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← Time Bending: 365 ways to unlock creativity and Innovation | Ken Hughes | TEDxUniversityofNicosia

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Showing Revision 66 created 05/08/2020 by Riaki Poništ.

  1. Host: One here, please.
  2. Ken Hughes: This will
    cost you 10,000 euros.
  3. (Laughter)
  4. Good afternoon.
  5. As a playologist,
    I'd like to encourage you all
  6. to look deeper to find that spark
    of creativity that lies within us all
  7. and let it out.
  8. I want you to imagine for a moment
    that you are dead.
  9. It's not the most inspiring way
    to start a talk, I know.
  10. (Laughter)
  11. You follow that white light, through,
  12. you come out into a warehouse,
  13. an empty hangar,
  14. and on the ground in front of you
  15. are thousands of Polaroid photographs
    lined up one after the other in a row.
  16. Each photograph represents
    a day of your life, a life just ended.
  17. And now you walk.
  18. You walk along those photographs,
    looking at the various memories.
  19. You remember your first day at school.
  20. I'm not too sure
    I quite understood school;
  21. I think I thought I was emigrating.
  22. (Laughter)
  23. So you walk on,
  24. and you walk past your first kiss.
  25. This one isn't me, by the way,
    this is a stock image.
  26. I didn't hire a photographer
    to hide in the trees
  27. to record my first kiss - I wish I had.
  28. So you walk past all these big days:
  29. the day you graduated university,
    the day you got married.
  30. You remember all these big days
    as you walk along these rows.
  31. There'll be some memories you walk past,
    each day that you remember.
  32. There'll be small things like the day
    your eight-year-old son and his friend
  33. took your brand new Converse runners
  34. and filled them
    with mashed banana for a joke.
  35. These days will stand out to you.
  36. And on your walk - my point is this:
  37. each photograph on the floor
    in front of you is a unique day.
  38. The photograph is the thing
    that happened on that day
  39. that was different
    to every other day of your life.
  40. Different from before and from after:
  41. the new thing that you learnt,
    the new experience you had.
  42. In the early years
    as a child or a teenager,
  43. the pictures are quite interesting
  44. because when you're young,
    you're adventurous; you flirt with risk.
  45. But I want you to think about those rows
  46. that represent your late
    20s, 30s, 40s, 50s,
  47. the days that become a routine,
  48. days slipping into weeks,
    into months, into years.
  49. You do the same thing every day:
  50. you get up, you go to school
    or college, your work,
  51. you come home, you sit on the TV.
  52. These days, think about the photographs,
  53. and how many of those
    photographs are black.
  54. Blank because you didn't do
    anything that day that was unique
  55. that you had never ever done before.
  56. Think of the rows and rows of photographs
  57. as you walk along
    that are completely blank.
  58. A life that could have been full
    of all sorts of new experiences,
  59. new skills, new people, new places,
  60. but it was just a routine life.
  61. A life lost to the routine.
  62. It's a little bit depressing, isn't it?
  63. And such are the thoughts
    of a man facing his midlife crisis.
  64. This year I turned 40.
  65. Now, I know I don't look it;
  66. I drink the blood of virgin unicorns
    every morning at dawn.
  67. (Laughter)
  68. But nevertheless,
    half my life is potentially over.
  69. Now at the same time,
    while I'm having my midlife crisis,
  70. my father, who is a healthy 73,
  71. he's having his - I guess
    you could call his end-of-life crisis.
  72. It's the same as mine
    except he is more concerned
  73. with things like when the day
    does actually come,
  74. how many fireworks I'm going
    to be able to sneak into his coffin
  75. before it's sealed for the crematorium.
  76. Because he thinks this will be great fun.
  77. He's that kind of guy.
  78. So we got talking about time
    last Christmas,
  79. and he was having a conversation
    with me that started with,
  80. "I remember being 65, and now I'm 73,
  81. "I have no idea where the last
    eight years have gone."
  82. He said that time seemed
    to be moving much faster
  83. now that he was older,
    and I started to laugh.
  84. I thought, "What?
    You're blissfully retired.
  85. All you do every day is drink coffee
    and do some gardening.
