4 Must-Watch TED Talks for Productivity, Success, and Relationship-Building

Over the summer, I spent some time watching various TED Talks all centered around the themes of inspiration, productivity, business, creativity, and success. There were four TED Talks in particular that gave me a different and refreshing perspective on business, all with creative messages that are applicable to my every day work, life, and interactions. I've compiled what I found to be the most important messages below - make sure to click on the titles to watch the full talks! 

Jeff Bezos: What matters more than your talents

"It's harder to be kind than clever."

"Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?"

This TED Talk, delivered by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, explores the important notion of thoughtfulness and kindness in a world where we look smarter and cooler when we choose to be clever. Sure, being clever might make you seem witty and smart in the moment, but is it worth it if you're hurting someone else? This is definitely a good thought to remember regardless of if you're working in the office or sitting around the dinner table with family and friends.  


Tina Roth Eisenberg: Don’t Complain, Create

"Confidence is about yourself, while enthusiasm is about something else. Confidence is impressive, while enthusiasm is infectious. Confidence is serious, while enthusiasm is fun."

"'What is your superpower?' All the people who were somewhat successful in their life could answer the question right away. It seems like they were super self-aware of what their personal superpower was."

This talk, given by Swiss designer and entrepreneur Tina Roth Eisenberg, covered a wide range of topics, including confidence, personal strengths, entrepreneurship, and finding inspiration. When discussing confidence versus enthusiasm, she made a strong point about bringing some kind of enthusiasm to whatever you do. If you're not excited and interested about what you're doing, why are you doing it?

When talking about personal strength, Tina's advice was to "find your superpower"! People who are successful know what they are good at, and why that brought them success. Being self-aware of your personal strengths can lead you to discover a profession or activity that can positively enhance your life!


Rilla Alexander: Without the Doing, Dreaming Is Useless

"Of course, there's always going to be another idea that looks better, but that's because I'm not working on that idea."

"It's a lot of work. It takes me a really really long time. But it's much more satisfying than procrastinating."

Graphic designer and illustrator Rilla Alexander shaped her talk around her book "Her Idea". This talk really resonated with me because I often begin projects with fresh and exciting ideas, but once I begin actually working on my ideas, I inevitably find out that they are much more difficult to develop and implement than I originally thought. Once I start losing steam, the easiest thing to do is to just let go of whatever I am working on, and move on to the next new and exciting thing. However, Rilla makes a great argument about sticking with your idea and not giving up on it. Any idea other than the one you are working on is going to seem more exciting, more creative, more fun—but that's because you're not working on that other idea. Developing anything takes a lot of work, and a lot of time. However, instead of procrastinating and eventually giving up, it's much more satisfying to tough it out and work through the difficulties - it'll be even more satisfying when you finally complete a full idea!


Simon Sinek: If You Don’t Understand People, You Don’t Understand Business

"Trust is not a checklist. Simply doing everything you say you are going to do does not mean people will inherently trust you. It just means you're reliable."

"What are you doing to help the person next to you? Wouldn't you want them to do that for you?"

Motivational speaker and marketing consultant Simon Sinek emphasizes the importance of building personal relationships, not just for business, but for anything you do in life. After watching his TED Talk, I thought a lot more about how my actions influence and affect the people around me. "What are you doing to help the person next to you?" This question by itself is something that we are all aware of, even if it's just in the back of our minds - we should try to help others whenever possible. But when adding a second part to this question—"What are you doing to help the person next to you? Wouldn't you want them to do that for you?"—it immediately feels different. Yes, I would want them to do that for me. This realization in itself has motivated me to intentionally reach out to help others, and as a result, my relationships have become much more fulfilling and satisfying.

If you find any of these messages inspiring or relevant, I would highly suggest watching the full TED Talks!