TED — top 10 ideas worth speading

Approximately two years ago I first came across TED.com, it was on my smartphone and it was a highly recommended app. I don’t know why, but I decided to install it and watch the first video.

It was actually on some research that I didn’t particularly agree with or perhaps didn’t sit well with me! (See the talk here) I just couldn’t stomach the viewpoint presented in the talk.

But that’s exactly why I love TED, from the first video it was challenging me to open my mind and consider other alternatives and opinions. I have had many of my personal paradigms fundamentally altered by those “ideas worth spreading”.

I was asked by a friend to make a “TED top ten” list of my own, probably because I share so many TED talks on Facebook that people don’t have the time to watch them all / bookmark them (if they are even interested!) Thanks Adam for the suggestion!

TED top ten

I’m going to put it out there that for someone who has watched dozens of TED talks it’s hard to reduce them to the top few, but that’s exactly what TED is good at, condensing a powerful message into a short time!

Here are the top ten talks that I feel have personally and fundamentally changed my life and way of thinking. Not presented in any particular order.

#1: Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action (16 700 000 + views (third most watched TED talk))

Do you want to inspire? Do you want your business to be a an inspiring business? “Start with why”! Strike at the heart of what people believe in your business.

#2: Regina Dugan from mach-20 glider to hummingbird drone (1 200 000 + views)

I love this talk! This girl is audacious! As her opening statement she says: “You should be nice to nerds, in fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you don’t already have a nerd in your life, you should get one. Scientists and Engineers change the world” *awkward laugh. Be prepared to see some amazing technology.

Here are some quotes from this one:

“Defy the impossible, refuse to fear failure”
“When you remove the fear of failure, impossible things suddenly become possible”
“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

Why do I love this talk? It wrenches me out of my comfort zone and forces me to be better. She asks some heart wrenching questions to each and every one of us. The only way to learn to fly at Mach 20 … is to fly.

#3 Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity (26 177 000 + views, THE most watched TED talk) & How to escape education’s death valley (3 381 000 + views) & Bring on the learning revolution (4 812 000 + views)

I can’t express well enough how incredible these talks and this man are. It was from these talks that I realised the fundamental flaws in our education system. Again, this directly relates to the previous talk — overcome your fear of failure. I can’t talk about it enough — just watch the talk!

Just to put things in perspective, the most watch talk in TED is the first one above with over 26 million views, and Ken Robinson has appeared at TED at least three times. Yeah, this guy is good.

#4 Bene Brown: The power of vulnerability (14 938 000 + views 5th most watched TED talk) & Listening to shame (3 915 000 + views)

Absolutely brilliant and life-changing thoughts about the importance of embracing our own vulnerability, notwithstanding how uncomfortable that is, because vulnerability is the source of creativity and joy. And in fact, it’s hard in practical situations to distinguish courage from embracing vulnerability.

#5 Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work (7 400 000 + views)

This is a hilarious and brilliant talk. It inspired me to be more grateful to be surrounded by brilliant people as I am privileged to be. Redefine your happiness thresholds and put happiness on THIS side of success, not the other side.

We need to change our formula for happiness and success. See stress as a challenge and not as a threat.

“The absence of disease is not health”

#6 Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20 (6 072 000 + views)

A brilliant, inspiring and highly insightful talk about people wasting away their life during their twenties. These crucial years between 20 and 30 (which I am in ! At the moment) are where we shape the success and future of our lives. Don’t procrastinate personal goals while in your 20s. Don’t kill time.

#7 Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation (10 416 000 + views)

A brilliant and fascinating insight into how we are motivated at work. Autonomy, mastery, purpose. The role of salary / money in work. The key insight is that for complex problems with non-trivial solutions and where the formulation of the problem is crucial, money per se does not correlate with improved performance. The science of human motivation.

“There is a mismatch between what social science knows, and what business does”

#8 Benjamin Zander: The transformative power of classical music (6 088 000 + views)

A brilliant musician and clearly brilliant teacher and speaker, Benjamin Zander somehow persuaded me to love classical music with this talk. His speaking style and sense of humour are highly engaging.

#9 Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days (5 010 000 + views)

Matt Cutts is one of my favourite people — he works in my industry (he works for Google!) and is a very intelligent software engineer. I took his 30 day challenge and applied it in my personal life, I didn’t make all 30 days for my first goal 🙁 BUT, as is made clear in the previous talks, do not fear failure, get up and try again! I look forward to more 30 day challenges in the future!

#10 Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit (4 095 000 + views)

You look at someone playing the piano at a transcendent level. Prodigy? Maybe. Genius? Maybe. Talented? Maybe. But are there not many prodigies, geniuses and talented piano players who do not play at that level? Grit! Endurance! Discipline!

In total the talks I’ve put up here have over 104 million views, I hope that says something about their awesomeness!

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