Saturday, May 16, 2015

120 Life Lessons I Learned Watching 200 INK Talks

Inspired by Chris Bailey's 100 Incredible Things I learned watching 70 hours of TED Talks, I decided to conduct a learning experiment this past week.

INK Talks Website

What is the INK Conference?
Poem- Student to Teacher
The INK Conference (Innovation and Knowledge Conference) is an annual event in India, where speakers from different fields are invited to share ideas, stories and perspectives. It is curated by Lakshmi Pratury. The talks are recorded and made available to the world on the INK Conference You Tube Channel and Website. As of May 16th, 2015, there were 282 videos available on the INK Channel.

What was the Learning Experiment about?
This past week, I saw 40 hours of INK Talks. Building on my notes from 3 days and 70 live talks at the INK Live 2014 event in Mumbai, I viewed and reviewed 200 INK Talks over the past seven days. Here is a list of 120 Life Lessons I learned, watching 200 incredible INK Talks.

Why did I write this post?
This blog is about ideas and stories related to the concept of Life as School. I am curious to understand why is Learning Beautiful? and how people make Learning Beautiful in their contexts? I truly believe every individual has something to teach you. Thus this blogpost is a collection of life lessons, that I picked up, while listening to the speakers at INK. I really hope they are useful to you too, and encourage you to further explore the INK Talks archives here 

Here we go...

1) Find new uses for everyday things. Find local heroes and thinkers and create with global expertise and technology.  Musician/Filmaker + Deep Sea Diver

2) Atoms may be only 4.6% of the universe. There is this thing called dark energy and dark matter that comprises the remaining 95% that we still do not know too much about. There is so much we do not know about the universe. Keep Exploring! Quantum Physicist

Ah. So What is this Lifeschooling and all?
3) If enough funds were put into research and development, than the computer revolution may have started in the 18th Century. A well developed research and development environment is as important as a well developed Venture Capitalist environment.  Artificial Intelligence Professor

4) Collaboration of multiple minds, is much more powerful than one sole genius working away on a task. You cannot do everything yourself. Find brilliant people. Work on bigger brilliant problems together. Create more brilliant people. India's entry for the Google Lunar X prize

5) How can we make sure entrepreneurial wealth is better distributed and better re-invested? India is not an easy place to do business. Next decade is about acceleration and technology. Work together to create an environment conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship. Venture Capitalist

6) Make Design more accessible to normal people. Jewelry Designer

7)  Not too many beggars in villages, they mostly in cities. In villages they work and find ways to create income. In Delhi many beggars die of cold in the winters, because of lack of proper clothing. Help people create their own enterprises to solve social problems. Clothing Social Enterpreneur 

8) Peers and Close Network can help you to get your business off the ground with little amounts of finance and feedback.  Young Investor

9) By understanding and studying the various subject areas of study (history, technology, physics, art) you can collect various different perspectives on life. There are business ideas, artistic projects and problems waiting to be solved in there  Cartoonist, Artist

10) Set clear, specific goals. Then stay focused and do everything in the world to bring it to life. Mountain Climber

11) Every person around you can become a teacher. Why learn from a handful when you can learn from 7 billion? Chief Learning Officer, Wipro

12) You are the CEO of your own body, not the doctor. Exercising and understanding your body's needs can help. Technology with genetics, wearable trackers and more can help track your health better. Future of health technology is already here. Your health matters.  Medicine and Neuroscience Chair, Singularity University

How Students Learn?
13)  We can combine entrepreneurship and brand identity to solve social problems.  Doctor

14) Create products that add more value to existing products. Create products that make existing products more useful. Create products that add more utility to existing products. - Health and Technology Entrepreneur

15) Many people suffer from mental health disorders but do not reveal it. This can happen to anyone and we must be more understanding. Support a person that is mentally disturbed, do not discriminate. If you feel you have symptoms, ask for help, there is nothing to be ashamed of.  Mental Health Advocate

16) Engage and entertain with your passion Magician

17) 50+ contaminants put into some of my food. Do I also eat with a mask on? Horticulturist

18) TV can be used for purposes other than entertainment. It can engage the masses for intelligent discussion and debate  Satyameva Jayate Talkshow Producer

