Month: July 2009

World’s Fastest Everything

I love this video, because it shows a hidden link between these varied (and occasionally goofy) abilities. When we see somebody who’s superhumanly fast at something, we intuitively chalk it up to “natural speed” — the implication being that a regular person’s reflexes could never operate that fast.

But here –especially in slow-mo — we can better appreciate the real reason they’re so fast: efficiency. There are no wasted movements. They anticipate–each movement sets up the next. The cup-stacker, the stamper, the gun-reloader, even the pizza-maker share a stripped-down, restrained, targeted quality to their movements that is the true heart of speed — because they have systematically built skill circuits that are tight, restrained, and hugely efficient. (Well, except for that guy who removes his clothes in two seconds.  That is natural talent.)

Teach Naked?

Not that way. This way: Jose Bowen, a dean at Southern Methodist University, is on the leading edge of a promising movement to remove the nemesis of PowerPoint from college classrooms.  Students and teachers squawk a bit, but Bowen’s move makes absolutely perfect sense from a deep-practice POV. After all, when do you learn more, when you’re passively watching a slide or when you’re actively engaged in discussion, firing your circuitry?

Practicing Happiness

Can happiness be created through the right kind of practice? Sounds surprising, but check out this article and judge for yourself. Author Daniel Goleman spends time with “The World’s Happiest Man” — a Tibetan lama named Mingyur Rinpoche — and finds a pattern behind his happiness that might seem familiar. Basically, Rinpoche deep practiced his happiness, through meditation, for thousands of hours. And while his happiness seems natural now, it certainly didn’t start out that way. As Goleman writes:

One happy guy
One happy guy

Mingyur Rinpoche was not born into wealth and comfort. He spent his earliest years in a remote Himalayan village lacking even the most basic amenities. Nor was he a lucky winner in the genetic lottery for moods. In his book he recounts being extremely anxious as a child in Nepal, having had what a Manhattan psychiatrist would likely diagnose as panic attacks, and how he cured himself of this chronic anxiety by making his fears the focus of his meditation. He has had to earn his good cheer.

Sound familiar?