What can happen in 100seconds?

Last Updated on June 22, 2020

What can happen in 100seconds?

In an era of information overload, mere seconds can make a difference. Here’s how we are powering this vision at 100mentors.

What is information overload? Individuals, nowadays, are constantly being asked to track many data points, causing the so-called “attention deficit trait” (Katherine McLennan, 2011). This refers to the decision making and planning, organization and prioritization of information and ideas, while at the same time focusing on minor details, and losing the bigger and more meaningful picture. At the same time, companies suffer from employees being constantly interrupted during their day with emails, newsletters, requests, etc.

Are we in the era of information overload? For many of us in today’s societies, the era of “information overload” is at its peak, meaning that the difficulty we face in clearly understanding something, and making decisions based on that understanding effectively is now a rough process, usually full of anxiety. This so-called “infoxication” is contagious, with the excessive quantity of daily information on social media and even in conversations between friends and colleagues. 

And what does this mean for us? The truth is that the exponential increase of creating and consuming information – about literally anything and everything – is not going to stop soon. A solution to this problem is crucial both for individuals and for organizations/ companies, according to work by Paul Hemp, who noted this just over a decade ago in the Harvard Business Review, and whose work is still relevant today. (Death by Information Overload). 

So, why should mere seconds matter when information overload is constant? This whole “information overload” concept necessitates the development of new skills for everyone, especially for young minds and the next generation, like being concise. While many can blame technology for this information overload problem, technology itself may also be the solution to this problem. Herein lies the value of 20-second questions and 100-second answers. And at 100mentors, we are able to give space and focus to the 120-second rule, giving life to a meaningful conversation.

At 100mentors, we are changing the way we produce and consume information.

Through the 100mentors “asynchronous dialogue” concept, experts from different fields of expertise have the opportunity to share their thoughts in 100seconds byte-sized videos with students or their peers, asking “wonderment” questions about their career orientation, regarding their curriculum or about current projects. These are big questions – but we are trying to make conversations about them more meaningful, while at the same time making them shorter, more easily digestible.

Why are 100 seconds enough to answer a “wonderment” question? We believe that 100 seconds are more than enough to share something valuable. In trying to overcome the information overload we face, we should shift our expectations about meaningful communication. Just because an answer to a question may be short, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t begin a great conversation or is not enough to spark curiosity in people. It won’t be the end of the discussion, but it will be a great start. 

How possible is it to use critical thinking and abstraction ability through 100 seconds? The “answer time limit” serves this greater purpose to counteract our information overload. When a mentor needs to sum up what they would like to express in just over a minute and a half of talking, this practically means that they need to throw away excess detail, while keeping the heart of their point.  It’s a sort of training in abstraction. Meanwhile, critical thinking, as an intellectually disciplined process of actively analyzing and evaluating information can also be developed by simply organizing one’s thoughts to lead to an answer of only 100seconds. 

Thus, engaging these critical thinking and abstraction skills helps kick off a conversational framework.

Do 100seconds have the power to make a change?

The importance of sharing your thoughts in 100 seconds can firstly help you: While the importance of sharing your thoughts in 100seconds can also help one to become more concise, the “100seconds” concept is very meaningful for other reasons as well. 100seconds is the force behind the “keep it simple” philosophy, adding to this life-motto, to keep it simple, “but make it valuable.”

It is no mistake that from the most famous speeches in history, the ones that we think about the most asked us a question and called on us to answer it. Most of us remember just a few minutes of those famous speeches…the 100 seconds that mattered the most. One inspirational example is J. F. Kennedy’s declaration emphatically “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.” Quotes like these were short but meaningful enough to change the past, and such words made this possible in less than 100 seconds. They went ‘viral’ before there was even an internet of which to speak.”

Take a moment and be part of the mission

Although we call on our students to “ask the questions that matter”, it is now time to start learning how we are going to “consume the information that matters.” This is where you, our mentors, help us make history – by producing that. When we do not have the luxury of time to listen to a whole talk of 1 hour, or read a big text, consisting of many pages to skim through, then 100 seconds make it possible in our lives to literally change even a single mindset. And sometimes this is more than enough.

Yannis Kourtis is the Mentor Experience Associate at 100mentors. He holds an MA in International Relations and Strategic Studies and has worked as a youth trainer, helping young people to develop life skills beyond the classroom. Yannis is passionate about empowering professionals and academics to leave their legacy by connecting with students worldwide.

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