Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Learning Speeds and Styles: Is Your Mind a Hiker or a Race Car Driver?

What's the best way to learn something new? Embrace your inner imposter, and don't worry about speed—here's why.

Barbara Oakley: When you’re learning something new your tendency is to think, “I’m an imposter. I’m just kind of a fake. I’m not nearly as good as all these other people who are very far ahead of me in working on whatever you're trying to get started working on.”

And this is one of the best, best traits you could have. Embrace your inner imposter. Because what the imposter syndrome does, that feeling that you’re a fake and you’re not as good as everyone else is, it allows you to open your beginner’s mind, so you start looking at things with a more open and receptive way.

Because well, part of it is you’re really unsure of yourself and so you’re really paying attention and really listening. People who approach a new discipline with, you know, “I’m just really confident, I can do this” which is often the message we hear from society—“You should be confident about yourself and your skills,” and so forth.

It can close you off to sort of correcting your mistakes and being humble and approaching things almost from a lower perspective or a lower start than you might think you have to start at, just because if you start really low, really humble you really get the background that you need in order to excel and achieve at whatever you want to excel and achieve at.

When it comes to learning something it almost seems like there’s two types of learners. One of them is what I might term a race car learner. They’ve got these race car brains. They get there really fast.

And the other is more like a hiker. A hiker gets to the finish line but much, much more slowly. Think about it this way: You know it’s depressing if you’re a slow thinker to look at these fast thinkers, race car brains and realize they can get anywhere much more quickly than you.

But think about what a hiker experiences as opposed to the race car driver. The race car driver moves really fast, gets to the finish line. Everything’s a blur.

The hiker can reach out, they can touch the leaves on the trees. They can see the little rabbit trails. The can smell the air, hear the birds. Completely different experience, and in some ways far richer and deeper.

So it can help you sometimes if you’re a slow thinker and you think “Oh, there’s nothing in it for me. I’m not as fast as these other people.” You can sometimes see things that those really, really fast thinkers miss just because you’re looking more deeply.

 

There are two things we typically consider to be points against us in life: feeling out of our league, and being slow learners. Here, however, Professor Barbara Oakley turns convention on its head to show how they're really assets to your education. If you're about to start a new skill or job and feel the onset of imposter syndrome—are you the least qualified person in the room? Did you 'fake' your way into this opportunity?—embrace it; Oakley contests that seeing the world with a beginner's mind actually opens you up to learning. Overconfidence can make us blind to our mistakes, so humility is a tool in itself. And as for being a slow learner, Oakley uses the analogy of a race car driver and a hiker to describe two distinct learning styles. Both these types reach the finish line or the mountain peak, but one takes the time to look more closely at details and learn a lesson more deeply, while all the other might see is a blur. Barbara Oakley's most recent book is Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential, and you can find the Mindshift course here.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
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Creativity: The science behind the madness

Human brains evolved for creativity. We just have to learn how to access it.

Videos
  • An all-star cast of Big Thinkers—actors Rainn Wilson and Ethan Hawke; composer Anthony Brandt; neuroscientists David Eagleman, Wendy Suzuki, and Beau Lotto; and psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—share how they define creativity and explain how our brains uniquely evolved for the phenomenon.
  • According to Eagleman, during evolution there was an increase in space between our brain's input and output that allows information more time to percolate. We also grew a larger prefrontal cortex which "allows us to simulate what ifs, to separate ourselves from our location in space and time and think about possibilities."
  • Scott Barry Kaufman details 3 brain networks involved in creative thinking, and Wendy Suzuki busts the famous left-brain, right-brain myth.

Dinosaur bone? Meteorite? These men's wedding bands are a real break from boredom.

Manly Bands wanted to improve on mens' wedding bands. Mission accomplished.

Sex & Relationships
  • Manly Bands was founded in 2016 to provide better options and customer service in men's wedding bands.
  • Unique materials include antler, dinosaur bones, meteorite, tungsten, and whiskey barrels.
  • The company donates a portion of profits to charity every month.
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What if Middle-earth was in Pakistan?

Iranian Tolkien scholar finds intriguing parallels between subcontinental geography and famous map of Middle-earth.

Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission
Strange Maps
  • J.R.R. Tolkien hinted that his stories are set in a really ancient version of Europe.
  • But a fantasy realm can be inspired by a variety of places; and perhaps so is Tolkien's world.
  • These intriguing similarities with Asian topography show that it may be time to 'decolonise' Middle-earth.
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How #Unity2020 plans to end the two-party system, bring back Andrew Yang

The proposal calls for the American public to draft two candidates to lead the executive branch: one from the center-left, the other from the center-right.

Photo by David Becker/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The #Unity2020 plan was recently outlined by Bret Weinstein, a former biology professor, on the Joe Rogan Experience.
  • Weinstein suggested an independent ticket for the 2020 presidential election: Andrew Yang and former U.S. Navy Admiral William McRaven.
  • Although details of the proposal are sparse, surveys suggest that many Americans are cynical and frustrated with the two-party system.
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