One of the hardest tasks nowadays is carefully selecting which inputs we should accept.
The TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) platform is the happy secret place I go to when I want to learn something new or get inspired.
Since 1984 they summon ideas, speeches, lessons from great thinkers, professionals, teachers, or common people with uncommon stories, everything available in more than 100 languages!
I collected 5 TED talks as a must-see for musicians to enrich your creativity and sensibility, and to boost your productivity.
Forget about your mobile for a while and give yourself some quality time!
I. The transformative power of classical music
This is certainly one of my favorites. Benjamin Zander (if you don’t know him, go check him out!) explains with irony, tons of knowledge and experience, why we got away from listening to classical music.
He analyzes the wonderful Prelude in E minor by Chopin, translating the technical aspects into elements that take the listener into the composer’s world.
I strongly recommend you watch this. It really changed my approach to classical music. Often our “I don’t like it”, is just a simplification of “I don’t recognize what I hear, I’m not used to it”. Once you get to know what you should be listening to, your approach might change. Or not!
«Now, we’re all about to end this magical, on-the-mountain week, we’re going back into the world. And I say, it’s appropriate for us to ask the question, who are we being as we go back out into the world? And you know, I have a definition of success. For me, it’s very simple. It’s not about wealth and fame and power. It’s about how many shining eyes I have around me.»
II. How I started writing songs again
What happens when the writer’s block hits one of the biggest artists of our time?
In this Ted Talk Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, a.k.a. Sting, shares what happened to him when he couldn’t write new music anymore. I admired Sting already for his ability to reinvent himself as a man and as an artist. After this talk, I admire him even more.
I was infected. I was infected with an idea. I don’t belong in this street. I don’t want to live in that house. I don’t want to end up in that shipyard. I want to be in that car. I want a bigger life. I want a life beyond this town. I want a life that’s out of the ordinary. It’s my right.
III. The difference between winning and succeding
How much do you struggle to get what you really want? What is that you’re searching for? Are you really giving everything you have to reach that?
With this classic, John Wooden – basketball coach with an undefeated victory record with the team of the University of California – talks about the difference between winning and succeeding. Too often we’re just focused on the wrong goal, delighted from the outcome, and not caring about what we actually do to get it. A must if you are struggling with motivation and need a fresh start.
And I say to you, in whatever you’re doing, you must be patient. You have to have patience to — we want things to happen. We talk about our youth being impatient a lot, and they are. They want to change everything. They think all change is progress. And we get a little older — we sort of let things go. And we forget there is no progress without change. So you must have patience, and I believe that we must have faith. I believe that we must believe, truly believe. Not just give it word service, believe that things will work out as they should, providing we do what we should.
IV. Do schools kill creativity?
There are three parameters I use to determine how much I like someone: the knowledge someone has, the ability to share it, and the use he or she makes of (self) irony.
Well, Sir Ken Robinson hits the jackpot with no doubts. He was an author, educator, speaker, and international advisor on education in the arts. In 2003 he was made Knight Bachelor for his service. He passed away on the 21st of August 2020.
In this talk (70 million views!) Sir Robinson explains the importance of creativity in the growth of children and analyzes the use of it in the modern school system.
A must if you work in Education, but also if you are looking for another approach to learning.
“We think Gillian has a learning disorder.” She couldn’t concentrate; she was fidgeting. I think now they’d say she had ADHD. Wouldn’t you? But this was the 1930s, and ADHD hadn’t been invented at this point. It wasn’t an available condition. […]
But as they went out of the room, he turned on the radio that was sitting on his desk. And when they got out of the room, he said to her mother, “Just stand and watch her.” And the minute they left the room, she was on her feet, moving to the music. And they watched for a few minutes, and he turned to her mother and said, “Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn’t sick. She’s a dancer. Take her to a dance school.”
V. The surprising habit of original thinkers
Adam Grant is an American psychologist and author.
In this talk, he examines the common traits of the so-called innovators. With a fluid ironic approach, he describes three characteristics of the most original thinkers.
I found it really useful to reframe my approach to creativity and productivity, and I’m sure it can help you as well.
To find out, I’ve been studying people that I come to call “originals.” Originals are nonconformists, people who not only have new ideas but take action to champion them. They are people who stand out and speak up. Originals drive creativity and change in the world. They’re the people you want to bet on. And they look nothing like I expected. I want to show you today three things I’ve learned about recognizing originals and becoming a little bit more like them.
I really love the TED platform, it’s a neverending source of inspiration where you can find anything you need. Every talk has an interactive transcript with up to 100 languages available.
I chose these 5 stories because they give tons of points of view, or shooting angles, that we could have been ignoring so far.
In the end, it’s always been like this: we learn by listening to others. Preferably listening to others who know more than we do.
P.S. If you want to know more about productivity hacks, check out this article!