We could waste a whole day curled up on the couch watching TED Talks. Of course, it wouldn’t really be “wasted” time — fascinating, engaging and informative, a good TED Talk can transform your day. Heck, there are even some TED Talks that can change your life.
So here you are: a collection of our favorite TED talks which do just that: inspire, transform, educate and, most importantly, make you laugh out loud.
1. Rethink your health: learn about epigenetics and the future of our genes
“Epigenetics and the influence of our genes” with Courtney Griffin
Do you know what your epigenome is? While our DNA may lay the blueprint for our cells, our epigenome (“a set of instructions which sit down on top of your DNA”) tells our body how to read the prints and, most importantly, fill in the important details. And while we cannot change our genes, we have the power to affect our epigenome. Geneticist Courtney Griffin explains this complex yet fascinating topic with humor and clarity — be prepared to be mesmerized.
2. Learn about your potential through the experience of a brain researcher’s own stroke
“Stroke of insight” with Jill Bolte Taylor
“Imagine,” asks brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor, “what it would be like to be totally disconnected from your brain chatter that connects you to the external world.” Almost 20 years ago Jill experienced just that: a stroke. Not only did the experience have a profound impact on her understanding of the brain, it also demonstrated to her possibilities of how we can experience life. “We are the life-force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds. And we have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world.” A must watch.
3. What do you actually know about autism spectrum disorder?
“Autism — what we know and what we don’t know yet” with Wendy Chung
“These days, one in 88 children will be diagnosed with Autism,” says geneticist Wendy Chung. As a parent, Autism has the potential to strike fear in our hearts. Widely misunderstood and profoundly impacting on every life it touches, this talk from Wendy Chung gives deep insight into the spectrum of the condition and current developments.
4. Get really, really motivated
“How great leaders inspire action” with Simon Sinek
“People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.” It’s a mantra that’s changed the way marketers approach their business ever since Simon Sinek’s groundbreaking ideology was released six years ago. Sinek’s informative talk will help you understand how to be the best possible leader you can be on a project of any size.
“We follow those who lead, not for them, but for ourselves. And it’s those who start with “why” that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.”
5. Embrace vulnerability for true joy
“Power of vulnerability” with Brene Brown
“When we work from a place, I believe, that says, ‘I’m enough,’ then we stop screaming and start listening; we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”
Brene Brown believes in embracing the power of vulnerability, because, as she explains, it’s where the ‘good stuff’ in life truly lies. In this highly entertaining TED we experience her years of struggle in her research, share the joy and the frustration, and gain valuable insight into how to live life fully.
6. Get more grit in your life
“The key to success? Grit” with Angela Lee Duckworth
Want to know what will make you truly exceptional in this life? It’s not a high I.Q., it’s not power and authority, it’s not money, and it’s certainly not a high Instagram following. It’s grit. Angela Duckworth explains why.
7. Get creative about life’s obstacles
“Living Beyond Limits” with Amy Purdy
“Our borders and our obstacles can only do two things: one, stop us in our tracks, or two, force us to get creative.”
At 19-years-old, Amy Purdy lost both her legs below the knee. And now she’s a pro snowboarder and founder of the Adaptive Action Sports. In this talk she shows us how to draw inspiration from life’s obstacles. Warning: Have a box of tissues nearby.
8. Get more sleep for more success
“How to succeed? Get more sleep” with Arianna Huffington
“The way to a more productive, more inspired and more joyful life is getting enough sleep.”
Arianna Huffington is an advocate for women sleeping their way to the top — literally. She knows from experience the importance of shut eye: she once fainted from exhaustion, hit her head, broke her cheekbone and got five stitches in her right eye. In this short talk she humorously explains the importance of sleep and how it can be one of the most simple improvements you can make in your life and career.
9. Quell your fears about creativity
“Your elusive Creative Genius” with Elizabeth Gilbert
“It’s exceedingly likely that my greatest success is behind me. Jesus, what a thought! That’s the kind of thought that can lead a person to start drinking gin at 9am. And I don’t want to go there, I would prefer to keep doing this thing that I love. So the question becomes HOW.”
After writing a bestseller which then turned into a blockbuster hit, Elizabeth Gilbert gets personal about what’s holding her back on her next project: her fear of creativity. If you’ve ever walked away from greatness wondering how on earth you’re going to replicate it again, this TED Talk’s for you.
10. Fake it till you become it
“Your body language shapes who you are” with Amy Cuddy
Did you know there’s a two minute practice you can use everyday to change the course of the rest of your life? Watch this TED Talk to learn all about it. And then, pow!, at the 16 minute mark the course of Amy’s TED Talk takes a radical and interesting turn that will again bring on the waterworks and inspire you to chase after your wildest dreams.
“And so I want to say to you, don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it. Do it enough until you actually become it and internalize.”