Sunday, May 13, 2018

TED Talk: Adam Grant - The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers

A long time ago I downloaded the TED Talks app on my tablet but in all the years it's been on there, I've not actually used it. The other day I opened it up, which caused it to start giving me some suggestions. I've watched a few of them in the past few days and here's one I feel is worth sharing.

It's all about what Adam Grant terms Originals - that is creative thinkers. He tells a story of how he missed an investment opportunity that would have paid off immensely for him because he didn't recognize that the ones who offered it to him were going to be successful.

A big part of the talk is how (moderate) procrastination can lead on to more creative responses. he says (and it's backed by his research) that if you put of completing a task it gives you more time to think and more time to come up with more ingenious solutions or responses. I found this to be very empowering as I do tend to be a person who procrastinates (and in fact, this blog post is a semi-procrastination from working on one of my Coding Across the Curriculum videos), but I also tend to come up with creative solutions. It's nice to see the connection between the two. It's also nice to be able to support those children who (again, moderately) procrastinate with their work - to give them time to think and mull over ideas. 

A second idea that he discusses is the idea that original people are full of doubt and fears. What is different however, is that the doubt is not self-doubt, but idea-doubt. That is, that original and creative people doubt that ideas will work, but don't give up on solving any problems. Many people doubt themselves so much that they don't even put ideas forward. This is not what originals do. He discussed the fact that you can (almost) predict the creativity of a person based on the internet browser they use (I'll let you watch the video to find out more on that though). The argument with that is not that your browser makes you creative, but the way you choose which browser you'll use reveals a lot about your mindset (so just changing browsers does nothing, I'm sorry to say to you Internet Explorer and Safari users - whoops, I just ruined the surprise).

The final point that he makes is that creative and original people produce a lot - and that a lot of it isn't their greatest. Most people who have done great and amazing things have got their because they tried many, many things. It is through those attempts that eventually they have discovered new and original ways of doing things. This ties into the whole idea that failure and mistakes help you grow (also doing an online course where this is being stressed - more on that when it's done).

Here's the talk below. It's definitely worth 15 minutes of your time. If you are one of the people he is describing then this can be very empowering. If you are not, then it can give you some insight into how you can be like that AND how you can recognize those people who are. 


  1. Wow who would've thought a little procrastination would be good for the imagination lol I totally agree with that. We call it marinating where I work... here are our ideas.. let's let them marinate for a while and when we come back to them we always seem to enhance them!! Awesome vid.

  2. Marinating... now that's a cool metaphorical word to use. Do we marinate our ideas in an attempt to tenderise them so that they are not so hard and chewy to deal with? :)