Seven Best Ted Talks to Stream

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Since the first Ted Talks went live in 2006, hundreds of millions of people have watched over 3,500 of these short, powerful videos on technology, psychology, science, leadership, design and just about anything. topics you can think of.

In rare cases, watching a single Ted Talk can be life changing. I’ve compiled a list of seven of my all-time favorites because they’re memorable, helpful, and deeply insightful into certain aspects of humanity.

1. Your body language can shape who you are: Amy Cuddy

Over 60 million views, 20 minutes

Amy Cuddy is an American psychologist and professor at Harvard Business School, expert in body language. His research has shown that we can chemically alter how we feel about something by consciously altering our body language.

Cuddy includes examples of boosting your confidence before an intimidating event, such as a tricky negotiation or an important presentation, by adopting the “power pose” (raise your arms in the air and open your mouth, like a victorious runner crossing the finish line) and the “superhero pose” (standing with your feet slightly apart and your hands on your hips), for just a few minutes before entering the daunting situation.

This will not only make you feel better and more confident immediately, but also change the way people perceive you for the better and increase your chances of success.

Whether you’re a parent, team or organization leader, or just someone who wants to improve their presentation skills, this talk is worth watching.

2. The happy secret to working better: Shawn Achor

Over 20 million views, 12 minutes

Psychologist and best-selling author (the most famous being The Happiness Advantage, published in 2010), Shawn Achor is one of the leading proponents of the relatively new field of positive psychology. In this fun and practical video, he explains how training your brain to be happy precedes success, rather than the common assumption that success fuels happiness.

Achor advocates a few simple ways to actively implement your own happiness. First and foremost, you have to have an “attitude of gratitude” (something he taught Oprah Winfrey and became a famous advocate for). He also recommends keeping a gratitude journal that lists what you’re grateful for, openly expressing your gratitude, and meditating and exercising daily.

3. The Power of Vulnerability: Brené Brown

Over 50 million views, 20 minutes

Brené Brown is a professor at the University of Houston who studies vulnerability and its links to courage, shame and empathy. She argues that it is by understanding and being honest about our unique vulnerabilities that humans can learn to better connect with each other and have self-compassion, which will ultimately lead us to feel worthy. of love and joy. Vulnerability, when you’re out of your comfort zone, is inextricably linked to courage, she argues. “We can measure how brave you are by how vulnerable you are willing to be.”

Since that 2010 Ted Talk, Brown has continued to write and speak extensively on the subject. In 2019, Netflix released her documentary, Brené Brown: The Call to Courage, and she has a popular podcast, Unlocking Us with Brené Brown.

4. The Motivation Puzzle: Daniel Pink

Over 20 million views, 18 minutes

Daniel Pink is the author of several bestselling books on business and behavior. In this 2009 Ted Talk, he examines what motivates people and challenges the common workplace belief that if you reward people well, you’ll motivate them to perform better. He shares a fascinating experiment by veteran psychology professor, Sam Glucksberg, proving that people who were offered incentives to figure out how to tie a candle to a wall so it wouldn’t drip wax got had on average far worse results than those who did not. offered incentives.

Pink argues that “contingent motivations” — “if you do this, then you get that” types of encouragement — often don’t work, especially for jobs that require some degree of creativity. Instead, he says, autonomy, mastery and purpose are the most important factors for improving work engagement. The absence of micromanagement, the ability to progress in skills, and the meaning of work are all far more important than monetary rewards.

5. Celebrate the Good in the World: Dewitt Jones

1 million+ views, 18 mins

Outdoor photographer Dewitt Jones, who has spent more than 20 years photographing for National Geographic, challenges us in this charming talk to look at the world through a positive lens, a “celebration lens” that sees the beauty of the world. “The lens we choose transforms the way we see things,” he says.

Using his own breathtaking photographs, he shows us the beauty of nature from different angles and encourages us to find our own angles and lenses that celebrate the beauty around us. “Creativity is the ability to look at the ordinary and see the extraordinary,” he says. And to do that, we have to consciously adjust our lenses. “Our vision controls our perception, and our perception becomes our reality.”

6. How Great Leaders Inspire Action: Simon Sinek

Over 50 million views, 17 minutes

Simon Sinek, author of the best-selling business book Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, argues that the best business leaders and organizations start with the question “why?”, before “how?” and, finally, “what?”, and that it is this question that makes people love certain brands over others and embrace the causes they love.

He uses a wide range of examples, from the Wright Brothers to Apple. If you like that classic 2009 Ted Talk, you might also like Sinek’s 2014 Ted Talk, Why good leaders make you feel safe, in which he argues that the best leaders are those who create an environment of trust for their teams. .

seven. What makes a good life? Lessons from the Longest Study of Happiness: Robert Waldinger

Over 40 million views, 12 minutes

Robert Waldinger is a psychiatrist, Zen priest and director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken of what makes people happy over the course of a lifetime. The study began in 1938 and followed 238 Harvard students (all men, as women weren’t allowed at Harvard at the time) for nearly 80 years, from when they were young adults until to old age (the cohort included John F Kennedy, who was to become President of the United States in 1961). It also included 456 poor men who grew up in Boston beginning in 1939.

Waldinger points out that for perhaps the majority of young people today, life goals include making money and becoming famous. In fact, the people who will be the happiest are those who have love in their lives and good relationships with those around them. “The clearest message we take away from this 75-year study is this: good relationships make us happier and healthier. Period,” says Waldinger. “Our study showed that the people who did best were those who looked at relationships, with family, with friends, with community.”

The study claims that having someone close to you to rely on helps you both mentally and physically and shows that those who are alone will physically decline faster and die younger than those who are not. “It’s not just how many friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re committed to a relationship,” says Waldinger. “It’s the quality of your close relationships that matters.”

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