  86. Surely your days stretch out
    in front of you slowly, and time drags."
  87. But apparently not.
  88. He said that no, time slips past
    faster and faster,
  89. the less you do, oddly,
    the faster time passes.
  90. For most of us, time
    is a mental construct really.
  91. You look back on a week
    or month or year that just passed,
  92. and really it's your memories
    that you are using
  93. to decide how effective that time was.
  94. So I wondered if that was true.
  95. If my father was right, and he usually is,
  96. what would happen if you reversed that?
  97. If you filled your days
    and your weeks with new things,
  98. could you, in fact, slow down time?
  99. Just take an average day.
  100. An average day has a start and an end.
  101. So think about it as two fixed points,
  102. like two pins in a cork board,
    the morning and the night.
  103. And take a piece of string,
    and run that string from morning to night,
  104. and let's take that as your average day.
  105. And on to that average day,
    we will put things.
  106. We put things that we do every day:
  107. we get up, we have our breakfast,
  108. we commute to work or college,
    we spend the day in the office,
  109. and even the things we do on occasion,
    maybe every week or two,
  110. like that yoga class or soccer training,
  111. these are things
    that are routine in our lives.
  112. So eventually, each day, each week
  113. becomes this quite
    predictable straight line.
  114. Morning to night, day after day,
    week after week.
  115. And I started to think,
    "I wonder if you took something new,
  116. a brand new experience
    that you'd never ever done
  117. and dropped that pin
    into that notice board,
  118. that's a new point that that string
    has to go round on that day.
  119. So you clearly are going to need
    a longer piece of string.
  120. Same fixed points, morning and night.
  121. Your day hasn't actually got longer.
  122. But what you do within that day,
    you are going to bend time.
  123. And that's the concept.
  124. I give you Time Bending:
  125. bending the time you already have,
  126. stretching time,
    to make more out of your life.
  127. So on the first of January this year,
  128. I set out to complete
    a 365-day experiment.
  129. Could I spend an entire year
  130. where every single day
    I did a new experience,
  131. something that I have never
    ever done before?
  132. Could I bend time? Could I stretch time?
  133. So I decided to keep a journal,
  134. and every day I had to have written
    something in that journal
  135. that I had done that day that was unique
    and I'd never ever done before.
  136. And that challenged me.
  137. And If I lost just
    one day along this year,
  138. I failed the entire experiment.
  139. At the beginning
    of course, it's quite easy.

  140. We all have things
    that we've wanted to do in our life
  141. that we have yet to do.
  142. It's like your bucket list.
  143. Those are the first things you do.
  144. It's easy, so eventually I learnt
    to cut my daughter's hair.
  145. I then went on that mountain
    bike extreme course
  146. that a friend of mine
    has been asking me to do for years,
  147. and I never went with him, so I did it.
  148. I finally did that half-marathon
  149. that I had been threatening
    to sign up to for years but I never had.
  150. So I just did it.
  151. Then I spent four weeks
    with a physiotherapist
  152. because it turns out
    that you can't do a half-marathon
  153. on 10 days' training, who knew?
  154. (Laughter)
  155. But I'd never been
    to a physiotherapist before.
  156. New experience!
  157. Herniated disk, new experience!
  158. (Laughter)
  159. So, the weekends are easy
  160. because the weekends
    you have the time already.
  161. So you go to the local reptile zoo,
    and you find your hand shooting up
  162. when they ask for someone
    to hold the tarantula.
  163. You go on a basket-weaving course
    to learn how to weave baskets.
  164. You let your children and their friends
    paint you green from top to bottom,
  165. and you take part, uninvited,
    in the local Saint Patrick's Day parade.
  166. (Music) (Laughter)
  167. You know? Why wouldn't you?
    Why would you need an invite?
  168. So, these are easy; these are big things
    and these are weekends,
  169. because you have the time.
  170. But the trick of the experiment
    is to do this in your normal life,
  171. your Monday to Friday,
    your home, your office.
  172. These are the days that are harder.
  173. You've got to look for things to do
    that you've never done before.
  174. So one day you're in a hotel,
    and they run out of pain au chocolat,
  175. so you decide, "OK, I'm going
    to make my own pain au chocolat
  176. with croissants and chocolate cereal
    from the breakfast table for the kids."
