Encouragement, empowerment, and inspiration. TED talks live up to their slogan “ideas worth sharing.” With so many fresh perspectives, so many unique trains of thought, so many powerful messages around the world, a person could spend days listening to TED talks or TEDx talks and still not even scratch the surface of the wealth of information TED has bestowed upon the world.
There are many of you reading at home wondering ‘what in the blazes is a TED talk?” A description, quoted directly from the TED website explains: “TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).” They tend to be thought provoking speeches used to ignite motivation, passion, drive, or simply to share interesting discoveries. A TEDx event is similar but is independently run and often focuses on the community. Bottom line: they’re speeches that make you think.
There are so many TED talks, it was difficult to single out only five that people needed to see. This will likely run as a series of posts. The following list was compiled with the hope that one or two of these will send readers down the rabbit hole that is TED and appreciate the wisdom these orators have imparted to the world. Enjoy.
1. Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
This one is a better known TED talk but it deserves to be. The information provided in Amy Cuddy’s TED talk is amazing. This TED talk discusses why it is important to be mindful of body language. If you have 21 minutes of free time, do yourself a favor and watch this one. Why you should know about this? Because Amy Cuddy’s research and anecdote is encouraging and would be a very useful tool to have on anyone’s journey to success or self improvement. Plus, it’s a great topic to have in your dinner conversation repertoire. Even if you never watch a TED talk again, this is the one you need to familiarize yourself with. Strike a power pose and push play.
2. The Art of Asking
Dresden Dolls and Grand Theft Orchestra lead singer Amanda Palmer gives a compelling TED talk. She shares her experiences as a street performer and later as a couch surfing musician, how making connections with other human beings has helped her along the way and why people shouldn’t be afraid to ask for things. Why should you know about this? If you’re a fan of Dresden Dolls, you already know why should have a look at this. If you’re someone who hesitates to ask for things because of pride or shame or some sense of integrity, this is a perspective you likely haven’t considered. Roughly 14 minutes, the girl anachronism herself is sure to inspire you.
3. Ze Frank’s Web Playroom
You may or may not be familiar with Ze Frank’s popular web series “True facts” and if you are not, a quick YouTube search is in order. According to his Wikipedia page, Ze Frank is “an American online performance artist, composer, humorist and public speaker.” Each time Ze Frank graces TED fans, he leaves us laughing and somehow a little smarter at the same time. Why should you know about this one? While all of Ze Frank’s TED appearances are enjoyable and worth watching, Ze Frank’s web playroom gives viewers those warm, fuzzy feelings that may improve your day.
4. The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers
New York times writer, Wharton Professor, and self-proclaimed “Precrastinator” Adam Grant reveals surprising discoveries of original thinking. Why should you know about this talk? If you consider yourself to be a procrastinator or someone who panics too soon, this TED talk will be enlightening. The creative spark lies in an unexpected place. So pull up a seat and discover that original thinking sweet spot within you.
5. Strange Answers to the Psychopath Test
How do you prove you’re sane when you’re in an Insane Asylum? Jon Ronson truly made his TED talk a work of art with the use of creepy musical tones and appropriately unsettling speech inflections to make his speech stand out as beautiful, dark, and bizarre. He shares an experience that may seem benign at first but it can chill you to the core when you think hard enough about it. You may want to watch this with the lights out, though you’ll likely not want to watch this with anyone else around. Watch if you dare.
Do you have a favorite TED or TEDx talk? Please comment below with your suggestions! We may include them in a future follow-up post.