11 Ted Talks You Need To Watch Right Now
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Politics and Activism

11 Ted Talks You Need To Watch Right Now

Hand-picked talks from some of the most inspirational scholars in the world.

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11 Ted Talks You Need To Watch Right Now

For those of you unfamiliar with TED Talks and TEDx events, this is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas in the form of short but powerful talks. They have a global following, and many of their talks have entertained upwards of one million viewers. Their website features thousands of talks, ranging from topics like neuroscience and sociology to identity and relationships.

I spent a rainy day perusing the videos on the TED website to find what I believe to be the best TED talks for people in their late teens and early 20s. These talks vary in content, touching on ideas such as our addiction to the internet, our fear of failure, and the way we make decisions.

These talks inspired me, taught me, and felt specific to this chapter of my life. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.

1. Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?

My friend Mia showed me this talk after one of my rants about how frustrated I am to live in the digital age. In her talk, Turkle discusses the way cell phones, online personas, and the decrease in face-to-face communication have changed our generation. This is a great video to watch if you feel you’re getting sucked into your iPhone or Facebook page—take a step back and listen to Turkle explain why this is detrimental to our generation.

2. David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence

This talk is about the fear of judgment that we all face, and the way it has hindered our ability to be creative. Starting at the educational level (remember getting points off when you did a math problem “your” way?) and working to the professional level, Kelley tells us how to get back to a place of pride for original work. This talk is great if you’re feeling stuck in a creative rut or you need the confidence to go forward with an untraditional idea.


3. Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability

As college-age students coming off the tail-end of adolescence, we often have a complex about putting on a front to protect ourselves. Totally valid—high school was rough. However, Brown makes the case that our greatest strength can lie in vulnerability. Believing that “I am enough” can change your entire outlook on life.

4. Steve Jobs: How to live before you die

Jobs’ famous (over 8 million views!) Stanford University commencement speech urges us to push ourselves and never settle. It's the standard for inspirational “go forth and be great!” speeches. Click here to watch.

5. Monica Lewinsky: The price of shame

Yes, the infamous Monica Lewinsky, a.k.a. President Bill Clinton’s mistress. In this fascinating talk, she elaborates on how her mistake (which she made when she was only 22 years old) caused her a lifetime of shame and public harassment. She talks about finding the strength to overcome her image, and calls on us to stop our culture of humiliation.

6. Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve

Dweck talks about not seeing our failures as failures, but rather as opportunities for improvement. This talk is perfect if you’re feeling a little shaky in your career or schoolwork—it will motivate you to return to the drawing board and try again.

7. Laura Trice: Remember to say thank you

I’ll be the first to say it: our generation has a little problem with entitlement. How could we not? If we want something, it’s most likely literally at our fingertips (did I mention I’m fed up with technology?). However, Trice reminds us that gratitude is important for making the people you love feel valued and special.

8. Guy Winch: Why we all need to practice emotional first aid

Our generation hates it when other people see us as “over-emotional.” I know I’ve cried in a bathroom or two to avoid a confrontation. Winch talks about why this is unhealthy, and how we need to start treating our emotions, just like we go to the doctor when we have a broken leg. At this age, we are so obsessed with appearances and rising to the top, but it’s crucial that we take a step back and check in with our inner selves from time to time.

9. David Brooks: Should you live for your résumé… or your eulogy?

This short and sweet talk touches on the balance we seek between professional success and inner success. This one’s good to watch if you’re feeling swamped with work or feel like you’re losing sight of what matters most to you.

10. Ruth Chang: How to make hard choices

Our 20s are a pivotal moment in our lives—we are moving on from the comfort blanket of education, thinking about lifelong careers, and looking for a partner. In a talk that “could change your life,” Chang tells us how to make difficult choices, celebrating them as “precious opportunities.” This talk is perfect for—you guessed it—making a tough decision.

11. JK Rowling: The fringe benefits of failure

We are afraid of failing, and why shouldn’t we be? Everything these days is bigger and better—colleges expect applicants to have 4.0s, perfect SAT scores, and a long list of extracurriculars. In her Harvard commencement speech, Rowling explains to us why failure is important to help us grow in ways we couldn’t imagine. Click here to watch.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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