"If you’re not making mistakes, it means you’ve given up," says Nick Offerman at Big Think Edge

Advice for tackling any discipline from the real-life Ron Swanson.

  • Nick Offerman teaches a video lesson for Big Think Edge called "Pursue Betterment, Not Perfection".
  • Hear the actor, writer and woodworker's best advice for work, success and happiness in under 5 minutes.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.

How does actor, writer and woodworker Nick Offerman land roles, build boats, and write books, all while having one of the most enviable marriages in Hollywood? His method isn't easy, but it is effective and it lasts: Maintain a student mentality, for your whole life.

In his video lesson for Big Think Edge, "Pursue Betterment, Not Perfection," he explains how to make good on any pursuit you're investing your time and energy into, whether it's your career, a hobby, or your relationship.

Subscribe to Big Think Edge and you'll learn first-hand from Offerman how to start the project that scares you most, or succeed in that goal you've put on the back-burner – you know the one.

Get advice for tackling any discipline from the real-life Ron Swanson

Humans, possibly uniquely among animals, have the capacity for lifelong growth and learning. Using that capacity, more than anything else, gives us pleasure and satisfaction.

Offerman teaches Big Thinkers how to conceive of pursuits as practices – it's the right way of recognizing and working with—rather than against—the way we humans naturally learn. Offerman puts betterment far above perfection, citing his mistakes as the most valuable lessons in his life.

[I]f you're not making mistakes, it means you've given up and you're becoming one of those fat baby people floating around on the chairs in the movie WALL-E eating everything as some kind of weird milkshake.
– Nick Offerman

Don't be a fat baby person. Subscribe to Big Think Edge now to build more confidence and better relationships, and to reach new creative heights.

Do it before we launch on March 30, and you'll get 20% off monthly and annual subscriptions.

Boost your professional intelligence

Nick Offerman's "Pursue Betterment, Not Perfection" is part of the 9-part Boost Your Professional Intelligence learning path on Big Think Edge.

Whatever you trained for, they probably left out the most important piece—how to navigate your career. A complex, multitasking job in itself, your professional life depends upon self-knowledge, habit-building, strategic thinking, and the ability to collaborate with a wide range of personalities. It's the invisible double-major of adult learning. In the Boost Your Professional Intelligence learning path, you'll learn from some of the world's most successful thinkers how to use data to track and boost your own performance, how to treat your career as an ongoing work-in-progress, and how to eradicate bad habits and master winning ones.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)

In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.

Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

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