TFS 003 - Robert Pragai


What happens when you fail?

Robert meets people who got discouraged when things don't work out. They expect that everything they do will work out right away. NO, NO, NO, he said!

Failure is the only way to learn.
— Robert Pragai
What happens when you fail?  Robert Pragai, a creative expert in problem-solving.  interview done by Sylvie Gendreau for the podcast # TheyMakeMeSmarter # TheNew SchoolOfCreativity.

What happens when you fail? Robert Pragai, a creative expert in problem-solving. interview done by Sylvie Gendreau for the podcast #TheyMakeMeSmarter #TheNew SchoolOfCreativity.

If you haven't listened to the first and second episodes, you should do so before listening to this third one. It's interesting to discover his way of hacking problems. You will get inspired by his life story! Also, get your free gift, download the cool tool associated to TFS-001, What to do when you get bored easily My personal pathwayIn the second episode, TFS-2 Make The Problem Visible, learn which skills we should acquire for the 21st century, your free gift is My 4 Steps-Road Map. Now, you're all set to listen to Robert and get inspired one more time. Listent the third and last episode TFS-3 What happens when you fail.

Discover the self-help tool we developed to help you to stay on top of your most important projects.

How do you test curiosity that should remain after you learn something.
— Neil Degrass Tyson

How do you test how to come up with a new idea on the face of an old one? A question that interests Neil Degrass Tyson, an American astrophysicist, author and science communicator as well as Robert Pragai.

Lesson 1

Stay curious!

Robert told me: "Degrees are useful because they open doors but that does not mean that they're good at their job. I met people who are very bookmarked, very good, but when it comes to common sense or making associations, they are on the low scale."

The soft skills to think clearly, communicate and present your ideas and projects are part of the 21st Century skills. It's important to use the technology to be more efficient but, on the other hand, we need to stretch our mind and make sure to stay 'operational' without our devices!

"Our brain is changing, because people are less aware of how things work in general because we are told in single alignments where to go," explains Robert. "Our brain is changing because we cannot see conceptually bigger pictures anymore. GPS is a good example of this. It's probably why experts recommend using it to go somewhere but not using it when we come back."


Do not only use apps for everything you do. Try to keep your mind autonomous. Challenge yourself without using your devices and see how you can perform without them.

We need to learn how to make connections. For a student, for example, an efficient strategy is to go back in old notes; it's very good to understand well the concepts again before moving forward.

A way of doing this for Robert is to read books. Despite that he did not like to read books during his university times, since then, he developed a true passion for reading.


Keep reading!

What I love about reading, it just opens new thoughts, new brain patterns.
— Robert Pragai

Robert is a good example of how we evolve and change in life. As soon as we are curious, we automatically get motivated to find the information we need to improve.


Always keep in mind the WHY you're doing something.

My passion for reading comes from my curiosity. My curiosity to know what other people are thinking, to put myself in their situation. You look at things with a different angle.

The more you have a creative mind, the more reading is useful. As Robert explains, you have to read a little bit of everything.

You need to read things outside of your domain because if not, you’re not getting new ideas.



All of us, need to keep our motivation the highest as possible. Obstacles will always come up our ways, Robert said, but what makes the difference for tackling problems efficiently, it's our motivation. Someone motivated can achieve almost anything they want.

We should all take care of our mental capacity by staying motivated for our projects. If you're losing it, it's time to re-organise your work and studies. The more we understand why you haven't been motivated, the more we are able to adjust and find solutions.

As a professor, teacher, parent or team leader, it's important to understand the person we are trying to help. If we want to keep the members of our team motivated, we need to take the time to understand them. It takes time but it's the only way to encourage them to dig deeper.  We need to know where their trigger points are.

For Robert, the best way of teaching is one on one. We talk a lot about teamwork, but you need to make everyone special in your team. Everyone wants to feel special. Everyone wants to be a ROCKSTAR. How you make that? You have to connect, said Robert. And remember, without defeat or failure, keeping the motivation high will be very difficult!


Stay motivated and helps other to do the same.

When I asked Robert, where he finds the time with three young children to read and do all this work. He simply answered: "You have to make time."

How Robert makes time?

He uses his electronic calendar as a to-do list, but he had to come back to a paper calendar to take notes and be able to go back and adjust. With only an electronic calendar, he got distracted too much and could not think out his thoughts properly.

Why a paper calendar?

I get ideas any time of the day, I need to write them down.
— Robert Pragai

Robert likes to go back and asked himself: If I didn't do that yet, maybe it's not worth doing it finally. A paper calendar helps him to revise his ideas. He goes through this every week or so, and cut out 80% of it. A very interesting exercise for him.

It’s ok if you don’t do all your activities.
— Robert Pagai

Instead of compiling these list in his computer like he used to do without never taking the time of saying no, with paper and pen, if an idea does not resonate strong enough, it does not survive. He is able to choose on what it's the most valuable to focus on.

This process helps Robert to stay open to all new opportunities, he knows that he will have a second chance to look at them and decide which one to pursue or not.

Before going to bed, Robert likes to write the three things he wants to accomplish the day after. It helps him de-stress. He likes to think three or four steps ahead: "I can go to sleep, I don't have to worry anymore. The first thing on my list is the most important I want to do."

He likes and has a lot of success working with protocols from 1 to 3 or 6 months on projects he wants to accomplish. Then he associates 2 or 3 process modes to each of those.

Every day, I look at those and ask myself how I work on this. And if I’m not working on this for a certain period of time, is it an important goal that I want to achieve?



TIP: Don't be afraid of not being productive. "I don't have accomplished everything I wanted today, that's ok, I tried."

In conclusion, if you do not like to read books, don't panic. The most important is your desires to achieve something that you never did before. If you want to succeed, you will be motivated to find the information whether you go find an article, a book or watch a movie, it's fine. What you need is to feel challenged.

If you have a defeat, this is the best way to stay motivated to find a solution to succeed next time. If not, you will take the easiest pathway. Remember what Robert said: Think of your long-term goal; a failure is only an obstacle to overcome on the road. The more you are curious, the more you'll get there and start working to find the right information and knowledge you need.

Also, this good insight from Robert: When he gets stress, his smart watches reminds him why he got stress at the first place. It helps him to keep his motivation high!

Do some visualisation too... when he is on the train going to work, at a certain point, he starts thinking about work, and when he comes back home at the end of the day, he does the same. At a certain point, he starts visualising about his family life.


Extra Takeaway

When I was listening to Robert, he remembered me a lot of things that I read in the book of Charles Duhigg, Smarter Faster Better.

1. A failure is not necessarily a lost. Rather, It's a learning experiment.

2. Think ahead, anticipate, don't wait at the last minutes. Making good choices relies on forecasting the future.

3. Accurate forecasting requires exposing ourselves to as many successes and disappointments as possible.

4. The more you force yourself to envision potential future and the more you learn about which assumptions are certain or flimsy, the better your odds of making a great decision next time.

5. Don't let your motivation goes away; keep an eye on them. Do not hesitate to cut out the projects that are not adding real values to your strategic goals.

6. Read books.

Download your free Motivation Board.
Keep a track record of your failure and progress!

The Creative Mind Trick
of the Day.

Rule 3: Set a goal to succeed over the long run.

Don't miss the next episode with the founder of Statupfes, Philippe Telio.

Sylvie's Best Books:

Duhigg Charles, Smarter Faster Better, Penguin Random House, USA, 2016
To purchase in:
U.S. and U.K.:

Ferris Tim, Tools of Titans, HMH, 2016
To purchase in:
U.S. and U.K:

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