Five Ted Talks That Inspire Me

TED was founded as a conference in 1984 by Richard Wurman to bring together three broad fields of discipline-technology, entertainment, and design. From this small event, TED turned into a media organization that included a plethora of leaders in every area and walk of life. These brilliant minds conveyed their passion for what they did, and TED now continues to inspire the lives of millions, whether it be through conference-like talks or YouTube.

I discovered TED through my father, a man that I think should take the stage one day. He has shown me countless talks throughout my life in the hopes of inspiring me to do what I love, and some of the most memorable have stuck with me to this day.

1. Never, Ever Give Up by Diana Nyad I had previously heard of Nyad through the news and entertainment websites. Diana Nyad is a long-distance swimmer, who, in 2013, on her fifth try at age 64, became the first person confirmed to swim 110 miles from Cuba to Florida, without the aid of a shark cage. This outstanding feat was the result of many failures, and in this talk, Nyad discusses her previous attempts and how she felt afterward. Diana moves on to talk about how she accomplished this through her commitment, willpower, and faith. She had run into a variety of obstacles along the way, ranging from sharks to problems with oxygen intake. Diana Nyad gave one of the most inspiring, yet humorous, TED talks of all time.

2. This is What Happens When You Reply to Spam Email by James Veitch When going over the enormous number of TED videos on YouTube, I asked for the input of my friends. One recommendation that I found particularly interesting was James Veitch’s short talk. Now, this talk is entirely different from the one I discussed before. Veitch decides to take the time out of his day, for his entertainment, and supposedly, to stop spammers from bothering others, to reply to junk emails. 

One particular email read, “I AM WINNIE MANDELA, THE SECOND WIFE OF NELSON MANDELA THE FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT. I NEED TO TRANSFER 45 MILLION DOLLARS OUT OF THE COUNTRY BECAUSE OF MY HUSBAND NELSON MANDELA'S HEALTH CONDITION”. James’s reply? 

“Winnie, I'm really sorry to hear of this. Given that Nelson died three months ago, I'd describe his health condition as fairly serious. That's the worst health condition you can have, not being alive.”

Watch this talk for more of Veitch’s excursions!

3. If I Should Have a Daughter…. by Sarah Kay Sarah Kay starts her talk by giving us a taste of spoken-word poetry, or poetry meant to be performed. Her touching poem about how she would raise a daughter took my breath away-she presented reality in such a beautiful and flowing way. Kay has managed to perfect this outstanding art, and she speaks about how she teaches it to both children and adults alike, and how she accomplishes this. To learn more about this poem and how it is written, check out this TED talk.

4. 7 Things to Do Before You Graduate College by Liz Wessel This TEDxRutgers talk compiles a list of common regrets spoken of by college graduates. Liz is the co-founder and CEO of WayUp, a site that many college students have probably glanced at while searching for online job databases. Wessel has received countless awards, including Forbes 30 under 30, Silicon Valley 100, and more. In this particular conference, she provides us college students with a list of things they must accomplish before leaving their beloved school. Check it out for some awesome things to put on your college bucket list!

5. How to Be Happy Every Day: It Will Change the World by Jacqueline Way Way claims to have two jobs in her life that she is dedicated to: she is the founder of 365give, and she is a mom. To her sons, she is a million things, but the one way she stands out from other mothers is to drive to teach her sons to give and be happy. She engages her audience, tells the tale of how her company came to be and has grown since then, and tries to affect others the same way giving has affected her son. This guide will make you truly happy, as it will to others!

TED is the one YouTube channel I recommend everybody subscribe to. Each day, the channel posts videos that touch the heart of millions, and these five talks will get you on your way to becoming a TED junkie!