19) Empowerment needs no language.  Musician, Teacher 

20) What if the universe was made up of stories and not atoms? Visual Artist

21) Can we globalize art the way we globalize the world. What kind of music can we create by mixing indian classical and western classical music?  Music Conductor

22) Set up big big big goals, engage a community of people and share your goals with them. Then do everything in your power to complete them. Gaming, Fitness Entrepreneur

23) There are several layers of perspective and each layer seeks to be discovered.  Curator

24) Find new uses for everyday things. Mix disciplines and create new useful products. Explore the unexplored, there is an opportunity everywhere.  Sculptor

25) There is so much more we can do with computers. When computer interfaces become more human friendly, more people will want to engage with it. Computer User Interface Designer

26) When you put sensors on everyday things and collect data from it, you can change the way those things are perceived and used. The Internet of Things can change the way we represent things. Wired Magazine, Editor

Assessment from a Student Perspective

27) If if you have a lot of experience and expertise in one field, find ways to a)Cr eate new patterns of thought b)Create new kinds of products and services for your market. Beverage Entrepreneur

28) Solve a very basic need in a very niche market and you may just be worth 800 million indian rupees.  Entrepreneur, Founder Red

29) Anti Self Help is great advice too  Stand Up Comedian

30)  Where you come from is not important, what you do with where you come from, is very important. Security Services Entrepreneur

31) Education is going through a transformation. Change always happens when you take a completely a new direction, not when you fix the old one. All the jobs we are studying for may not be there in the future. Time is ripe to Start a Learning Revolution  Google India, Head

32) What if you got 50,000$ to educate yourself the way you want to educate yourself? Entrepreneur, Founder Minerva Schools

33) Making is learning too. When you make, you are adding value and learning at the same time. Electronics Teacher

34) Formal system of education is broken. It is not going to be fixed. The old education system was designed to create a Ford not a Tesla. Soon small chips will have all of human thinking in them. We need to be prepared. Google Education Head

35) There are patterns all around us waiting to be discovered. Even poetry and classical music can have similar patterns that can be pointed out when played together.  Percussionist

36)What if you combined Technology, Local Talent, Field Expertise and One Big Problem to Solve. MIT Media Lab Professor, Kumbhathon Founder

37) Make your employees feel special. Trust is very important in any work environment   Mobile Technology Entrepreneur, Founder

38) You are never to young to dream a big dream. Polar Explorer

39)  Film makers learn from other film makers. There is so much to learn from the experts of your field. Absorb and take in as much as you can Film Maker

40)  Every story matters. Your voice can amplify the voice of people around you. Journalist, Film- maker

41) Build. Create. Learn Exponentially.  Technology Researcher, Writer

42) What if you could creatively capitalize on the several social media updates that people put up around the world? What if we created a framework to use this data, for social impact? Data Scientist for Twitter

43) Cherish the rights you have. Question laws that wish to take them back. Look at an individuals work and their gender. Develop a personal value structure. Lawyer

44) When you get an assignment. Over Prepare for it. Do all the research you need to do for it. But then when you have to act, let go and act spontaneously. Actress

45) What if you were put in this situation, 'Imagine you are told to live as a person of the opposite sex and nobody will know who you are for the rest of your life'  We need to respect and understand people that have gender identities different from ours. Screenwriter 

46) 'India has heroes, but they are embedded in a more traditional structure. We are a country of individuals who are natural shopkeepers. Entrepreneurship is in our DNA. With the right education and infrastructure, the people of this country can do wonders..'  Chairman, Tata Sons

47) We are in an age of abundance. The world's biggest problems are also the world's biggest solutions. We can use exponential technologies to find solutions to the world's biggest problems.  X Prize Foundation Founder

48) What if you had a mind that was not well? How would an artist observing, your every activity bring you to life? What impact would this have on the artists own life? Poet, Actor

49)  Music has no language and has the power to bring people together Music Composer

50) There is a whole world yet to be explored under the oceans of the world. Only 2% of the bottom of the ocean has been explored in full image. They are ocean animals that even marine biologists cannot recognize deep inside the ocean. When you go for a deep sea dive, you go down 250 feet and then when you go beyond 500 feet, there is a no natural light. I also make films to do these deep sea dives and push forward scientific explorations I am interested in. Film Maker, Deep Sea Explorer

