This Is How You Know You're A Writer. But Also? An Introvert.

It takes a certain ability to shut off the outside world if you want to write more than a few sentences. John Irving sums it up in just over 1 minute.

As a writer myself, I can attest to what John Irving is saying here.

I see people with headphones on trying to isolate themselves from the world going on around them, and honestly? That doesn't work for me because there's the visual component of other human beings around you.

I have to be alone in order to write. It would seem that most writers agree

It's a trait owned by introverts as well;  for introverts, being around people becomes taxing, and it drains us of energy. The scientific explanation for this revolves around dopamine, the neurotransmitter that helps to control the pleasure and reward centers of your brain.

Extroverts need more dopamine to feel it, and it keeps them going in those situations — energizes them, even. Introverts are overwhelmed by dopamine, and overstimulated by it, needing solitude to make it dissipate. 

Here's how John Irving (The World According To Garp, The Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meaney) knew — at an early age — that he needed time alone.

More John Irving videos live here.

Thumbnail image Creative Commons licensed via Flickr.

​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.

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
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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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