TED Talks feature a variety of people who have a unique point of view, giving them a platform to speak on the issues closest to them. They are designed to challenge our way of thinking, our preconceived notions, and the beliefs we hold. These talks take us out of comfort zone and into worlds we may have never explored. New concepts flow freely in a nonjudgmental atmosphere to give us better ideas on how to interact with each other and the world around us. Many of these talks have directly impacted my life, but these are just a few of my favorites.
The Power of Vulnerability
Brene Brown shares the importance of connecting with one another. She’s spent time studying how we empathize, love, and belong, and now she applies what she’s learned as she shares her own story of connecting with others along the way.
How Schools Kill Creativity
Ken Robinson discusses the problems with the modern education system and its tendency to crush creativity. Instead, he proposes a new solution that nurtures children to reach their full creative potential. He encourages us to consider that there are types of intelligence apart from the kind most readily identified by standardized testing.
The History of our World in 18 Minutes
For those of us who can’t stand a boring history class, David Christian brings it to life in a condensed and speedy version. He takes us from the beginnings of the universe all the way to the Internet age in only eighteen minutes, while sharing beautiful illustrations in the background. He forces us out of our tendency to focus on the minutiae of history, and to look at things with a much broader lens.
Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career
Larry Smith challenges us to consider the ways in which we play into our own misery. He names the common excuses we use for not following our dreams, and makes them seem absurd. His video is a must-watch for anyone who is graduating college or considering doing anything other than following their passions.
Start with Why
Simon Sinek wants us to return to something we may not have done since childhood – ask why things are the way they are. He proposes that asking why is the beginning of great leadership potential, with examples such as Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs to back it up. He motivates us to want to become stronger leaders.
How I Built a Windmill
At just 14 years old, William Kamkwamba harnessed the wind. Working from a generic plan in an old book, he managed to create a windmill that would generate electricity for his family and change his village in Malawi forever. He proves that you are never too young to make an impact wherever you are.
Living Beyond Limits
Despite losing two of her limbs to meningitis, Amy Purdy is living her life with no limits. She has become a professional snowboarder, even without her legs. She encourages all of us to live our lives without the limits that we place upon ourselves.
In Praise of Slowness
Carl Honore is putting the brakes on the fast-paced world that we live in and he’s calling on us to come along. He talks about the negative side effects of Western culture’s busyness and explains the benefits of living at a slower pace.
The Strangeness of Scale at Twitter
We don’t often consider the precautions that need to be taken in order to protect ourselves on social media. For Twitter representative Del Harvey, this is a daily reality. She discusses the work that goes into the social media we use so regularly in order to keep us safe.
The Surprising Science of Happiness
Dan Gilbert spends his life researching the science of our happiness. He has come to the conclusion that even if we don’t get the things that we desire most, we can still be happy. Gilbert challenges the idea that our lives must go according to plan in order for us to experience true happiness.
Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce
Faced with all the options at the grocery store, Malcolm Gladwell examines the choices we make in regard to spaghetti sauce. He makes us think differently about whether or not there is one particular thing that can be described as perfect for all of us.
Looks Aren’t Everything. Trust me, I’m a Model
Cameron Russell, a Victoria’s Secret lingerie model, take a critical look at the fashion industry and the bodies that young girls strive for. While modeling may be glamorous, she takes a look at the darker reality of what’s waiting behind the runway.
The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong
Dan Palotta calls our frugality into question by examining the accomplishments of non-profits. He shares a different perspective of encouraging these charities to spend more money to have a greater impact instead of focusing so closely on the bottom line.
Try Something New for 30 Days
Google engineer Matt Cutts challenges the way we think about setting goals. He asks us to commit to trying something new, something that we’ve always wanted to pursue, every day for 30 days and see what the result is.
What I’ve Learned from my Autistic Brothers
Growing up with two brothers diagnosed with autism, Faith Jegede has learned to think outside of the box. Instead of allowing what our culture considers normal to define her and her family, she redefines normalcy and motivates everyone to chase a life beyond what is typical.