Our Top Ten TED Talks

Meg Timbrell
Content & Social Media Manager
5 min read

"Ideas worth spreading." - TED Talks

There are now 3500+ TED Talks, all free to view, and covering an enormous range of topics, aiming to inspire and educate viewers.

Whether you're in need of a confidence boost, a radical career change, or just a nudge in the right direction, browse though our top 10 TED Talks below. In no particular order, we've included talks that are a variety of different lengths, ranging from a quick 4 minutes to 20 minutes of viewing pleasure.

Why some of us don't have one true calling | Emilie Wapnick

For those who can't figure out their passion (12 mins)

Emilie Wapnick is a writer and artist who, throughout this talk, describes people she calls 'multipotentialities' - those who have a range of interests and jobs over one lifetime - not just one focus. This is a brilliant Ted Talk if you feel as though you have lots of interests but can't narrow them down.

She starts her talk off with:

"Raise your hand if the question 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' has caused you any anxiety."

'Squiggly' careers and the end of the traditional path | Helen Tupper & Sarah Ellis

For changing mindsets about the 'traditional' career path (9 mins)

Squiggly Careers founders Sarah Ellis and Helen Tupper share their experience of, despite what you're told as a young person, how career journeys aren't linear and are in fact 'squiggly'.

We're also big fans of their Squiggly Careers podcast. If you're a podcast lover, check out our '10 of the best podcasts to inspire you today' for more podcasts like this.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable | Luvvie Ajayi Jones

For overcoming your fears (10 mins)

Witty, engaging and inspiring, this TED Talk by Luvvie Ajayi Jones highlights that even if sometimes knowing what your dream job is as a child - in her case, a doctor - this can all change as you become an adult. She recounts the year in her life where she decided to let go of all of her fear and try the things out that terrified her the most, and highlights the impact this has had on her.

"I'm not going to let fear rule my life. I'm not going to let fear dictate what I do. And then all of these awesome things started happening. Dominoes started to fall."

The power of introverts | Susan Cain

For introverts... and extroverts! (19 mins)

Susan Cain wonderfully depicts what it means to be an introvert in a world that's designed for extroverts, as well as encouraging introverts to harness the power of their introversion, and for extroverts to value those in their life who are introverts.

"When it comes to creativity and leadership, we need introverts doing what they do best."

The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown

For embracing your true, authentic self (20 mins)

You may have already heard of Brené Brown, American researcher, story-teller, professor, lecturer, and author. She's written a range of books, and hosts her own podcast, Unlocking Us.

In her powerful TED Talk, Brené Brown talks about the 'courage to be imperfect', 'the compassion to be kind to yourself first and then to others', and the willingness to let go of what you should be, to fully embrace vulnerability.

How to know if it's time to change careers | Chieh Huang

For those wanting to make a career change (4 mins)

As part of a TED series called 'The Way We Work' - which we'd recommend checking out too - entrepreneur Chieh Huang discusses his inability to know what he wanted to do growing up. We love the short and snappy style of this series, so if you're low on time and want a quick video, this is the TED Talk for you. Huang provides brilliant, easy-to-follow advice for those wanting to make the leap into a new career.

"I was not one of those kids who knew exactly what I wanted to do when I was growing up."

The power of time off | Stefan Sagmeister

For reimagining the role of work and breaks (17 mins)

Every seven years, designer Stefan Sagmeister closes his New York studio for a yearlong sabbatical to rejuvenate and refresh his creative outlook. He describes his experience visiting Bali and the inspiration he draws from his time off. He references others who have done well while on sabbaticals, including Danny Gilbert (psychologist), and Ferran Adria (Spanish chef).

"We spend in the first 25 years of our life learning, then there is another 40 years that's really reserved for working, and then tacked on at the end of it are about 15 years for retirement. I thought it might be helpful to basically cut off five of those retirement years and intersperse them in between those working years."

Grit: the power of passion and perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth

For inspiring grit and determination (6 mins)

Angela Lee Duckworth describes the research carried out to understand why some people succeed more than others. She draws from her experience as a teacher, questioning why some students, despite being more talented on paper, don't do as well as others due to a lack of commitment and grit.

"It wasn't good looks, physical health, and it wasn't IQ. It was grit. Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Grit is having stamina."

The secret to great opportunities? The person you haven't met yet | Tanya Menon

For pushing you out of your comfort zone (14 mins)

Tanya Menon speaks about the importance of expanding your social circle by breaking your habits and daily routines, and that networking in this way can lead to the best kinds of opportunities for your career and life generally. She discusses fighting our 'sense of choice', stepping out of our comfort zone, to mix with people outside of our usual social circles.

How great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek

For inspiring yourself and others (18 mins)

Simon Sinek, a British-American author and inspirational speaker, has written five books, including Start With Why and The Infinite Game. In this TED Talk, he expounds his idea of the 'Golden Circle' - 'Why', 'How' and 'What' - as a way of inspiring others.

Got a story for us? Drop an email to megan.timbrell@sortyourfuture.com to get your voice heard! We love hearing from you.

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