7 TED talks to change how we see ourselves

For so many of us, the past two years have made us ask important questions about our lives. Are we in the right job or career? Are we living up to our highest potential? Are we using our time – and our lives – in the right way?

I recently took a deep dive into TED and TEDx talks that address these questions. If you’re looking for a reset in your own life or just a spark for self-reflection, these talks provide it. Whether you’re trying to gain control of your time, find your passion, or make a more significant difference to others, these are seven of my favorites.

See them for yourself, and I hope that you, like me, will walk away inspired, fired up to see the world in a new way, and ready to take positive action.

Almost all of us feel too busy these days – and we think we know the reason: too many meetings, emails and more.

However, Dorie Clark—a professor at Duke University and author of the bestseller The Long Game—shares research that suggests there may be other factors that keep us trapped in our endless busy loop. Clark believes that we will only be able to break free once we understand these often hidden factors. She gives a powerful lecture that helps us become clear about what matters.

Talking about money is one of the last workplace taboos in Western society. However, David Burkus, author of Under New Management, argues that we need to break down these barriers and discuss pay at work.

Taking this step provides a more transparent and equal workplace and allows us to spend less time worrying about others and more time focused on self-improvement. This lecture has even more resonance after the pandemic, in the face of “The Great Resignation” and so much job turnover.

From an early age we are asked, “What are you passionate about?” Most people don’t realize that passion is not a plan; it is a feeling, and feelings change.

This talk by author Terri Trespicio, who recently published a book on the same subject, helps us free ourselves from the oppressive belief that we must find our one supreme passion and cannot do anything meaningful until we do. Instead, she gives us permission to focus on solving the problems that matter in our lives now—knowing that passion often follows commitment and mastery.

Here’s the fun part about our schedules. We everyone feeling busy. But when there is an emergency, we make time for it. That reality implies something important. We have more control and flexibility than we imagine; we just don’t exercise it.

Time management expert Laura Vanderkam shows us that it’s not that we don’t have enough time—it’s that we’re not prioritizing the right things, and we can change that.

What are you best at in the world? How can you stand out in a world full of noise and competition? It’s a question many of us struggle with.

Entrepreneur and author Mike Michalowicz provides a useful framework. Mike argues that each of us is already the best in the world, provided we lean into our authentic selves and talents.

It seems like such an innocent and friendly question: “How can I help?” But author Laura Gassner Otting says it is wrong to ask. Often we are limited in our perspective and driven by our ego.

Instead, she says, we can achieve better results—for ourselves, others, and the world—by shifting from asking, “How can I help?” to “What must happen?”

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Someone has a problem and your first inclination is to offer advice – whether that’s what they’re looking for or (more often) not. That’s a mistake, says Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Advice Trap.

When we offer unsolicited advice, we’re quietly telling someone that they can’t get the answer without us. In the process, we lose our connection to our humanity, empathy and sense of vulnerability. Rather than offering advice, Bungay Stanier encourages us to be curious a little longer.

Expert voices enable us to process our thinking

It is always a good idea to take a step back and reflect on our lives. Often, however, a thoughtful voice can help us see how we can better align our values ​​with our actions.

The seven lectures listed above can provide a pivot for that reflection. They all offer ideas and techniques that are likely to change how you think about yourself and act in the world. See one of them – or all of them! – today and enjoy watching your perspective change in real time.

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