10 TED Talks to Improve Your Life


by Don Smith

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TED Talks to Improve Your Life

By now, you have probably heard of TED Talks. TED was founded back in 1984 as a conference to discuss Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and has morphed into the go-to medium for learning and inspiration.

These short (18 minute or less) talks have the power to change your life. If you are not already a fan, these 10 TED Talks represent some of the best inspirational, motivational, and educational talks available.  Check these out, these are a great place to start if you are wanting to improve your life!

1. How to Make Stress Your Friend by Psychologist Kelly McGonigal

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

2. Brain Magic by Keith Barry

First, Keith Barry shows us how our brains can fool our bodies — in a trick that works via podcast too. Then he involves the audience in some jaw-dropping (and even a bit dangerous) feats of brain magic.

3. Your Elusive Creative Genius by Elizabeth Gilbert 

Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

4. How to Speak so That People Want to Listen by Julian Treasure

Have you ever felt like you're talking, but nobody is listening? Here's Julian Treasure to help you fix that. As the sound expert demonstrates some useful vocal exercises and shares tips on how to speak with empathy, he offers his vision for a sonorous world of listening and understanding.

5. The Surprising Science of Happiness by Dan Gilbert

Dan Gilbert, the author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.

6. How to Spot a Liar by Pamela Meyer

On any given day we're lied to from 10 to 200 times, and the clues to detect those lie can be subtle and counter-intuitive. Pamela Meyer, the author of Liespotting, shows the manners and “hotspots” used by those trained to recognize deception — and she argues honesty is a value worth preserving.

7. Why We Do What We Do by Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins discusses the “invisible forces” that motivate everyone's actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.

8. The Happy Secret to Better Work by Shawn Achor

We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backward? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk from TEDxBloomington, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually, happiness inspires productivity.

9. The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

10. How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek presents a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers — and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling.

Liked the list?  Don't forget to share!

About the Author 

Don Smith

Happily married with five kids, Smith owns a technology company, has served on the board of directors for multiple companies, and loves playing soccer, hiking, and mentoring.

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