TED might stand for “Technology, Entertainment, Design,” but the educational mini-sessions are known to do more than just inform the audience. They inspire, provoke emotions and ignite change. With more than 1,500 talks since its beginning in 1985, finding the best of the best can be overwhelming. Don’t worry. We’re here to help. Here are 15 of our favorite TED talks that are “ideas worth spreading.”
1. Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability
Brené Brown is a research professor who has spent the last decade studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame. In her humorous talk she shares the personal insight she gained while exploring the concept of shame, and she leaves us with the challenge to say to ourselves, “I’m enough” — a simple statement with big impact.
2. Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight
Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few intellectuals come across — she was able to study her own brain as she experienced a stroke. Listen to her remarkable story and watch as she takes the audience on her emotional journey. Oh, and make sure to check out the real human brain she’s holding.
3. Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are
Amy Cuddy is a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, where she studies the effects of nonverbal behavior. Her presentation is packed with visuals as she explains how your body language not only influences how others see you, but how you see yourself. According to Cuddy, “Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.”
4. Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness
Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, questions the notion that we’ll be bummed if we don’t get what we want. Instead he says we can build up our “psychological immune system” to help turn that frown upside down. He says, “Natural happiness is what we get when we get what we wanted, and synthetic happiness is what we make when we don’t get what we wanted. In our society, we have a strong belief that synthetic happiness is of an inferior kind.” Oddly enough, the biggest enemy to happiness is the freedom of choice.
5. Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days
Thinking of trying something new, but keep putting off getting started? In his three-minute TED Talk, Matt Cutts offers his formula for accomplishing new goals. He recommends committing to trying a new habit (or subtracting a bad one) for 30 days to see how you like it. It’s short, it’s achievable and you’re more likely to succeed.