In need of a little inspiration this week? TED Talks are more than informative, educational speeches. There are some highly inspirational ones, too.
1. A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit (Judson Brewer)
Pay attention to how many times you click over to another tab while reading the rest of this article.
According to Judson Brewer, you’re probably not going to make it more than halfway through this list without getting distracted. That’s because you’ve developed a habit—a trigger, behavior and reward—of needing to check your email or Facebook feed to feed your short attention span.
Brewer’s talk uses the brain’s evolutionary means of forming a habit to teach you how to turn around and break it.
2. Keep Your Goals to Yourself (Derek Sivers)
Research revels some bad news for those who tend to rush straight to their friends the moment they have a new goal.
It turns out that those who voice their goals to those around them are much less likely to achieve them. Psychologically, if you have a goal and seek satisfaction in telling someone else, your brain thinks you’ve already crossed it off your bucket list.
Sivers explains the psychology behind why telling someone your goal is a bad idea, contrary to popular belief.
3. The Puzzle of Motivation (Dan Pink)
When you’re given a task and a deadline by which that task must be completed, how do you motivate yourself to start working?
Multiple research studies have looked deeper into the concept behind why we do what we do and what convinces us to do it. In reality, the things we think are enough to incentivize us don’t work at all.
Pink’s talk tackles the concept of motivation, and shows us how we can use a little science to teach ourselves to be more productive.
4. How Frustration Can Make Us More Creative (Tim Harford)
You may have never noticed that the realization that a problem needs solving rarely dawns on you until you’re too frustrated to continue going on the way things are.
Harford, in this talk, tells the story of how a pianist, disappointed with the instrument he was expected to use to entertain a concert hall’s worth of an audience, managed to create musical magic by creating something new out of something barely usable.
It is the moment you are convinced you cannot change your surroundings when you realize you are the only one who can.
5. 7 Rules for Making More Happiness (Stefan Sagmeister)
If you have ever blamed your circumstances or your environment for your level of happiness, you are not alone.
Surveys have found many surprising reasons for how happy or unhappy we are throughout our lives. Things like gender and climate don’t affect happiness as much as meaningful relationships do, for example.
In his talk, Sagmeister lays out the ideal design for a happier life, perfect for those searching for joy wherever they are.
6. Your Elusive Creative Genius (Elizabeth Gilbert)
Success is tricky. When you work hard to achieve something, and you achieve it, you are forced to think: “Well. What next?”
The author of international bestseller Eat, Pray, Love never expected her work to grow into the sensation it became. That alone caused her to rethink her entire career, to question whether she would continue to engage in her creative endeavors even if she never published anything else as widely successful again.
Gilbert brings up the question of whether fear and suffering is a necessary sacrifice for choosing a life steered by creative thinking.
7. Be An Opportunity Maker (Kare Anderson)
How often do you seek out someone you don’t think you have anything in common with, so the two of you can work together to achieve a common goal?
Anderson, who grew up shy and not speaking nearly as often as observing others communicate with their words, learned at a young age that people like to talk a lot … about themselves. They like to talk about their accomplishments. Things they have achieved without help.
This talk tosses around the idea that when we come together and exchange words, words that lead to actions that will help other people instead of ourselves, we can accomplish extraordinary things.
8. How Great Leaders Inspire Action (Simon Sinek)
Why do some people, even those who seem to share so many of the same qualities as those around them, achieve so much more than others?
Sinek has a theory that people and organizations who are much more innovative and successful than others have something very important in common with one another—something they do not have in common with the less innovative, successful people of the world.
His talk uses this theory to show you what it takes to be the kind of leader that can motivate and inspire change all around you.
9. Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling (Emilie Wapnick)
Are you “one of those people”? One of those people who can’t figure out what to do with your life … because you want to do everything?
Emilie Wapnick used to hate being asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. Not because she didn’t know her interests, but because she had too many. There wasn’t a subject in school she didn’t like. She loved working with computers. She was in a rock band as a teenager.
She didn’t want to be just one thing. She figured out you don’t have to.
Her talk looks deeper into what it means to want to be challenged and fulfilled throughout our lives. We don’t have to be one thing. We don’t have to choose one true calling.
10. The Danger of Hiding Who You Are (Morgana Bailey)
It turns out that labels, especially when it comes to categorizing people, are much more dangerous than you once thought.
Bailey, an outgoing, carefree student, one day fell prey to the notion that she needed the façade of acceptance more than she needed her pride in individuality. She realized that hiding who you are is a habit that surfaces only when you let yourself believe everyone else’s way is better than your way.
In her talk, Bailey explores the value of identity, and what happens to us when we try to hide the most unique and definitive portions of ourselves.
Do something that inspires you today. Do something that inspires someone else, too.