Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

Spreading and Sharing Ideas

Reading Time: 2 minutes

You’re welcome to use this article as boredom training for 2-3min. In Chris Bailey’s new book Hyperfocus, boredom is an excellent tool for training daydreaming, where creativity may flourish. Thus, the challenge is reading until the end and if you get bored, start daydreaming.


In TED talks, the motto is “ideas worth spreading,” which is why you measure the worthiness by the number of visualizations, a sign of spreading. It doesn’t mean less viewed TED talks contain ideas less worthy because those would never make it to TED in the first place.

However, who decides whether an idea is worth spreading or not? First, a speakers team, and afterward, the mass of viewers. But who’s in this team? And even if experienced in finding good speakers, what leads them to decide for one over the other? We all know the great job these teams are doing, but it is selective nonetheless.

On the other hand, what are TED talks for, if not to change people’s lives with ideas worth spreading? But is this interaction with the masses what changes people’s lives? Yes, up to the point if a person has enough reasons and willpower to change. After all, what are “ideas worth spreading” if not ideas worth changing people’s minds and lives? But I feel something is missing.

This thought came to me as I started testing the App “Reminders” to make lists of ideas for the several writing platforms where I publish my posts. I wanted to give a name to the list associated with my international blog and Medium. Here I share ideas. Thus, it seemed obvious. The name would be “ ideas worth sharing.” Then, I wonder if there was a difference between spreading and sharing.

While the purpose of spreading is to reach the widest audience possible, sharing is more intimate. We share our problems, thoughts, experiences, and joys with people close to us. We share to develop relationships. My wife paints beautifully but doesn’t consider herself an artist and only people close to us see her paintings.

When I look at my blog’s statistics and realize how few people read my posts or Medium articles, I would (and sometimes do) feel sad because every writer desires to touch the hearts and minds of a wider audience. If this experience resonates with you, it’s ok. What I felt was the need to change my mindset and stop expecting that my ideas are worth spreading. Instead, I decided to focus my writing on ideas worth sharing.

If you read this far, writing for you was the best idea I had his morning. The intimate reader – you – is the best idea I had worth sharing today.

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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