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We have a toxic relationship with failure. From an early age, we are taught in school that mistakes are bad. Mistakes on papers and tests are marked with a red pen and points are taken off. As a result, school teaches us to avoid mistakes rather than to make mistakes and then learn from them.

Failures are actually brilliant opportunities to learn. It is often easier to diagnose what went wrong after a failure than to figure out the key elements that lead to a success. By avoiding failure, then, we are removing an important tool from our mental toolbox.

What Steve Jobs can teach us about coping with failure

American culture places a premium on the ability to speak confidently before a crowd. Career counselors will tell you it’s a sure path to professional success. Compelling speakers can achieve positions of power and wealth.

"Think of it like a planned conversation. You know where the conversation’s going…but you’re loose enough in the moment to make it up a little bit as you go along. You want to have 80 percent of it prepared and allow 20 percent to be spontaneous.”

How celebs and politicians manage to deliver smooth and seemingly spontaneous performances

"I love how Focus is a sustained look at our addiction to screens and devices and the countless external distractions that threaten to take us further from ourselves and the people we love. His lesson—that ‘full attention is a form of love’—is something we can all learn from and take to heart." —Arianna Huffington
6 must-read books from our favorite leaders

"I love how Focus is a sustained look at our addiction to screens and devices and the countless external distractions that threaten to take us further from ourselves and the people we love. His lesson—that ‘full attention is a form of love’—is something we can all learn from and take to heart." —Arianna Huffington

6 must-read books from our favorite leaders

I’ve started keeping a running list of personal open loops: buying plane tickets, getting my hair cut, getting a chair for the guest room, buying new sunglasses.

I then assign myself one big project, and two smaller projects per week. Three projects is doable, so I don’t feel like I’m mentally overloaded. On the other hand, three projects is enough to make progress.”

More…

1) Your mind-set makes you smarter: Carol Dweck, the Stanford psychologist, has identified two mind-sets that shape, well, our minds. There’s the fixed mind-set, in which you think your thinking abilities can’t change. Then there’s the growth mind-set, in which your thinking abilities can be developed.

"These beliefs matter," Paul observes, "because they influence how we think about our own abilities, how we perceive the world around us, and how we act when faced with a challenge or with adversity."

The question, then, is how to own our development—which is a matter of deliberate practice.

2) Your concentration makes you smarter: If we consider intelligence to be our ability to solve complex tasks, then we need to appreciate how to deal with complexity—namely, with sustained focus, since that’s the only way we can load difficult problems into our heads.

Keep reading

One way to have more energy at work? Eat smarter. If you don’t get enough protein in your diet—as in, you survive on bagels and coffee, like Ms. Hepburn above—then you’re inviting the low-energy grump into your life. As Lifehacker writer Jason Fitzpatrick notes:

A diet comprised mainly of carbohydrates… . is a recipe for a constant cycle of blood-sugar highs, lows, and the accompanying feelings of exhaustion that go with them. If carbohydrates are the kindling of your metabolism, protein is the slow burning old-growth wood that keeps you going.

How to get more? Fitzpatrick recommends eggs, peanut better, and working in some protein powder. 8 unobvious ways to have way more energy at work

One way to have more energy at work? Eat smarter. If you don’t get enough protein in your diet—as in, you survive on bagels and coffee, like Ms. Hepburn above—then you’re inviting the low-energy grump into your life. As Lifehacker writer Jason Fitzpatrick notes:

A diet comprised mainly of carbohydrates… . is a recipe for a constant cycle of blood-sugar highs, lows, and the accompanying feelings of exhaustion that go with them. If carbohydrates are the kindling of your metabolism, protein is the slow burning old-growth wood that keeps you going.

How to get more? Fitzpatrick recommends eggs, peanut better, and working in some protein powder. 8 unobvious ways to have way more energy at work

"There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that."
—Ernest Hemingway, who got up insanely early and knew the benefits of a standing desk. 
Productivity lessons from Hemingway

"There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that."

Ernest Hemingway, who got up insanely early and knew the benefits of a standing desk. 

Productivity lessons from Hemingway