Adam Grant: The surprising habits of original thinkers | TED Talk Subtitles and Transcript | TED
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Maybe procrastinating does not cause creativity. To find out, we designed some experiments. We asked people to generate new business ideas, and then we get independent readers to evaluate how creative and useful they are.
And some of them are asked to do the task right away. Others we randomly assign to procrastinate by dangling Minesweeper in front of them for either five or 10 minutes.
And sure enough, the moderate procrastinators are 16 percent more creative than the other two groups. Now, Minesweeper is awesome, but it's not the driver of the effect, because if you play the game first before you learn about the task, there's no creativity boost.
It's only when you're told that you're going to be working on this problem, and then you start procrastinating, but the task is still active in the back of your mind, that you start to incubate. Procrastination gives you time to consider divergent ideas, to think in nonlinear ways, to make unexpected leaps.
So just as we were finishing these experiments, I was starting to write a book about originals, and I thought, "This is the perfect time to teach myself to procrastinate, while writing a chapter on procrastination. Laughter And then I worked diligently toward my goal of not making progress toward my goal.
I started writing the procrastination chapter, and one day — I was halfway through — I literally put it away in mid-sentence for months. But when I came back to it, I had all sorts of new ideas. As Aaron Sorkin put it, "You call it procrastinating.
I call it thinking. Take Leonardo da Vinci. He toiled on and off for 16 years on the Mona Lisa. He felt like a failure. He wrote as much in his journal. But some of the diversions he took in optics transformed the way that he modeled light and made him into a much better painter.
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What about Martin Luther King, Jr.? The night before the biggest speech of his life, the March on Washington, he was up past 3am, rewriting it. He's sitting in the audience waiting for his turn to go onstage, and he is still scribbling notes and crossing out lines. When he gets onstage, 11 minutes in, he leaves his prepared remarks to utter four words that changed the course of history: By delaying the task of finalizing the speech until the very last minute, he left himself open to the widest range of possible ideas.
And because the text wasn't set in stone, he had freedom to improvise. Procrastinating is a vice when it comes to productivity, but it can be a virtue for creativity.
What you see with a lot of great originals is that they are quick to start but they're slow to finish. And this is what I missed with Warby Parker. When they were dragging their heels for six months, I looked at them and said, "You know, a lot of other companies are starting to sell glasses online. But what I didn't realize was they were spending all that time trying to figure out how to get people to be comfortable ordering glasses online.
And it turns out the first-mover advantage is mostly a myth. Look at a classic study of over 50 product categories, comparing the first movers who created the market with the improvers who introduced something different and better. What you see is that the first movers had a failure rate of 47 percent, compared with only 8 percent for the improvers.
Look at Facebook, waiting to build a social network until after Myspace and Friendster. Look at Google, waiting for years after Altavista and Yahoo. It's much easier to improve on somebody else's idea than it is to create something new from scratch. So the lesson I learned is that to be original you don't have to be first. You just have to be different and better. But that wasn't the only reason I passed on Warby Parker. They were also full of doubts. They had backup plans lined up, and that made me doubt that they had the courage to be original, because I expected that originals would look something like this.
Laughter Now, on the surface, a lot of original people look confident, but behind the scenes, they feel the same fear and doubt that the rest of us do. They just manage it differently.
Let me show you: Laughter Now, in my research, I discovered there are two different kinds of doubt. There's self-doubt and idea doubt. It leads you to freeze. But idea doubt is energizing. It motivates you to test, to experiment, to refine, just like MLK did. And so the key to being original is just a simple thing of avoiding the leap from step three to step four. Instead of saying, "I'm crap," you say, "The first few drafts are always crap, and I'm just not there yet.
Well, there's a clue, it turns out, in the Internet browser that you use. We can predict your job performance and your commitment just by knowing what web browser you use.
Now, some of you are not going to like the results of this study — Laughter But there is good evidence that Firefox and Chrome users significantly outperform Internet Explorer and Safari users. Applause They also stay in their jobs 15 percent longer, by the way. It's not a technical advantage.
The four browser groups on average have similar typing speed and they also have similar levels of computer knowledge. It's about how you got the browser. Because if you use Internet Explorer or Safari, those came preinstalled on your computer, and you accepted the default option that was handed to you. If you wanted Firefox or Chrome, you had to doubt the default and ask, is there a different option out there, and then be a little resourceful and download a new browser.
So people hear about this study and they're like, "Great, if I want to get better at my job, I just need to upgrade my browser? There's a name for it. It's called vuja de. Laughter Vuja de is when you look at something you've seen many times before and all of a sudden see it with fresh eyes.
It's a screenwriter who looks at a movie script that can't get the green light for more than half a century. In every past version, the main character has been an evil queen. But Jennifer Lee starts to question whether that makes sense. She rewrites the first act, reinvents the villain as a tortured hero and Frozen becomes the most successful animated movie ever.
So there's a simple message from this story. When you feel doubt, don't let it go. Laughter What about fear? Originals feel fear, too. Season four begins with Pam and Jim dating. We are a free online gothic dating site offering a completely free gothic dating service for goth and emo singles seeking goths friendship and dating a man afraid of commitment in your dating a man afraid of commitment.
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