  177. Small things.
  178. You take the DVD that your wife
    has done all the time for aerobics.
  179. You've seen her do it hundreds of times,
    but you've never done it,
  180. so you do her aerobics DVD.,
  181. You make shadow portraits
    from the 18th Century
  182. because you read it in a book.
  183. And this one, you watch your six-year-old
    daughter paint your toe nails,
  184. and you say, "How did I get to be 40
    and never had my toe nails painted?"
  185. (Laughter)
  186. And this one, she painted my toenails
  187. and no joke - this is one
    of the best things I did all year!
  188. For two weeks I woke up every morning,
    swung my legs out of bed and laughed!
  189. (Laughter)
  190. It was like having M&Ms for toes!
  191. (Laughter)
  192. And I put my socks on and I...
  193. (Applause)
  194. Thank you.
  195. (Applause)
  196. It gets better.
  197. I put my socks on
    and of course you'd forget.
  198. Of course you'd forget.
  199. And you go about your business,
    you'd work all day,
  200. and at the end of the day
    you take your socks off and go,
  201. "Ha! M&Ms!"
  202. (Laughter)
  203. And for two weeks I smiled
    and I laughed twice a day,
  204. and I thought to myself, "You know what?
    This is it, this is what life is about!"
  205. We need to be reminded
    on a continuous basis
  206. to live a better life, to live a life
    that could be more full.
  207. And when you open a packet of biscuits
    you could just eat them,
  208. or you could build a Jenga Tower
    and play biscuit Jenga.
  209. How many people have played
    biscuit Jenga in your life?
  210. Probably never, and now you all will.
  211. These things are so simple,
  212. and what you learn about yourself
  213. is that you can live a life that's closed
    or you can live a life that is open,
  214. open to a world
    of possibilities around you.
  215. Now I would never walk
    past a notice board without stopping
  216. and reading what events are on
    in the community that I can go to.
  217. I was the only man
    in the Zumba class last week.
  218. (Laughter)
  219. What's on? What have I not
    done yet? What can I do?
  220. You'll be surprised how much
    there is to do in your life,
  221. in your own community, in your own home.
  222. You just need to open yourself
    to all these possibilities.
  223. So yes, I've walked on fire,
    I've done big things,
  224. I've eaten frogs' legs
    which I'd never done before,
  225. I helped deliver a new born lamb,
    which was beautiful.
  226. When the first winter snow fell
    the first thing I thought about
  227. was taking all my clothes off
    and rolling naked down the hill.
  228. And what you realise
    is that you feel so alive
  229. when you open up to all these experiences.
  230. When you start to look at the world
    as a new place to do things,
  231. you are amazed at what
    the world can offer you.
  232. And you become addicted.
  233. Every day I had my new experience.
  234. Many days three or four experiences,
    I became addicted to it.
  235. What was interesting
    is as I became addicted, so did others.
  236. People watching me on social media
    or having conversations with me
  237. got sucked in.
  238. Time Bending is infectious.
  239. It's like gravity; it'll pull you in.
  240. So when I sent a message to a friend
  241. saying I was going to the beach
    to do some beach art,
  242. suddenly we had five, 10, 15 people
    all coming with me.
  243. When I posted the video
    of the spray-cream challenge on my face,
  244. about six or seven people did the same
    that day up on Facebook.
  245. You know, I have signed up
    for a 5K mountain run,
  246. which, by the way, they call a sport.
  247. it is not a sport, it's torture.
  248. (Laughter)
  249. Three or four friends came with me.
  250. Haven't spoken to me since,
  251. (Laughter)
  252. but that's another story.
  253. When I went flyboarding,
    everyone who saw the video thought,
  254. "Where can I do that?
    I want to sign up for that, too!"
  255. So people got sucked in to this idea.
  256. And you'd be amazed
    how open other people are also.
  257. We had a dinner party
  258. where we asked all our friends to wear
    their wedding dresses one last time.
  259. (Laughter)
  260. How many women in the room, in the world
  261. have a wedding dress
    they have worn once and never again?
