5 Ted Talks That Will Change Your Life

Ted Talks. You've most likely seen them in class when your teacher didn't feel like teaching. While you may be tempted to look at your phone or talk to your friends about your weekend or what you’re going to wear tomorrow night, do not take this resource for granted. Ted Talks are some of the best sources of quick, interesting, and relevant information. I have seen dozens of Ted Talks, most good but some great. Here are 5 quick Ted Talks that will help you learn about how to be better in school, friendships, relationships, and life in general. 

1. Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are, Amy Cuddy

Time: 20 Minutes      

Helpful for: Job success, confidence, school, social life

In one of the most viewed Ted Talks of all time, Amy Cuddy discusses how body language and form can change not only how people view you, but how you view yourself. Cuddy presents a study on something she calls "Power Posing", which explores how your body language can shape how you feel. The question Amy wanted to answer is: "Do our non-verbals govern how we think and feel?" She observed MBA students in the classroom and noticed how there are powerful and powerless people. Through observation and studies, Amy concludes that 2 minutes in a "Power Pose" can actually enact significant changes on your feelings and behaviour. Amy takes the controversial idea of "fake it 'til you make it," and proves that "fake it 'til you become it" actually works. This idea can impact the way you succeed in job interviews, your participation in class, your confidence in your social life, and more. Learn how "tiny tweaks [can lead to] big changes" with Amy Cuddy's talk on body language.

2. The Danger of a Single Story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Time: 18 Minutes       

Helpful for: listening skills, social life, communication

Chimamanda Adichie discusses her misjudgments in her own life by only hearing and judging one perspective of something. Growing up in Nigeria, she admits how even as a child, she was quick to judge someone who was poor as all that they were. Chimamanda explains how we have to be careful not to take the first or any one perspective of a country, person, debate, or story that we hear because it is never the entire truth. I watched this in my English class in grade 10 during our journalism unit. Ever since, I have noticed how in my everyday life, I too am guilty of judging someone or something based off of one thing I was told. This is a lethal habit. It is the root of all gossiping, bullying and judgment. It is so important that in this day and age, we take everything we hear or see online with a grain of salt because we will never hear the entire story from just one person. Chimamanda's talk emphasizes the importance of perspective when hearing or telling stories, empathy, and how we view one another. 

3. The Power of Vulnerability, Brené Brown

Time: 20 minutes

Helpful for: personal growth and understanding, empathy, relationships, friendships

Brené Brown presents a shocking revelation: being vulnerable is key to empathy and human connection. Vulnerability usually holds a negative connotation. As competitive beings, we never want to let our guards down or show that we are weak. Brown shares her personal struggle of coming to terms with the fact that being "whole-hearted", as she calls it, is essential for connecting with others. She emphasizes the personal sense of love and belonging and how people with a strong sense of that actually feel worthy of love and belonging. It's hard to sum up the importance of this talk, so watch it and you will learn. Brené Brown will teach you the importance of vulnerability, what that means, and how to encompass it. It will change the way you value yourself, your relationships, and human connection in general.

4. What Makes a Good Life? Lessons From The Longest Study on Happiness, Robert Waldinger

Time: 12 minutes   

Helpful for: relationships, friendships, self-love

Robert Waldinger discusses the longest life studies in existence and what it can tell us about relationships. Robert explains why we need to have quality over quantity when it comes to friends, as well as how close satisfying relationships actually help us live longer and healthier lives. We need to immerse ourselves in community while also surrounding ourselves with great people. In high school and university, this principle is extremely important. There are so many times in your life where you might find yourself in toxic friendships or labouring relationships. This talk will reinforce why we need better relationships to survive. By being in fake friendships or bad relationships, we are shortening our lives one day at a time.

5. How To Make Stress Your Friend, Kelly McGonigal

Time: 14 Minutes   

Helpful for: stress control, health, school, productivity

In this Ted Talk, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal tells us about how she has gone against everything she has ever preached to her patients. We have all experienced fluctuating levels of stress throughout our lives. However, Kelly admits that she has changed her entire opinion on stress. Through 4 different studies presented, Kelly walks us through the benefits that stress has on our bodies if we change how we think about stress. It is a survival mechanism that we have all learned to hate. However, if we instead started viewing stress responses as a positive, we can actually reap the benefits of stress. As university students, we are especially familiar with stress. Stress is detrimental if we let it be a strong negative force on our lives. Learn how to make stress your friend and start living a healthier stressful life with this Ted Talk.