The act of creating is fun, until it's not. We design, strategize, and produce all day long. We brainstorm, sketch perhaps, and create in InDesign and Illustrator. This is exciting, and it's also a steady stream of creative output with no creative input. That's a recipe for depletion of resources such as energy, professionalism and humor. And when everyone is doing 2+ jobs per person and the work keeps increasing with ever-tighter deadlines, we end up in The Cubicle Coma. You know that grey rug wall of sameness and exhaustion? The well hath runneth dry.
So how can we consistently recharge and refresh? I believe the answer is TED.com. No, I do not get a kickback for this; I'm just passionate on energy replenishment and have found TED talks to be the fastest, most reliable tool in my arsenal.
TED is a site devoted to sharing "Ideas Worth Spreading" in the form of speakers and performers. There are thousands of TED talks, and the conferences are taking place in every corner of the world at an increasing frequency. The topics range from something you've never heard of to something you thought you knew everything about.
Watching a TED talk is like lifting off to a far away land without leaving your cubicle. It's a guaranteed Out-Of-Cube Experience and it will recharge you quickly and consistently. I'm a huge fan because...
- It's free! Yes, all bazillion of the talks are available to be viewed online whenever you want.
- The average talk is just 18 minutes.
- Curated for intriguing content and powerful speakers. The speakers are vetted and selected according to a guideline that I cannot explain, and for which I am grateful.
- There is no taboo subject. Search for anything that interests you, and you're sure to find a talk on it.
- There is no age/gender/ethnic/flavor limitation for speakers.
- There is no format restriction other than being on stage.
- The uses are as endless as creativity itself. I watch a talk when I'm deep in creativity and need to step away and can't afford to go to Tahiti; ten minutes later I'm refreshed and ready to dive back in. Consider using TED talks as a way to bring your team together with a monthly lunch where you watch and discuss. Or allocate 20 minutes a day to TED time--separate and in addition to lunch. Recharged people perform at higher levels than those in the sagging Cubicle Coma.
Below are some of my favorites. I like these because they're intelligent, creative and inspiring. These are safe to watch at work (with ear buds so as not to bother your neighbors). I've chosen a range of talks; from unknown spoken word performers to famous creatives to I don't know how to explain it. Sit back, and go on a vacation where you're served a delicious margarita made with creative juice.
Which TED talks rocked your world, from the list above and your own selection, and how did you use them to add spice to your day, your team, and your work? Please comment below.