  262. And you give people an opportunity,
    and suddenly, no problem! Bring it on!
  263. And you'll, again, realise,
    during this experiment,
  264. just how often you say no.
  265. Do you know how often
    you all say no in life every day?
  266. People say, "Can you come
    to this" or "I'm doing that,"
  267. and you say, "Yeah, I'd like to, but hmm,
    I don't know or I don't, hmm, know."
  268. You hesitate.
  269. When you are a Time-Bender,
    you have to say yes.
  270. Because this could be the day that passes,
    that nothing happens in your life,
  271. and you fail the experiment.
  272. So you say yes to everything,
    to anything that comes your way
  273. to make sure that this one day
    you don't fail.
  274. Now, this is dangerous,
  275. because your friends learn this,
    that you will do anything.
  276. (Laughter)
  277. And then on your
    suggestion wall on Facebook,
  278. they start making you do things.
  279. Like Shane, who suggested that I drink
    my own urine out of a champagne flute.
  280. (Laughter)
  281. Or I was made get a tattoo.
  282. I don't like tattoos; I have a tattoo.
  283. (Laughter)
  284. I was made wax a part of my body
    that has never even seen the sunlight.
  285. If you ever want to know,
  286. the face of a man getting
    the crack of his ass waxed,
  287. (Laughter)
  288. this is the face you make
    when you get your ass waxed.
  289. (Laughter) (Applause)
  290. The photographs at the other end
    are not available.
  291. (Laughter)
  292. And your eight-year-old son
    also learns this
  293. and tells you to go grocery shopping
    wearing nothing but a towel.
  294. (Laughter)
  295. I think I'm the only person in the world
  296. to be barred from Marks
    food and vegetable shop.
  297. The lesson I learnt
    is that it's not a good idea
  298. to leave your eight-year-old old son
    with your fate in his hands.
  299. But what you also learn
    by doing this experiment
  300. is that life is great fun.
  301. When you say yes to everything,
    play will find you.
  302. And I mean play in real play.
  303. Real play actually
    doesn't really have a purpose.
  304. Real play is just for play's sake.
  305. Kids know this automatically.
    They know it naturally.
  306. And somehow we unlearn it as adults.
  307. So you say yes to everything.
    Play will find you.
  308. And what's interesting
    about this experiment
  309. is I suddenly realised that this is how
    you permanently foster play in adults.
  310. We all know that play is really important.
  311. OK? We all know that Play leads
    to creativity, which leads to innovation.
  312. There's been lots of books, articles,
  313. some fantastic TED talks
    in the past on play
  314. and the importance of play
    leading to creativity.
  315. Small business know this;
    big corporations know this.
  316. And as I played on,
    I thought, do you know what?
  317. Everyone wants creativity;
    everyone wants innovation.
  318. They want this to lead them to success.
  319. But we need to understand
    how to foster that creativity,
  320. how can we foster
    an everyday sense of play?
  321. How can we make the people who work
    in our hospitals, in our schools,
  322. in our small businesses and corporations
  323. more playful every day
    so we can fuel this creativity?
  324. How to make them play
    at everyday level?
  325. The problem with most corporations
    and their attitude to creativity and play
  326. is that they fail at doing it
  327. because they try to enforce it
    on their employees.
  328. It's play on their terms.
  329. They send you off to the woods
    to shoot each other with paintball guns,
  330. or they put a snooker table
    in the canteen and call it, "Hey! Play!"
  331. But it doesn't really change things.
  332. And I think a corporation
    or an organization
  333. can't actually be responsible
  334. for your sense of creativity
    and play anyway.
  335. Just like they can't be responsible
    for your happiness or your health.
  336. I mean, they can encourage,
    they can facilitate,
  337. but the actual spark of who you are
    in terms of creativity and play,
  338. it has to come from you, inside yourself.
  339. So if we are going to solve problems
    in new ways in the world,
  340. if we are going to challenge norms
    and push boundaries,
  341. then it needs to start
    with you, the individual.
  342. You can't hope that a corporation
    will do it for you.
  343. It also has to last.
  344. This can't be just a book you read
    or a TED talk you watched
  345. or a one-day workshop you went to.
  346. If we want to be creative,
    it has to be a permanent thing.
