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6 TED Talks You Should Listen to For Inspiration and Empowerment

6 TED Talks You Should Listen to For Inspiration and Empowerment

Lately I have been trying to build healthier habits and, overall, improve my current lifestyle. I had been feeling somewhat anxious about my life, not really sure where it was going and not really content with myself either. Eventually, I thought it was time I finally did something —I 

started off with the basics, like working out and limiting the amount of social media I consumed. I then, like many of us, got into crystals. I bought rose quartz, amethyst, and carnelian, just to name a few. I also began journaling and writing down things I wanted to manifest in my life. 

Now, these new habits did help me feel better and gain some self-love, but I was still feeling anxious. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon a TED Talk I had listened to a while back that I realized hearing advice from others is very comforting and empowering. So, another habit I have recently incorporated into my routine is listening to TED Talks. Here are six of my favorites: 

1. How To Build Your Confidence - Brittany Packnett 

Having self-confidence isn’t easy, it often fades. Some days we feel amazing and full of confidence, other days we don’t feel our best and just want to curl up in our beds all day. Confidence also comes in different forms. Some of us are more confident with our intelligence and others are more confident when it comes to a sport they play, but, either way, no one is always 100% confident all the time. I often struggle with confidence and it is something I am trying hard to work on. Listening to Brittany Packnett’s TED Talk has helped me on my journey towards self-confidence. Something she said that was eye opening to me was that some people have more confidence because they fit societies preferred type of leadership. For example, people who are more confident in terms of beauty are more confident because they fit the western beauty standards—people who don’t embody these standards may therefore not feel as confident. I recommend listening to this TED Talk because it really talks about the importance of giving yourself a voice and building your self confidence. 

2. A Guide to Believing in Yourself - Catherine Reitman

Catherine Reitman, otherwise known as the creator of the show “Working Moms,” talks about her journey as not only an actor but also as a woman/mother in the industry and how that has impacted her confidence. Catherine mentions that building her confidence to go after what she wanted wasn’t easy and it required a lot of work. She often had to make decisions where she chose between what she really wanted or what seemed safe. In this TED Talk, Catherine emphasizes the importance of finding our voice, and when we do, taking it into consideration— because you’ll never know if an opportunity is for you unless you “enter the arena.” 

3. How to Gain Control of Your Free Time - Laura Vanderkam 

In this TED Talk, Laura talks about how we prioritize our time. This isn’t about time management, but more so how we use our free time or are able to make free time under certain circumstances. Laura gives an example where one of her clients had water damage at her home so she had to make room for seven hours in her schedule so cleaners could come to her house to remove her carpet. Her client was able to make that time because it was needed, but if that accident had not happened her time would have been spent doing what she normally does. Laura’s point is that sometimes we don't prioritize ourselves or our time because maybe it’s not really a priority. We can and will make time for the things we really want. 

4. How to Figure Out What You Really Want - Ashley Stahl 

Now if you’re going to listen to any TED Talk on this list I highly recommend this one. I think many young adults can relate when it comes to what we want to do with our future. I know I’m still figuring it out and this is one of the reasons why I have been really anxious lately, especially as a college senior. But listening to this TED Talk has eased some of that anxiety. Ashley Stahl begins her talk by recalling the time her dad received a phone call saying she was kidnapped and her father, powerless, was willing to do anything to get her back safe. This turned out to be a scam for money. Comparing this situation to life, Ashley says that we often kidnap ourselves from the lives we want because we think that this other path is going to help us survive and pay our bills. Ashley says to ask yourself, “In what ways are you kidnapping yourself from the life you actually want?” For example, sometimes we choose a major we don’t even like because we think it will make us money. Ashley talks about how we often give away our power and into fear just to meet our needs in the world, which in turn disconnects us from who we really are and want to be. To figure out what you really want, she recommends doing what she calls a “U-turn,” where you do a self-audit, follow your freedom and pay attention to what feels good to you, and take action.

5. There’s More to Life than Being Happy - Emily Esfahani Smith 

Before listening to this TED Talk, I thought I would know I made it in life when I am happy with it. But listening to Emily Smith talk made me realize that you can be happy and still feel some discontent with your life. She says the real key is having a meaningful life. So, how does one create a meaningful life? Emily describes a meaningful life in four categories. First, there is finding a sense of belonging with people who truly value you for who you are. Second, there is a purpose, which she makes clear is not the same thing as getting that dream job. Purpose in life is less about what you want and more about what you can give and using your strengths to serve others. Third, is transcendence, this can happen through writing or looking at art. It’s about finding those little moments that make you forget about your problems. The fourth pillar is storytelling—you can change the way you view your story, or life, by reflecting and seeing what you want to change. 

6. The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong - Amy Morin 

If you’re someone who struggles to see the positive side of things or, like me, who often feels like they can’t catch a break and throws one too many pity parties, then I recommend listening to this TED Talk by Amy Morin. She encourages you to change your perspective and let those unhealthy beliefs go. Something that was hard to hear from this TED Talk, but was also helpful, was when Amy says that expecting success or that the world owes us some prize for our hard work will only lead to disappointment. We need to accept that life isn’t fair. But also no matter how much you suffer, don’t think you're doomed to suffer forever. The world is what you make it so don’t be afraid. This was helpful to hear because sometimes it’s easy to blame the world on things that are going wrong in our life or immediately feel defeated when instead we should accept it and move on. Now, Amy still encourages a good cry, but her point is to not let it take up your whole day or week. It is good to feel those emotions but, again, we need to move on. We can only become mentally stronger by giving up on bad mental habits like comparing ourselves to others which causes us to lack confidence and view ourselves as less. As Amy puts it, “The only person you should compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday.” 

Finding inspiration or motivation isn’t always easy, but sometimes it helps to listen to others who have felt the same way you have. These women presented the knowledge they gained from their own experiences in hopes to inspire and empower others to go after their dreams and work towards something greater. This could be working towards a better version of yourself, someone who wants to improve their well-being and mental state and be motivated to go after what they really want. Whether you decide to listen to all or even one of these Ted Talks, I hope that this article has helped even one of you.