10 Life-Changing TED Talks That Everyone Should Watch

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Watching a TED Talk is a solid way to pass time, learn something new, or find much-needed sources of motivation, inspiration, and empowerment when things start to feel a little stale.

iDrop’s editorial team has trawled the web for the following ten TED lectures, delivered by thinkers, writers, and academics who specialize in a wide range of fields and disciplines, from memory improvement, to fostering creativity in education, to the social significance of body language. The ideas presented in these lectures are simple, yet thought provoking and worth spreading.

We’ve taken the time to write short summaries of these clips, which you can peruse at your leisure:

1. Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are – Amy Cuddy

Body language can convey everything from timidity to dominance. Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist whose work has explored the power of body language to shape how you are perceived by yourself and others. She and Dana Carney have found that adopting an expansive “power” posture, with your arms and elbows out and chin lifted, for 2 minutes can boost testosterone and reduce the stress hormone cortisol and project confidence. When it comes to leadership, however, she cautions that projecting warmth and trustworthiness can be equally vital.

2. How to Speak So That People Want to Listen – Julian Treasure

Speech is an important skill in everyday life that’s often neglected. In his talk, Julian Treasure, a sound consultant who specializes in improving verbal communication, lists several conversational no-nos, helpful vocal exercises, and tips for communicating in a manner that invites and builds rapport with listeners. He reminds listeners to refrain from engaging in gossip, exaggeration, and needless negativity and encourages them to speak instead with authenticity and empathy.

3. What Reality Are You Creating For Yourself? – Isaac Lidsky

Isaac Lidsky is an accomplished man who’s worn many different hats throughout his life. But it was his life-changing experience of going blind that taught him that the visual reality we see isn’t objective, but in fact a unique, personal, and virtual reality, shaped by ourselves. This insight empowered and taught him that he could shape his own reality in the face of his disability.

4. Do Schools Kill Creativity? – Ken Robinson

Ken Robinson is an education advisor who believes that fostering creativity is equally as vital as promoting literacy in education. He argues that the current education system is lopsided, overemphasizing academic ability while diminishing creativity. In an era where a college degree no longer guarantees employment, Robinson proposes transforming education based on a more holistic understanding of human intelligence that takes its diversity and breadth into account, and doesn’t forget the importance of imagination.

5. Feats of Memory Anyone Can Do – Joshua Foer

Joshua Foer has explored the outer limits of the human memory and found that average people are capable of performing superhuman feats of memorization. Memory athletes use an ancient technique that leverages our innate visual and spatial awareness to memorize anything from long speeches to a list of a thousand numbers by associating them with bizarre images. Fascinatingly, he finds that nearly anyone can vastly improve their memories by building “memory palaces” and learn to become more mindful and aware of their lives in the process.

6. The Power of Introverts – Susan Cain

One in two or three people are introverts. Susan Cain finds that while contemporary culture rewards outgoing personalities and strong social skills, it also needs to give introverts the space to flourish and contribute to society in their unique way. Striking the right balance in our culture between introversion and extroversion, she argues, brings new perspectives into the fold and can yield creative and diverse solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

7. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Angela Lee Duckworth

While teaching math to public school students in New York, Angela Lee Duckworth noticed that those with the highest IQs did not necessarily perform well in her classes. Instead, while conducting research in psychology, she found that grit was the most significant predictor of success above other characteristics, including good looks and social skills. Duckworth advocates teaching grit to children by training them to respond positively to challenges and failure.

8. My Stroke of Insight – Jill Bolte

Jill Bolte is a neuroscientist who had the opportunity to study a stroke firsthand, an experience she describes in fascinating and gripping detail. Over the course of her talk, Bolte meditates on the difference between the left brain and right brain, recounting how losing contact with the left hemisphere of her brain opened her consciousness, expanded her sense connection to the universe and humanity, and ultimately put her in a state of peace and compassion.

9. Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce – Malcolm Gladwell

This story, recounted by Malcolm Gladwell, revolves around the work of Howard Moskowitz, who revolutionized the spaghetti sauce industry when he realized that there is no perfect spaghetti sauce, but rather a range of them. On the back of a few simple and powerful insights about humans, choice, and happiness, Moskowitz proceeded to upend the entire food industry.

10. Why We Do What We Do – Tony Robbins

In this popular talk, self-help guru and life coach Tony Robbins, lists the invisible forces that he believes motivates everyone’s actions. Robbins describes how everything from the need for variety to love, rather than mere self-interest, not only drives our actions but determines the quality of our lives.

Which TED Talk was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below

Featured Image: Ryan Lash

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