  347. It has to become a philosophy
    for who you are,
  348. and permeate your every moment,
    your everyday life.
  349. This is what I became interested in.
  350. 100 days into my experiment,
  351. I practically heard it
    click inside myself.
  352. I had a perspective shift on the world
    that will never go away now.
  353. It is now who I am.
  354. It has changed my personal life,
    I've laughed more,
  355. I've learnt more, I've had more fun,
    I take more risks.
  356. It fuels your relationships,
    your sex life,
  357. you take risks which then
    filter into business life,
  358. and in your business life
    you take more risks.
  359. You become open to opportunities,
    you solve problems in new ways.
  360. And risk, of course, is the heart
    of innovation and creativity.
  361. Nothing ever happens
    unless you take a risk.
  362. A year ago I wouldn't have expected
    that I would walk across broken glass
  363. or that I would go on Europe's
    tallest roller coaster.
  364. I hate roller coasters.
    But you just say yes.
  365. Who would have thought
    that I would have pierced a friend's ear?
  366. I had no idea of what I was doing.
  367. (Laughter)
  368. I still don't!
  369. But you just say yes.
  370. You go from being a guy who says,
    "Oh, maybe, I'm not too sure,"
  371. you go to being a guy who says yes.
  372. You say yes to everything.
  373. And here I am on day 318 of my experiment.
  374. My new experience for today?
    Quite easy. My first TED talk.
  375. (Applause)

  376. Thank you.

  377. But you don't have to follow me
    on the 365-day version.
  378. 100 days of your life,
    three months, 12 weeks
  379. is all it will take
    for this perspective shift.
  380. So I'm travelling the world now
    recruiting Time-Benders,
  381. [who] agree to live a life less ordinary.
  382. A life in colour instead
    of the black and white.
  383. So go home and write
    your list, 20 or 30 things.
  384. They can be small things
    and don't have to be jumping off planes.
  385. Small things that you're going to do.
  386. Ask your family and friends,
    they'll give you another 20-30 ideas.
  387. Ask the internet, you'll get 2,000 ideas.
  388. Keep a journal; it's a good way.
  389. Keep a journal every day,
    challenge yourself
  390. into, "What did I do?"
  391. "What did I do today
    that was different, that was unique?"
  392. How can we expect
    to solve problems in new ways
  393. if we do the same thing every day,
    if we take things for granted?
  394. I travel a lot. I spend
    a lot of time in hotel rooms.
  395. Hotel rooms can be quite boring places.
  396. This is what you get.
    This is not how I slept last night.
  397. How I slept last night was like this.
  398. (Laughter)
  399. Don't take what's given
    to you for granted.
  400. And again, this was a hotel
    two weeks ago around Halloween.
  401. This is how I arrived.
    This is how I left the hotel room.
  402. (Laughter)
  403. What rule? Is there a rule that says
    you can't decorate your own hotel room?
  404. (Laughter)

  405. I'd love to have seen
    the face of housekeeping

  406. when they opened the door.
  407. "What the heck?!"
  408. So I'm curious.
  409. You have to change things all the time.
  410. Look at the work spaces that we work in,
    your own work space.
  411. Think about your own work space.
  412. Why would you think
  413. you're going to be suddenly
    be creative one day
  414. if you sit in the same chair,
    same desk in the same corner,
  415. in the same office every single day.
  416. Change your work space
    every two or three weeks.
  417. Change the art, change the decor,
    change the building.
  418. Change where you work.
  419. How are you going to be creative
    if you keep things the same?
  420. Once you open up,
    once you start this experiment,
  421. what you learn is that it becomes a habit.
  422. You actually don't need
    the journal anymore.
  423. You don't need the challenge
    of having to do something every day
  424. because you will do two or three or four
    things every single day regardless.
  425. Who would have thought
    that if you went into your dentist
  426. and asked him, instead of him
    cleaning your teeth,
  427. that you were going to clean his,
  428. (Laughter)
  429. that he would say yes?
  430. The world will say yes to you.
  431. Time Bending.
  432. The world is a playground.
  433. All you need to do is step up and play.
  434. Thank you.
  435. (Applause)