Try something new for 30 days

Try something new for 30 days, is the topic of Matt Cutts’ TED talk.

We have all heard it before, we must step out of our comfort zone to grow…right? Cutt’s takes this to the next level with his self-imposed 30 day challenge. What I like about Cutt’s talk, is it gives a more tangible objective to this idea of trying new things.

Warm up

  • What new thing would you like to try but haven’t yet?
  • What does it mean to “step out of your comfort zone”?
  • What are the benefits of doing new things? Any disadvantages?
  • What are the benefits of sticking with what you know? Any disadvantages?

The Video: Try something new for 30 days

Why does Matt think this is a good idea?
What did it change in his life?
What areas of our lives could we apply this to? Make a Mind Map
Do you have any spontaneous ideas that you might like to try for 30 days?

Are billionaires a good or bad thing?

I don’t know if any of you buy lottery tickets, but I don’t. I suppose my logical brain tells me that the chances are so low that I shouldn’t waste my money. Still, when the jackpot goes up high, I can’t help my thoughts wander to odd fantasies of what I would do if I had that much money.

I’ve often heard that we need billionaires because they create wealth for everyone. In the financial terms, this notion of trickle down economics  is rooted in the idea that over taxing the wealthy will do more harm than good. Forbes magazine poses this very question and ask famous billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates about the consequences of a wealth tax. The answer may surprise you.

This article is a vocabulary rich text, appropriate for intermediate to advanced learners.

Pre discussion

  • What would you do if you were a billionaire?
  • Which billionaires are philanthropic (use their fortune to better the world)?
  • Do you think billionaires are a good thing or a bad thing?

The article–Forbes Bill Gates gets why people are doubting billionaires

  • Pull out the economic related vocabulary
  • Do a Tell Back of what Gates says about over taxing billionaires

The article is pretty intense, so I will leave it at those two points for now, but if you have a question suggestion, please don’t hesitate to add it to the comments.

Do you follow anyone on YouTube or Instagram?

Do you follow anyone on any social media channels?

I would like to preface this lesson by saying that it is geared toward a more business English discussion on marketing and sales. But I think it can also feed a more general discussion about the place of social media in our lives and critical media literacy. It’s up to you to angle it the way it can work best for you.

One of the newest trends in social marketing  is using”influencers” to promote new products. Influencers, as described by the CBC podcast included in this post, are people who have an ‘organic’ following on social media channels like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook or Linkedin. They are people, like you and me, who have gathered an audience of followers because of their ideas.

I guess you could say that it’s not unlike having a hero or a mentor or a model, but I think it is slightly different because they can be anyone and everyone and have complete strangers follow them.

Pre discussion

  • Do you have an “influencer”? In other words, someone you trust for wisdom and advice.
  • Do you follow any social media groups or people?

The Podcast

The podcast uses a lot of business vocabulary, so if you are using this post for a more general discussion, you could skip the listen portion an go right to the questions.  Otherwise listen to the podcast (11 min.) to flesh out some of the main ideas and key vocabulary.

  • What are some of the features of an influencer?
  • What are some of the dangers of using an influencer to endorse a product?
  • Why use an influencer instead of traditional advertising?
  • How do you know that a source or influencer is reliable?

8 secrets to success…can you name them?

Ah success! I feel as though this topic has been done to death. Yet I cannot resist this TED talk by Richard St. John. So short, so simple, so predictable, yet so thought provoking.

St. John interviewed over 400 people, some famous, to succinctly summarize the ‘ingredients’  to success. Although the results are not necessarily surprising, I think they are worth reminding.

Of course we all have our  cultural capital which is to say, depending on upbringing and background, some of us start the journey with a head start.  However, in St. John’s TED talk, he looks at the more unbiased predispositions that contribute success. It is a short presentation (3 min.) and may lead to some interesting personal anecdotes.

Pre discussion

  • Tell us about some of your successes. What do you think contributed to them?
  • Do a Mind Map the elements that contribute to success.

The Video: TED 8 Secrets of Success by Richard St. John

  • List each point
  • Do you agree with St. John?
  • Do you think he forgot anything?
  • Can you share a personal anecdote on one or of the elements?