Category Archives: motivation

Analogy

Like most crazy/new/different things in life this is generally the pattern:

  1. Come up with an idea or something you want to do
  2. Most people think it’s crazy, silly or just “eeh”
  3. You start doing it
  4. For a while it’s just you without much support
  5. Turns out what you’re doing is pretty cool
  6. People starting joining you
  7. More people join you
  8. Your success starts to compound on itself

Perfect and hilarious example, this video (which has been buzzing around the net after it was on front page Digg):

Some of the Wonderful Things About YouTube

For the most part, YouTube is probably more a colossal waste of time more than anything else. Take a look at the day’s most popular videos and you’ll quickly see that most of them are relatively useless or at most just mildly entertaining.

Like any big group of anything, roughly 80% will be pretty useless, but there will also be a top tier with some very helpful stuff.

Despite having an enormous TV downstairs with a killer surround sound system, I don’t watch TV at home anymore. I used to watch all the time, but kept asking myself “What the hell did I just do for 6 hours?” So more and more YouTube is becoming one of my most-visited sites. I’ve discovered a few things which make the YouTube experience educational, informative and helpful rather than just a giant distraction for bored students, people with spare time on the job and insomniacs:

USES:
Personally I like learning about interesting/successful people and how they got where they are. I find that subject fascinating. I read about this kind of stuff all the time, but sometimes it’s nice to hear and see the words being spoken. I find the stories inspiring and containing many great nuggets of information.

It’s also great stuff to listen to in the background whilst doing work.

EXAMPLES:

Inside the Actor’s Studio:
The show focuses on celebrities who are very well known, and you often get a very introspective view into the celebrity and the work and hardships they endured to get where they are.

Obviously it’s preferable listening to the celebs who had a similar upbringing to yours, but some of the others are good. Even if you weren’t brought up in a poor, broken home it’s nice to hear what it’s like for others.

I personally just watched the Conan O’Brien interview and thought it was great.
Conan Obrien Interview

Richard Feynman
On one of my library visits I randomly read “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” which I strongly recommend. I loved reading this book, and was introduced to the great physicist Richard Feynman with his very-not-so-scientist-like-antics and brilliant mind.

I think the reason he got so popular was his great layman explanations that help people understand complicated physics, he definitely communicates ideas MUCH better than most intellectual types…..and that small thing he did in the 40’s to basically help build the first nuclear bomb.
Richard Feynman Part 1
Richard Feynman: Take the Word From Another Point of View Part 1

Berkley Physics
I find it fascinating that my dad migrated to the United States from India to get his masters from Berkley….and now I can get all of those same classes online, for free!

Berkley posts many classes online, for free, for anyone to view. No enrollment fee, regardless of age….almost anyone in the world has access to higher education. You’re not going to get a helpful TA to push you along with school work, but any self-motivated person out there can participate in a top-tier college course.

I’m personally taking this Berkley Physics course right now. Getting some of the best professors and special guests in the world on any subject you like? Way better than watching 6 hours of TV.

Archive of American Television:
Sort of like Inside the Actors Studio except more in depth and un-edited. Each interview is somewhere around 4-6 hours, so you get details you normally won’t hear on edited interviews.

The AAT has posted hundreds of their interviews, many names which you will recognize. The other cool thing about these interviews is they generally only interview older people who’ve gone through a lifetime of experiences. I like that.

It’s great listening to these in the background while doing work that doesn’t require intense thought.

I very much enjoyed and learned from the Ted Turner Interview and George Carlin Interview.

Warren Buffet:
Obviously one of the richest men in the world will have some good insights, and his are remarkably simple. There’s tons of Warren Buffet stuff on YouTube but my favorite is this Warren Buffet Speech given to a class of MBA’s.

TIPS:
If you’re interested in learning about a person, simply YouTube search some simply phrases such as:

  • (Their name) speech
  • (Their name) documentary
  • (Their name) interview

Another thing is to realize right away that YouTube user comments are probably some of the most idioc things ever.

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So while YouTube can be one of the greatest time-wasters of all time, it can also be massively helpful and educational.

I’m a firm believer that most education is learned in your spare time….so why not better yourself with YouTube instead of just wasting time on it?

Ok, fine….a double motorcycle backflip from time-to-time is OK too :-)

The Opposite

Favorite sitcom = Seinfeld.

One of my favorite episodes was “The Opposite” where the character George Costanza does everything the opposite of his instincts.

“It all became very clear sitting out there today, that every decision that I’ve ever made in my entire life – has been wrong. My life is the complete opposite of everything I wanted to be. Every instinct I have in every aspect of life…be it: something to wear, something to eat…it’s all been wrong.”

George then has a situation come up (an attractive woman looks in his direction) that he usually does nothing about, and Jerry eggs him on:

“Here’s your chance to try the opposite. If every instinct you have is wrong; then the opposite would have to be right.”

He goes and talks to the woman in a very “opposite” way and gets the girl. Then more situations arise where he does the opposite. If anything it’s at least hilarious.

Later on in the episode everything is going GREAT for George! His life turns around as he gets the dream girl and the dream job and says, “This has been the dream of my life ever since I was a child, and it’s all happening because I’m completely ignoring every urge towards common sense and good judgment I’ve ever had!

See YouTube video here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKUvKE3bQlY

I remember originally seeing this episode and thinking, “What a great idea!” Recently I’ve tried slowly applying “The Opposite” mantra in any area where I don’t think I’ve been performing well:

–If a small issue comes up (in a customer order or website issue) instead of following habit and putting it on tomorrow’s to-do list I’ll do the opposite and fix it right then and there.

–When I come home late and still have something left on the to-do list, I usually postpone it till the next day. Instead I’ll do “the opposite” and finish it right there on the spot.

–Every once in a while I’ll get a difficult customer who wants something unreasonable. Instead of getting annoyed and acting snide with them I’ll do the opposite and try my humanly best to make them happy.

–If I’m on a long bike ride and hit a point I know I’ll be too tired to bike back home, instead of turning back I’ll do the opposite and keep going.

The examples go on…..I’m sure you can imagine a few for your own life.

Suggesting a life changing tip from a Seinfeld episode almost sounds ridiculous…but not really. Essentially I’ve equated “The Opposite” with motivation to do something NOW instead of waiting or hesitating. It mainly helps you push limits and break habits that were formed for no real reason. When I tell myself “Oh stop being lazy and just do it” the message sometimes isn’t that convincing.

However telling myself, “Do the opposite…this particular thing hasn’t worked out well in the past, why would it work now?”
….that works pretty well.

Here’s some of the character insights behind the episode:

So if you’re doing something you know hasn’t worked out for you in the past, try the opposite!