51) Place more faith in small positive action than in empty rhetoric. Children want to make things. There is a gleam in their eyes.  There is hope. Toys can be used to learn s well. The best thing a child can do with a toy is to break it. Toy Maker

52) If you are not failing, you are not learning. You most often remember things you had to spend a long time struggling with. Experiment with everything around you and understand that there is nothing in the world that you cannot learn. Music Entrepreneur

53)  People genuinely care, no matter how bad a situation they are put into. An important lesson to understand is that only when the most isolated are included, will the world become a better place to live in. Educator, Social Activist

54) Innovation before the internet was limited to experts that created specifications that were limited to a few people only. Innovation after the internet became open source, where a small group of people could use open content and create new innovations. The Web had a set of specifications that allowed participation without permission. The cost of creating content and communications became really low. MIT Media Lab Director

55) Technology does not stand alone, it exists in an ecosystem of all technologies called the Technium. Plants want light. What does technology want? General movement towards greater complexity. What if mozart was born before the technology of the piano was invented? We can use technology to expand the possibilities and choices of human beings. Founding Editor, Wired Magazine

56) Can you build schools out of bamboo, where organic food is the norm, and 110 solar panels power the school.  Green Educator

57) Technology needs to enable creativity and creation and not kill it. Students want to dream. What if we created illustrative apps to make students bring together magic, the earth and the stories? Technology Artist

58) Our actions are mostly based on emotions. Photographs tell stories and are missing links to the history of a country.  Photographer

59) Our souls would have no rainbows, if our eyes had no tears. Think about all the things you can do. Do what you can instead of feeling bad about the things you are unable to do. I made more art during the time of my difficulty than in earlier times. Eternal Optimist

Follow your passion or not?
60) If they can't increase your intelligence, let them not reduce it. Youth Activist

61) There are some people, who become tougher, the more adversity they face. Photojournalist

62) Life does not always have to be an either-or situation. You can continue to follow a passion while having a full job, provided you have a deep love for that field of passion. Approach whatever you create with the humility of a witness and the not the arrogance of a creator. - Storyteller

63) Consumers across the world spend 376 billion dollars on stuff for their homes. but only a fraction of that goes to the actual people that make those things.  64) Light and Color have a profound effect on the spaces we design. As human beings, natural light and soothing light has a soothing calming effect on us. Interior Designer

65) Music has an effect on the brain of the musician and can speak when words fail.  Musical Activist, Violinist

66) What if we gave computers the power to analyze both your conscious and unconscious thinking patterns by reading your brain waves? Technology Entrepreneur

67) The reuse of syringes leads to about 1.3 million deaths and 23 million cases of hepatitis are transferred around the world through reused syringes. A nurse in a government hospital uses the same syringe for a lot of patients. Every year in Africa 20 million injections are given with the blood of a previous patient that had HIV. He designed a syringe that cannot be reused and the first syringe of this  was used in 2001. 10 million lives were saved because of the use of this syringe. Healthcare Entrepreneur

68) Innovations can come from anywhere. You just have to understand how to add value, how to add small value. Weaver, Inventor

69) Within a few days of achieving important life goals, why do we go back to the basic base rate of happiness. Happiness needs to come from the small everyday moments in life and not only when we achieve large life goals. Happiness Researcher

70) As an artist your primary intention, is to get people to consume your work. If you are an artist there is no better way to get your work out there, then to give it out for free.  Photographer

71) Paper does not only have to be used to write and print things on. It can also be used to make art -  Paper Engineer

72) We can create characters that change their own destinies and push away a tradition that will strip us away from our dignity. Film Maker

73) Music making engages the spirit of the other. In the act of music making, new identities can be created and negative past identities and conflicts can be reduced. When people make music, they have to listen to each other.  Music Conductor

74) Be so curious about the subject that you are ready to do anything to learn about it. Wellness Author

75) Your disabilities can become your strongest motivating factors in life. Designer, Activist

76) India has one of the largest collections of ancient manuscripts in regional languages around the world. What if you could create a mobile organization that creates tools an resources to preserve ancient heritages and digitalize these manuscripts? Heritage Imagineer

77) If you had everything you wanted in life, where would you go next?  What if you also started developing goals from there? Interface Designer

