Try something new for 10 days

Highbrow

Highbrow can help you learn something new — in just 5 minutes — every day.

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First, browse the courses, and then sign up. It’s free but you do need an email address. Every morning, you’ll get an e-mail with something new to learn. You can only sign up for one course at a time. They want you to focus and to stick to just 5 minutes every day, because they know that small, everyday goals lead to success.

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Here’s the one I started with, last year: “Ideas that change the world” (which unfortunately is now a “premium” course. But here’s a similar one that’s still free: “Most Important Historical Events Of The 20th Century”.

Ideas that changed the world

I continued for the full 10 days, and while I can’t say I really learned anything (my fault for choosing this course), it was satisfying to accomplish that daily 5 minute ritual for 10 days (plus an additional few minutes for note-taking). Many of these courses would be excellent for EFL students. The content they probably already know in Japanese, so it’ll be good practice for reading in English.

I’m not sure if this is true for all the courses, but this one has a collection of quotes at the end of each episode.

Here’s what I did (using Evernote) and will encourage students to do, to practice note-taking skills:

Right now there are 127 courses, some of which are not free. To access these courses, you need to sign up for premium access, which costs $7 per month or $28 per year.

1000 Awesome Things

1000 Awesome Things is a list by Neil Pasricha dedicated to “the simple universal pleasures that we all love but we just don’t talk about enough.” (Quoted from his TED Talk — here’s the transcript) Practice your reading and listening comprehension and getting inspired to make your own list.

Watch his TED Talk:

A sample from the 1000 Awesome Things:

#967 Illegal naps

#122 Using nature as a fridge

#194 When insects are struggling to do something and you help them

#912 Hanging your hand out the window of a car

Live like a surfer

It may help you stop procrastinating.

“The Unexpected Antidote to Procrastination” (from Harvard Business Review)

Why do we put off doing things? Fear of feeling (disappointed, sad, frustrated…). But:

More often than not, our fear doesn’t help us avoid the feelings; it simply subjects us to them for an agonizingly long time. We feel the suffering of procrastination, or the frustration of a stuck relationship. I know partnerships that drag along painfully for years because no one is willing to speak about the elephant in the room. Taking risks, and falling, is not something to avoid. It’s something to cultivate. But how?

Practice.

Many students will, I hope, remember the phrase “the elephant in the room”.

And speaking of surfing, see what Obama has been up to lately. He sure looks happy.

He’s also been busy on the phone. (Yes, this is a joke.)