About mid January most of my team at work took a 2 day course on the principles from Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The 7th habit, Sharpening the Saw, refers to the process of scheduling time for personal growth, relaxation, health and exploration. He breaks the areas we need to focus on into 4 groups, Physical, Social/Emotional, Mental and Spiritual.
When we got to the 7th Habit, we broke the room into 4 groups and each group had to come up with ideas on how or where we could find ways to continue to progress in our area. My group, of course, had Mental as our topic. This is the list of ideas we came up with. After class, I wrote them up and emailed them to the entire group so that the others could follow up on them if they wanted to.
TED: Ideas Worth Spreading – http://www.ted.com/
These talks were all recorded from TED conferences from around the world. The topics cover all areas of human life, from Technology and Science to Entertainment, Art and Design to Business and Global Issues. These talks are given by people you know and have great reputations in their fields. Politicians, authors, scientists, CEOs, and the like. Most of these talks are NOT industry or vocational in nature; they generally take high-level thinking from their field and apply its impact to the world scene and our every day lives. I don’t believe I’ve heard a ‘bad’ TED talk yet (or maybe the bad ones never make it to their website :). Many of these videos are posted on their site. There are also several iPhone apps that will allow you to stream content directly to your iPhone.
Big Ideas Video – http://www.tvo.org/TVOsites/WebObjects/TvoMicrosite.woa?bigideas
Big Ideas Video Feed – http://feeds.tvo.org/tvobigideasVideo
Like TED, this video series features a number of talks on various topics from many different speakers, each a recognized leader in their field, and making application to current or future trends.
Seth Godin’s Blog – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/
Seth (who is also a TED speaker) is the author of a number of bestselling books about critical thinking. Because he tends to apply these thoughts to marketing and business, this is where you will generally find them in the book store, but in reality, the principles in many of his books can be applied to everyone’s every day lives. His blog offers a daily thought of the kind that keeps you thinking far outside of the box. Jim and I highly recommend it.
If you’re like me and enjoy (and are able) to listen to audio while you work or exercise, I recommend trying audio podcasts. There are video podcasts as well, but unless they are really good, like the TED talks, I generally don’t have time for watching.
There are podcasts that cover just about every topic. Some are amateur (like mine), some are VERY amateur (ouch), and some of professional (even Disney & ESPN release both recycled and original content in podcast format). Podcasts can be downloaded to your MP3 player of choice or listened to directly from your computer. To see what is out there, I recommend using the iTunes application which has an extensive directory as well as offers ease of use.
If you just want to start with fan-voted best of the best, check out the winners from this year at: