2 minute read

For the past several months, I’ve picked up the habit of watching TED talks. However, I found that, even if it’s an impressive speech with resonating ideas, it won’t take long before it vanishes from my memory. This fretted me, so I decided to start briefly jotting down my main takeaways in this rolling log.

Some of my friends from China saw a bunch of blanks here. This is because YouTube videos can’t pass the firewall 🧱.

10 ways to have a better conversation

  • If you want to pontificate, go write a blog.
  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • “No man ever listened his way out of a job” — Calvin Coolidge
  • Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand. We listen with the intent to reply.
  • Listen, and be prepared to be amazed.
  • If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.
  • Don’t equate your experience with others.


This Ted talk conveys very similar messages as that of the below one. Their main ideas are covered in many other talks as well.

To reach beyond your limits by training your mind

  • Self-control is the problem where we have all these desires from ourselves for the long-term, but then in the short-term, we do rather different things (that prevent ourselves from achieving long-term those goals).
  • Our will power is weak, and therefore, it’s not something upon which we should rely during decision-making.
  • If we are faced with temptation whilst having no tool at hand to overcome it, we’re almost certainly going to fail.
  • We should collaborate with our brains with constructive messages.
    • Change the pictures and the words. Using very detailed words.
    • Tell your mind exactly what you want.
  • We ought to create tools that will control our future selves to do what our current selves want them to do.
    • It’s a situation where we know we will be tempted, and we do something to make ourselves not be able to be tempted.
  • Make the familiar unfamiliar and the unfamiliar familiar.
  • Reward-substitution: connecting pain to pleasure
    • Link massive pleasure to going there and pain to not going there.
    • Do the right thing for the wrong reason.
  • Make Self Belief so normal to you that everyone believes in you too.

The last point ties in with another Ted talk, which will be introduced later.

Body language, the power is in the palm of your hands

  • The palm up position is friendly and inviting, whilst the palm down position exerts power and control over others.
    • Finger pointing is the worst; it is directive and rude.

Imposters: The psychology of pretending to be someone you’re not

  • Some imposters are escapologists — they’re running away from a flawed past and trying to rehabilitate their image.
  • We spend a hell of a lot of time trying to impress other people.
  • Ultimately, life is a performance with all the sense of drama, anarchy, and possibility.
  • Who ever controls the past controls the future; who ever controls the present controls the past. — Orwell

How to draw to remember more

  • Thinking in pictures and then drawing them down is a great way to learn and memorize new things.
  • There are a myriad of ways to represent an abstract concept using drawings.
  • The quality of the drawing does not matter at all. In other words, good and bad pictures have rather similar, if not the same, effect on the learning process.
  • It is the process of doing the drawing that actually makes a difference.

To be continued 👨‍💻 …

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