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5 TED Talks to Watch When You’re Ready to Change Your Life

TED talks are one of my very favorite things! I refer to TED talks for encouragement, to learn about a particular topic, and to be inspired. All in all, they are very valuable resources, especially when you’re ready to change your life.

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What is a TED Talk?

According to,

“TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.”

Basically, they are targeted talks presented by subject area experts. They are similar to an episode of a podcast, but they have a visual too because they are given in person.

Why TED Talks?

Why should you spend time watching TED talks? What are the benefits?

1. They are short

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot to do and don’t always have enough time to do it.

As much as I love learning and developing, I don’t always have a lot of time to devote to it. TED talks are all short–18 minutes are less.

TED also allows you to search by the type of talk you want and the length. This is one of my favorite aspects of TED talks. If I know I want a little inspiration, but I only have 10 minutes, I can do that.

2. There is an abundance to chose from. 

TED has over 2,300 talks listed on their website (not including TEDx talks).

3. They are engaging. 

I haven’t watched a TED talk I haven’t enjoyed. Each talk is information-packed and has engaging speakers.

5 TED Talks to Watch When You're Ready to Change Your Life

5 TED Talks to Watch When You’re Ready to Change Your Life

Because there are thousands and thousands of TED talks, we want to help you get a head start and share some of our favorites:

5. How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over by Mel Robbins (a TEDx talk)

This one is the most inspiring TED talk I have watched. Mel Robbins, a CNN commentator and the contributing editor of Success Magazine, gives a blunt and real talk about how our minor choices have a huge impact on our life.

She has a very no-nonsense approach but she also gives very tangible tips on ways we can change the way we think and the way we act to make our lives better.

4. How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek

This is a great talk for aspiring leaders–whether you want to lead in your workplace or in another aspect of your life.

Sinek, who is an author, speaker and leadership expert, introduces the idea that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

He gives real life examples to make his points and walks us through a great exercise to think about our own lives.

Do more: Take Simon Sinek’s Skillshare class on How To Share Ideas That Inspire Action here.

3. Why 30 is Not The New 20 by Dr. Meg Jay

I can’t stop talking about this TED talk and corresponding book. Dr. Jay, a psychologist, does a wonderful job of telling us twenty somethings to take real ownership of our lives and stop waiting to make our lives great.

If you are in your twenties, you have to watch this TED talk. Period. It is amazing and will change the way you think about twenties.

Check out our podcast interview with Dr. Meg Jay here.

Related: The Defining Decade (And Why Your Twenties Are the Best Time For Change)

The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

2. My Year of Saying Yes to Everything by Shonda Rhimes

If you watch Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy or How to Get Away with Murder, you probably love Shonda Rhimes as much as I do.

This talk, which goes along with her book, is wonderful. In one year, Shonda literally changed her life.

She went from being complacent to being joyful, fun and healthy (both spiritually and physically). Shonda talks about her process of saying “yes” instead of “no” and how she transformed her life.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

1. 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation by Celeste Headlee

This TED talk changed the way I communicate and listen to people.

We have endless conversations, but do we really think about how we communicate? I didn’t until I watched this TED talk.

If you adopt some of these practices, it will make your conversations more robust which can deepen your personal and professional relationships.

5 TED Talks to Watch When You're Ready to Change Your Life

Do more: In Joseph Grenny’s class, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, you’ll become a better conversationalist. Take it here

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to create an account (you can do it through Facebook) or download the app and check out more TED talks.

With an account, make it a goal to watch TED talks more regularly or start to take notes on what you learn.

Already watch TED talks? Let us know which talks are your favorite and why!

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About the Author

Jessica Sharp

Jessica Sharp is passionate about empowering underserved and minority communities, diverse representation, and brain education. Jessica is the Founder and Chief Educator of Sharp Brain Consulting which works with public service agencies to provide education about the brain and its effect on organizational outcomes. Additionally, she is on the leadership team of Meals on Wheels in her town of Greenville, SC. She is completing a Masters of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri. Upon her completion, she will attend William James College to obtain a Doctorate of Psychology. Follow her on twitter at @sharpjes.