Pole, he vowed never to take another cold-water dip. Then he heard of Lake Imja in the Himalayas, created by recent glacial melting, and Lake Pumori, a body of water at an altitude of 5300 m on Everest. And so began a journey that would teach him a radical new way to approach swimming, new challenges and think about climate change.

What’s your biggest challenge today? And do you need a radical new way to handle it?

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Follow Your Passion: Roz Savage rowing across the Pacific!

Five years ago, Roz Savage quit her high-powered London job to become an ocean rower. She’s crossed the Atlantic solo, and just started the third leg of a Pacific solo row, the first for a woman. Why does she do it? Hear her reasons, both deeply personal and urgently activist. A very inspiring video about following your passion, finding your purpose, getting out of your comfort zone, challenges and achievements!

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9 Secrets from the “Blue Zones” by Dan Buettner

National Geographic writer and explorer Dan Buettner studies the world’s longest-lived peoples, distilling their secrets into a single plan for health and long life. Dan and team study the world’s “Blue Zones,” communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to record-setting age. He shares the 9 common diet and lifestyle habits that keep them spry past age 100, and five out of these have nothing to do with diet or exercise! One of the best and most inspiring videos I have ever come across:

Teaching Kids “I CAN”

Another very inspiring video from TED. Kiran Bir Sethi shows how her groundbreaking Riverside School in India teaches kids life’s most valuable lesson: “I can.” Watch her students take local issues into their own hands, lead other young people, even educate their parents. As Kiran said, “Contagious is a good word!”

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Dan Gilbert asks: Why Are We Happy?

Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert says our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong — a premise he supports with intriguing research, and explains in his accessible and unexpectedly funny book, Stumbling on Happiness.

It is wonderful that a modern philosopher can come to the same conclusions as the Buddha 2,500 years ago. He said that when we learn to accept things as they are we find happiness. When we cease to strive for happiness in the future we find it in this moment. Getting what we want doesn’t make us happy, being happy with what we have does. Craving causes misery, acceptance and peace makes us happy.

Lewis Pugh’s record-breaking swim across the North Pole!

0910 lewis pughYou must watch this video in which Lewis Pugh talks about his record-breaking swim across the North Pole. He braved the icy waters (in a Speedo) to highlight the melting icecap. Watch for the astonishing footage and his commentary about the childhood dream, purpose of this swim, and the physical and mental preparation:

Watch the video here.

Makes you wonder about the power of the human will. Question is, what are we going to do with that power?

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“It’s Not What You’ve Been Given…” by Eddi Reader

You must know someone like him; he was tall and strong and lean

With a body like a greyhound; and a mind so sharp and keen

But his heart, just like laurel; grew twisted around itself

Till almost everything he did; brought pain to someone else

It’s not what you’re born with; it’s what you choose to bear

It’s not how big your share is; it’s how much you can share Continue reading

Inspiration from Aimee Mullins: Another Athelete on Prosthetics!

TED has become a regular source of inspiration for me. You can watch and learn from so many wonderful people!

Aimee Mullins was born without fibular bones, and had both of her legs amputated below the knee when she was an infant. She learned to walk on prosthetics, then to run — competing at the national and international level as a champion sprinter, and setting world records at the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta. Aimee built a career as a model, actor and activist for women, sports and the next generation of prosthetics. She tells her story in this inspiring video: