by Louise Brace
TED talks have become a source of great inspiration in recent years. They give us an insight into so many of life’s great questions and conundrums: How great leaders inspire; why we do what we do; the science of happiness, and why looks aren’t everything. They introduce us to new technologies and amazing feats of the mind and body.
Spending an hour a week watching TED talks is not only enjoyable, it’s also a great form of encouragement and motivation, challenging us to think creatively. They can also simply teach us how to live a happier life.
Here are six that have shaped the way I think about education, work, technology and life.
Do schools kill creativity, Sir Ken Robinson
My absolute favourite TEDTalk. Sir Ken Robinson, educator, speaker and author, discusses why we should be creating an education system that nurtures, not kills, creativity in our children. The speech covers a subject very close to my heart: living in a country where all creative subjects have been taken out of the national curriculum. It’s funny, touching and incredibly uplifting. If only Ministers of Education across the globe used it as a template for how to create an education system for the future.
Why it’s time to forget the pecking order at work, Margaret Heffernan
Why superchickens and high achievers aren’t necessarily your highest performers! An amusing and very insightful talk by writer and entrepreneur, Margaret Heffernan, on why the culture of helpfulness is central to success and core to creating successful teams.
Employing people who strive to be the best and outperform their colleagues, doesn’t create an environment for success. In fact it’s the opposite. Margaret tells us why the teams that have social empathy for each other, help colleagues out and work together longer, are the most successful.
The best stats you’ve ever seen, Hans Rosling
From the archives of TED-Ed, Hans Rosling delivers an incredible 19 minutes of statistics that completely debunk our preconceived ideas about child mortality and the developing world. He discusses how developing countries are now home to both the poorest and richest people, and how we completely underestimate the tremendous change in developing countries, certainly in terms of social change. Insightful stuff.
How great leaders inspire action, Simon Sinek
In this TED talk, Simon Sinek asks: Why some leaders and organizations have the ability to inspire greatness and others don’t? Why some are more creative and innovative, when they have the same access to talent, consultants and media, as their less innovative competitors? His discovery, that they all think, act and communicate the exact same way, which happens to be the exact opposite to everyone else, is perfect simplicity and yet genius.
Why we have too few women leaders, Sheryl Sandberg
Women systematically underestimate their own abilities. I am guilty as charged. In this TED talk from 2010, Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, author of Lean In and founder of the Lean In Organization, discusses why less women reach the top of their career, compared to men and gives three ways to aim and reach the top.
The talk is great fun, but searingly close to a disappointing truth. Six years on, and the figures discussed here back in 2010, have not changed greatly. One of the home truths that Sheryl discusses is the fact that men always attribute their success to themselves: “Why was that a success? Because I’m Awesome!” Women, on the other hand, nearly always attribute their success to external factors.
Forget Wi-Fi. Meet the new Li-Fi Internet, Harold Haas
One for techies and fans of The Internet of Things. A short, but oh so sweet presentation on a breakthrough technology that uses off-the-shelf solar cells and LEDs to provide Internet access. Li-Fi will be at least 100 times faster than Wi-Fi and as it uses already existing infrastructures, it’s almost energy neutral. It has the potential to bring internet access to more than 4 billion people, who live in places where the infrastructure can’t support it. Needs little introduction, just watch.
What is your favourite Ted talk? Why don’t you share it below and we’ll publish a reader’s digest of best TED talks!
Photo: Liam Martens (Unsplash)