78) She spoke about a ski accident she had and how she almost lost her vision because of it. Then she also mentioned that a major reason she was able to heal herself was easy access to some of the best surgical and medical facilities in the world. Makes you think about why every individual around the world must be able to access the benefits of modern healthcare . Also makes you think about how vulnerable we are as humans to physical discomforts due to organ malfunctions over time and other health diseases.  Stem Cell Researcher, Organ Transplant Surgeon

79) We wanted to deliver you a newspaper that would tell you personal stories. 10 million personalized stories. We really believed in this vision.  First Female Engineer, Facebook

80) Students can be teachers too.  Student Teacher

81) Organize learning environments around self organizing groups and structures. The observer changes the observed, so don't go near the explorers. Let them explore on their own time and trust them to find solutions.  Education Researcher

82) Art has always been perceived as comprising three main things which are head (conceptual), heart (emotive) and hands (technical). But you can also create art by combining video, sculpture and storytelling.  Visual Poet

83) You do not have to always take the comfortable path. You can take the uncomfortable path and do well too. But whatever path you take, don't think too much before you act. Act fast, take big massive action Media/Merchandise Entrepreneur

84) You don't have to be a certain age to start an enterprise or change the world. Whether it is becoming an inventor or creating a crowd sourced creation platform, or starting an environmental technology company, you have it all in you.  Energy Entrepreneur

85) There is one certainty in life. All of us are going to die one day. The only thing that matters is being happy. Happiness can come from acceptance. To accept who you are and where you are in life. Even if it is not the best of life situations, you learn to make the most of it, if you accept yourself. Young Artist/Dreamer

86) What if everyday problems, for e.g.:- a traffic jams, could become sources of inspiration?  Illustrator
87) When someone you love is suffering. When someone you love is in pain. Would you choose to voluntarily end this person's life with their consent, to end the pain?  Serial Technology Entrepreneur

88) When you live on Rs 32 per day, internet access is not a possibility, even if you have a smartphone. You eat a carbohydrate filled diet, because it is all you can afford. Such a diet can lead to diabetes, arthritis and early retirement.  Health Entrepreneur

89) What matters most in life is time. Treasure it. It is temporary but each second can last for a lifetime. Build spaces of wonder in your life, like the speaker's mother, 'she was the kind of woman that  would go to museums, operas, art gallery openings and there was never a test, to prove what you learned. It was that kind of freedom to observe all the things around you, without ever having to perform. she let her children do the same.' Also sometimes, the digressions you take may be more important than the topic itself  Illlustrator, Artist

90) All purpose is invented. The law of determinism states that the parts determine the whole. How can the whole exhibit any freedom, if it is limited to the parts. The whole is the result of the interaction of the parts. What if these interactions were taken as a matter of choice? What if this choice can be changed, by the metaphors we believe in? What if we create new metaphors through films to change what purpose means to each individual?  Documentary Film Maker

91) The meditating brain rearranges itself. You can allow people to enter creative flow states at choice. Neurotechnologist

92)  Some street vendors can teach you important business lessons. There is a lot to learn from everyone around you. A street vendor can create a socially viable, financially feasible, and environmentally sustainable enterprise. Social Entrepreneur

93) Some of the greatest ideas in your life will come through studying and applying knowledge from two different disciplines. Find new uses for current things and doing the inverse of what others are doing are other sources of ideas too. New Camera Inventor

94) Choosing the challenge you have to solve is a much more important decision than finding the right education and infrastructure to build on it  Cricketer

95) Life has no meaning. Life is just life. create whatever meaning suits you and remove whatever meaning doesn't. Humans are 70% water, 99% unused potential. Entrepreneur

96) We need to stop feeling sorry for the marginalized and start respecting them more. Their life experience makes them stronger human beings. LGBT Rights Activist, Social Worker

97) Surprise is Life. Surprise shocks, catches attention, makes us find information, reflect on experience and share with others. How to create more surprise in your life? Interrupt your patterns, Stretch Wonder and Create Spaces where anything can happen.  Surprise Researcher

Brainstorming a Dream School
98) What is there was no camera? What is imaging was reduced to a few pixels? What kind of pictures could we capture then? What if we could mount these pixels on future mobile digital technologies and carry these super cameras around with us all day? Technology Researcher

