5 TED Talks We’ve Bookmarked For A Serious Motivation Boost

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This week on The Style Edit we’re focused on career development. Throughout the week we’ll be dedicating all of our content across social media, our website and our weekly newsletter to various topics surrounding careers and our professional lives. Expect to see plenty of interviews from the archives, tips and tricks around networking, career shifts and finding the right mentor to further your professional progression. We’re kickstarting the week with motivational messages from our favourite TED Talks.

When you hear that someone has done a TED talk, you know they must be legit. Whether or not their subject is directly relevant or of interest to you, it doesn’t matter. Their delivery and the power of storytelling reels you in and more times than not, the topic hides behind it a real nugget of gold that you walk away from feeling inspired, enlightened and significantly more positive about the work week ahead.

Starting the week with a bank holiday feels like a treat at the time but can actually be a real tease. You expect to return to work on the Tuesday feeling refreshed and ready for action. After all, that extra day of the weekend should have solved all those issues of exhaustion that Friday brings with it. For those that didn’t wake up feeling so refreshed, a little encouragement may be all that’s needed to kick the rest of the week into action and make the most of what this four day week can offer you.

There are plenty of tricks to employ to reach the motivational push you need whether that’s an inspiring podcast, locking yourself away with a self-development book, binge-watching videos from your favourite career guru or simply taking ten minutes out of your day to open your mind and immerse yourself in a good TED Talk. Today we’ll be doing the latter.

Check out some of our top five favourite TED Talks to kickstart Careers week on The Style Edit.

Your Elusive Creative Genius with Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert is best known for her 2006 memoir, Eat, Pray, Love. Gilbert believes that through that book, her best work is now behind her but in a bid to combat this scary thought, she looked to the barriers that she could construct between herself and this anxiety that would allow her to continue progressing through her creativity.

Through her TED talk, she takes things back to how ancient Greeks and Romans approached creativity, as a separate entity to the artists themselves. They believed that the artist had a daemon or a genius that helped their work. This technique removed elements of narcissism and personal criticism as the work was not really theirs and so not only could they not take any blame for its success but they also couldn’t take the credit. In her presentation, she poses the question of why can’t we take it back to the same approach to creativity, taking the audience through an analogy using the example of a poem coming to a poet like an approaching train. The poet had to sprint to find a pencil to write it down before the poem passed, never to be seen again.

Gilbert herself uses this concept of an external spirit to keep working through anxiety and the fear that her next book won’t be as good as her last.

Watch the video here.

The Surprising Science of Happiness with Dan Gilbert

Dan Gilbert offers a different route to happiness through ideas expressed in his TED Talk. He argues that our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy and in doing so, humans make poor predictions about what our own bliss looks like. He uses clinical research drawn from psychology and neuroscience to back up his argument and engages the audience through his light-hearted and hilarious delivery, poking fun at human behaviour through pop culture references that we can all relate to.

Dan Gilbert breaks down our understanding of happiness into the two main components, the happiness we stumble upon and the happiness we create to reveal the idea that, “Natural happiness is what we get when we get what we wanted, and synthetic happiness is what we make when we don’t get what we wanted,” he says. “And in our society, we have a strong belief that synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind.”

He argues that the risk to happiness comes when our choices are unbound and when people overrate their choices. Doing so allows the mind to conjure dozens of this-or-that scenarios that keep the brain in a constant search.

Watch the full video here.

The Puzzle of Motivation with Dan Pink

Career analyst, Dan Pink is the author of five books about business, work and management, all of which have sold 2 million copies worldwide. It’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about business.

Within his TED talk, he takes the opportunity to introduce his audience to ‘The Candle Problem’ complete with experimental evidence. While you’ll have to watch the TED talk to watch how the experiment plays out, the basis of it suggests that we should no longer rely on material incentives to boost motivation levels. Instead, we should focus on purpose as motivation. This interesting approach to motivation will not only teach you how to motivate yourself but also how to motivate others.

Watch the full video here.

Got a Meeting? Take a Walk with Nilofer Merchant

Through her TED Talk, Nilofer Merchant suggests a small idea that may have a big impact on the lives and health of busy professionals. She encourages those busy with meetings, to take their next one-to-one session as a walking meeting as opposed to being chained to a boardroom desk. While not exactly revolutionary, it’s a shift in perspective and literal change of scenery that many could benefit from.

As a business innovator, Merchant spends a lot of time thinking about frameworks and strategies, company cultural values and furthermore, the small tweaks that can be made to everyday habits to enhance our lives. On average, people spend 9-10 hours of their day sitting, which is more than an average of 7 hours spent sleeping. When Merchant herself started implementing the walking meeting strategy into her life, she was walking 20 to 30 miles per week and claims it totally changed her life. The fresh air promotes creativity and helps introduce fresh ideas to meetings that otherwise may have been overlooked.

Her motto; “Walk and talk. Walk the talk.”

Watch the full video here.

Every Kid Needs A Champion with Rita Pierson

Rita Pierson worked in education for over forty years. In that time she got to know the education system inside out. She held positions as elementary and special education teachers, junior high school teacher, assistant principal, counsellor, director, testing coordinator, and consultant. Her message revolves around the importance and often overlooked issues of human connection between student and teacher. She argues the connection between them must be solid and academic necessities aside, a teacher’s main role should be to motivate students to become who they want to be. While Pierson directly relates the issue to the relationship between student and teacher, it’s also applicable to any endeavour of our lives in which we have to work with other people. She argues that we must give our professions the best that we’ve got because it matters and whether we know it or not, it can make a profound difference in someone’s life.

Watch the full video here.

Niamh Crawford-Walker

Niamh is a full time fashion and features writer at The Style Edit. Her work has previously appeared in IMAGE magazine, image.ie and Emirates Woman.

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