“Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it” – The Top 10 inspirational TED Talks to prepare you for 2013

Charmaine Li 2012-12-20 9

Steve Jobs

It’s never too early to start preparing for a new (and better) you – so why not start now? With only a couple of weeks until the New Year, it’s the perfect time to reflect on accomplishments, set new goals and create a roadmap for the upcoming year. To help, we’ve rounded up ten must-watch TED Talks so you’ll be rolling into 2013 inspired and motivated to tackle your resolutions.

3 secrets to leading a truly awesome life  – Neil Pasricha

In a world where we are flooded daily with news about national tragedies, global conflicts and economic problems, it’s important to be reminded about the simple joys in life – like wearing warm underwear from just out of the dryer, eating cookies like a Cookie Monster or getting in a line just before it gets really long. Neil Pasricha, author and blogger behind 1000awesomethings.com, gives an uplifting and inspirational presentation about overcoming hardships and appreciating the little things.

“You will never be as young as you are right now. And that’s why I believe that if you live your life with a great attitude, choosing to move forward and move on whenever life deals you with a blow, living with a sense of awareness of the world around you, embracing your inner three year-old and seeing the tiny joys that make life so sweet and being authentic to yourself, being you and being cool with that, letting your heart lead you and putting yourself in experiences that satisfy you, then I think you’ll live a life that is rich and is satisfying.”

Disruptive wonder for a change – Kelli Anderson

In the startup world, the number of companies who claim to be “disruptive” is akin to the number of founders who own an Apple product. Kelli Anderson, an artist and designer, explains the concept of “disruptive wonder” and how she redesigns ordinary objects to function in a way that leaves us reassessing our expectations of reality. For instance, always thought paper was silent? Think again. Anderson reveals the hidden talent of paper by creating a cool paper record player wedding invitation. Startups, take heed.

“The world is full of order that doesn’t necessarily deserve our respect, sometimes there is meaning, justice and logic present in the way things are and sometimes there just isn’t. I think the moment we realise this is the moment we become creative people. It prompts us to mess things up and do something better.”

Happiness helps you work better – Shawn Achor

Many of us believe that we need to do good work to be happy, but could it be the other way around? In this high-energy talk, researcher and psychologist Shawn Achor uncovers interesting insights on human potential and argues that positivity allows our brain to work “harder, faster and more intelligently.”

“If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences what we now call a ‘Happiness Advantage’, which is your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed. Your intelligence rises, your creativity rises, your energy levels rise. In fact, what we’ve found is that every single business outcome improves.”

Your body language shapes who you are – Amy Cuddy

Whether you’re speaking at a meeting, talking at a conference or pitching to investors, body language is a crucial part in how others perceive you. Amy Cuddy, a Harvard researcher, gives a moving talk on how nonverbal language can affect how other people think and feel about you as well as how you think and feel about yourself. Start practising those power poses because next year is the year you become more powerful!

“Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.”

A kinder, gentler philosophy of success – Alain de Botton

Career anxiety seems to be a common phenomenon in modern society, but why? Author Alain de Botton argues that one of the main reasons we suffer from career crises is because – wait for it – we’re surrounded by snobs. In examining the ideas of success and failure, he shares interesting insights on why we don’t envy the Queen of England and why work-life balance is nonsense.

“Let’s accept the strangeness of some of our ideas. Let’s probe away at our notions of success. Let’s make sure our ideas of success are truly our own.”

Your elusive creative genius  – Elizabeth Gilbert

Telling people that you work at a startup can be met with concerned responses like: Aren’t you afraid the idea isn’t good enough? What if your business fails and you wasted all your time? Author Elizabeth Gilbert received similar reactions both before and after the success of her book Eat, Pray, Love. In this talk, she discusses the impossible expectations facing people who choose to embark on creative ventures and offers advice on how to deal with daunting pressures.

“Is it logical that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work that they feel they were put on this Earth to do?”

Why we do what we do – Tony Robbins

What motivates you to act? How do you make your dreams materialise? What is it that shapes you? Leadership psychology expert, Tony Robbins, asks these questions (and many more) so we, as listeners, look within ourselves to find the “invisible forces” that drive us to do what we do. He believes that in order to understand human needs and contribute more, it is crucial to explore where we are today. Plus, Al Gore makes a special appearance.

“Because we all know, corny as it sounds, the secret to living is giving. We all know life’s not about me; it’s about we.”

The power of vulnerability – Brené Brown

Spending more time with your computer than with real human beings? Then it’s probably time to reflect on the quality of your personal relationships. With the rapid rise of technology, our computer literacy has drastically improved while, it seems, our emotional literacy has stagnated.  In this talk, research professor Brené Brown shares funny anecdotes that will inspire you to spend more time thinking about the way you interact with your loved ones.

“You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions. You cannot selectively numb. So when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness. And then we are miserable, and we are looking for purpose and meaning, and then we feel vulnerable, so then we have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin. And it becomes this dangerous cycle.”

How to make work-life balance work – Nigel Marsh

“How to maintain a healthy work-life balance” is a popular topic amongst business types (Google it), especially entrepreneurs. Nigel Marsh, author of Overworked and Underlaid, speaks about the dangers of putting our lives in the hands of “abattoirs of the human soul” aka commercial corporations and how to enforce the boundaries we want in our life.

“If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just not like their idea of balance.” 

How to live before you die – Steve Jobs

No list of inspiring talks would be complete without Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement address at Stanford University. While not officially a TED Talk, the deeply touching and inspirational speech is included in TED’s “Best of the Web” list and has over 15 million views on YouTube. A must-watch even if you’ve already seen it before.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Happy New Year!

Image credit: Flickr user acaben

For related posts, check out:

“The riskiest thing you can do now is be safe” – The Top 10 TED talks for startups
Berlin: what’s missing from our startup scene and 8 ways we can step it up
Want to pitch to the likes of Bill Gates? “World-changing entrepreneurs” wanted from Germany

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