99) Poems don't always have to be complex verse. but they can also be simple words that represent thoughts, conversations, emotions, experiences and stories from your own life. Poet

100) View knowledge as a whole. Specialization is important, but also find ways to apply your specialized expertise to one of more different disciplines. Create bridges. You may find solutions and ideas in the most unexpected of places. We need to simplify technicality of specialized discipline, to encourage more cross disciplinary work. Bio - Engineer

101) See yourself as somebody that tries to get stuff done. If you don't feel alive doing your everyday work, you can move on. Find ways to re-skill and build on past experience to create new opportunities for yourself. Chief Business Officer, Google India

102) You can create a film that has no narrative and no dialogues and have a large impact. The only focus of the film is breathtaking visuals. A collection of imagery and visuals that is not intellectual in nature, and lets you merely observes and pass through a phase of no judgement or no opinion. Film Maker

103) The best political campaigning advice there is -'Look at each individual not only as a supporter that will give you one vote, but as an organizer that will take up your cause.Then create platforms to appreciate their work and to bring these inspiring people together.' - Political Organizer and Campaigner

104) We can all add more adventure to our lives. Some ideas include making your city a learning space, and finding life lessons from the textbook of life.  Project Innovator, Camera Culture Group, MIT Media Lab

105) Human civilization is a giant science experiment. Conscious Design helps every individual contribute to this experiment. Every sketch matters. Every iteration and observation makes the final result more powerful. Creator, Artist 

106) You can get some great business ideas, by solving the everyday problems of your friends and family around you, using technology and the internet of things. Mobile Entrepreneur

107) Documentary Films are a mirror of society. Stand Up Comedy is too. Comedian

108) You can add value to your field by creating communities and gatherings of like minded people. Your work speaks more about you, than the place you have come from. Photographer

109) Men watch 2 minute porn videos and women read 250 page erotic novels. Why? A computational neuroscientist explores evolutionary theory to answer this question. Computational Neuroscientist

110) Children rush to play, with an open mind. They just want to be there. What if you could incorporate these aspects of learning through play, into the classroom through designing engaging regional language board games?  Game Creator

111) Study the ancient texts and great poets. There is a wealth of wisdom waiting to be consumed, that you can also apply to your work and personal lives. Singer

112)  Take ancient poetry, add music to it and you have a beautiful song. People will dance to this song. Sometimes you don't know the meaning of the song, yet you enjoy it. Make poetry and literature more accessible with music.  Music Band

Ken Robinson and Why Students Must Also Think From the Heart

113) We don't like presentations, we like stories. What make a good story?  Communication Expert

114) How do you manage abundance in opportunities? Focus on practice over theory and Be flexible enough to pivot, if it does not suit you. MIT Media Lab Director 

115) What if you had a chance to re-design college/university? What would the experience look like? There is no one fixed way to learn. We need to become more creative in the way learn. With the advent of the information and knowledge age, the opportunities are limitless. Education Hacker

116) What is a hacker space?  A hackerspace is a collective workspace where people come with their tools and their ideas and they share them. You learn to make mistakes in a hacker space. It is a a group of people that come together to support each other and actualize their imaginations together. It is a community that supports good design. Sharing Instinct + Modular Design + Rapid Prototyping are important features of a hackerspace. You are encouraged to be disruptive here. Hackerspace Creator

117) India is a bottom up success. China is a top down success. India is an accumulator. China is an assimilator. Democracy needs to benefit every citizen. It must start from the smallest rural town and village and not be limited to the centers of power. Author

118) 2% of the population in India may have credit card facility. But eight to nine times that number has internet access. What do these people use this mobile internet for? - Whatsapp, Downloading Ringtones and Downloading Wallpapers. There is always a possibility of creating low tech solutions to big problems. It is not hard to create the right technology. It is harder to choose the right problem to solve  Low Tech Designer

119) We want to share what is on our mind. It is a natural human drive. Can we design education programs that consider the powerful benefits of sharing?  Educator

120) Love what you do immensely. Your emotions tell stories, you can tell stories through dance too. Lord Shiva's hair locks represent the complexities of life. The water in Ganga is the purest source of water that helps you navigate through these complexities of life. If there is purity of intention you will flow through the complexities of life. Dancer

Let us Learn Together,
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