TED Talks appeal to millions of viewers looking to expand their intellect and satiate curiosities about everything from neuroscience to leadership to public policy.
Each speaker can talk for a maximum of 18 minutes, making the speeches easy to digest in a short amount of time. The speakers typically all do cutting edge work to address some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Watching TED Talks can enhance both personal and professional development. More importantly, they can open our minds to new ideas and frames of references.
In this post we will highlight just a few of the best TED talks to watch now that can enhance your career, creativity and leadership skills.
How Great Leaders Inspire Action
How does Apple seem to out-innovate their competition year after year? Why were the Wright Brothers first in flight when other research teams possessed better talent and funding?
Author Simon Sinek explores the phenomenon of what comprises great leaders in what he calls the golden circle.
All organizations know what they do, some know how they do it, but very few know why they do what they do. Why does your organization exist? What is your cause or belief? All effective leaders think from the inside out and start with they why. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shares a life hack on how to boost confidence simply by adjusting our posture and body language. She argues that guarded poses such as crossing our legs or hunching our backs can actually diminish our confidence.
By standing or sitting in a posture of confidence, we can “trick” our brains into feeling as such. As professionals, non-verbal communication can impact our chances of success in job interviews, negotiations and presentations.
Do Schools Kill Creativity?
British author, Sir Ken Robinson, delivered one of the most popular TED Talks of all time, with more than 53 million views, on the theme of how schools can nurture - or stifle - creativity.
He argues that creativity is just as important as literacy in education. Universities design systems in their own image designating academic achievement in specific subjects as the hallmark of success.
One of the unfortunate outcomes of traditional education is that it often stigmatizes mistakes. If you hesitate out of fear of being wrong, then how can you come up with anything original?
Why 30 Is Not The New 20
Meg Jay, psychologist and author of The Defining Decade, discusses why acting intentionally in your 20’s is so important for the course of one’s life. Jay calls this, “claiming your 20’s”. This includes romantic relationships, professional development and health habits.
Around 80% of life’s defining moments take place by age 35. The brain’s second and final growth spurt occurs in the 20’s. If there’s something you want to change about yourself, the 20’s is the time to do it! Jay encourages all 20-somethings to claim what she coins “identity capital”.
How To Speak So That People Will Listen
Writer Julian Treasure demonstrates the art of speaking to make people tune in. He begins by listing the deadly speaking habits that actually detract people’s desire to listen, such as negativity, gossip and dogmatism.
There are four cornerstones of positive speaking: honesty, authenticity, integrity and love (HAIL). He discusses the importance of tone, pitch and timbre when speaking and how to warm up before delivering a speech.
Your Elusive Creative Genius
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of 'Eat, Pray, Love', discusses the concept of creative genius as something everyone can possess. The Renaissance marked a paradigm shift that placed individuals in the center of the universe. It was the first time a person could be a 'genius', rather than someone who experiences instances of 'geniusness'.
The pressure for artists who attain tremendous success for a given piece (or album, or book) to continue the same momentum of significance can often lead to anguish.
Gilbert argues this is simply too much pressure for the fragile human psyche. This TED talk is personal, inspiring and forces listeners to rethink about creative genius from an innately human perspective.
The Power of Vulnerability
Research professor and author Brené Brown has inspired millions through her books, lectures and appearances on the subjects of leadership, authenticity and vulnerability. This beautiful TED talk has attracted more than 36 million views.
She emphasizes that people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they are worthy of love and belonging. It is what separates people who feel worthy from those who feel isolated.
We tend to numb vulnerability in the modern world. When we isolate negative emotions such as grief, shame or disappointment it can often lead to destructive behavior or numb other positive emotions such as joy or gratitude. The key is to be authentic and to let ourselves be vulnerably seen.