Two years ago, I sat in front of my computer enthralled in a TED Talk by Matt Cutts on “trying something new for 30 days.”
During the talk, he discussed how he rode his bike to work for thirty days in a row. He then challenged his audience to find their own 30 day challenge, something that was realistic and achievable.
He posed the question, during the challenge, “What are you waiting for?”
I pondered his question. And also asked myself one more question, “What can I do for thirty days?”
I shrugged my shoulders. Then I spotted a blank piece of paper with a pencil sitting on top of it. And then I drew a picture. In that moment, I committed to a 30-day challenge where I intended (and did!) draw one new picture each day for thirty days.
If I said that this TED Talk didn’t have something to do with The Hobby Hoarder Quest I’d set out on only five months after watching Cutts speak for the first time, I’d be lying.
This TED Talk re-opened my eyes to the possibility of changing my life through setting my own realistic and achievable goals. For a while, I had stopped doing that—had stopped trying new things—had stopped feeling motivated—had stopped challenging myself.
Over the years, I have accumulated a TED Talk collection in my web browser history that I continually go back to when I’m searching for a spark of inspiration.
If you aren’t sure what TED is—it’s a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. TED believes “passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimate the world.” So they’ve “Built a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.” (Ted.com)
Today, I thought I’d share ten of my favorite inspiring TED Talks in hopes you’ll feel a spark of inspiration as well.
All of the talks listed below and more can be found at www.ted.com
What are you waiting for? Starting watching! (Oh and please, if you have a favorite TED Talk—share it in the comments—I’m always curious to see what other people are watching J )
1. Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days
“So here’s my question to you: What are you waiting for? I guarantee you the next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not, so why not think about something you have always wanted to try and give it a shot for the next 30 days.”
2. Aimee Mullins: The Opportunity for Adversity –
“There is adversity and challenge in life, and it’s all very real and relative to every single person, but the question isn’t whether or not you’re going to meet adversity, but how you’re going to meet it.”
3. Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnarability
“We must believe we are enough: “Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, “I’m enough,” then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”
4. Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius
“Aren’t you afraid you’re never going to be able to top that? Aren’t you afraid you’re going to keep writing for your whole life and you’re never again going to create a book that anybody in the world cares about at all, ever again?”
5. Ric Elias: The 3 Things I learned While My Plane Crashed”
“Brace for impact. // I challenge you guys that are flying today, imagine the same thing happens on your plane — and please don’t — but imagine, and how would you change? What would you get done that you’re waiting to get done because you think you’ll be here forever?”
6. Richard St. John: Success is a Continuous Journey “When we stop trying—we fail”
“I learned that success isn’t a one-way street. It doesn’t look like this; it really looks more like this. It’s a continuous journey. And if we want to avoid “success-to-failure-syndrome,” we just keep following these eight principles, because that is not only how we achieve success, it’s how we sustain it. So here is to your continued success.”
7. Ron Gutman: The Hidden Power of Smiling
“The good news is that we’re actually born smiling. // Smiling is one of the most basic, biologically-uniform expressions of all humans.”
8. Larry Smith: Why You Will Fail to have a Great Career
“You’re afraid to pursue your passion. You’re afraid to look ridiculous. You’re afraid to try. You’re afraid you may fail. Great friend, great spouse, great parent, great career. Is that not a package? Is that not who you are? How can you be one without the other? But you’re afraid.
And that’s why you’re not going to have a great career, unless — unless, that most evocative of all English words — unless. But the unless word is also attached to that other, most terrifying phrase, “If only I had … ” “If only I had … ” If you ever have that thought ricocheting in your brain, it will hurt a lot.
So, those are the many reasons why you are going to fail to have a great career, unless … unless.”
9. Caroline Casey: Looking Past Limits
Do you know how much of us all pretend to be somebody we’re not? And you know what, when you really believe in yourself and everything about you, it’s extraordinary what happens // We are extraordinary, different, wonderful people.”
10. Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die
I’m cheating here—cause it’s not technically a TED Talk, but the first time I ever saw it—was when I was carusing the TED website—so I’m counting it:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something–your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever–because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.”