When we’re younger, the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” doesn’t really phase us. Without any preconceived notions or anxiety, we aspire most loudly to just about everyone that we want to be everything, from the likes of an astronaut to a zoologist. Yet as the years go by, the practicalities of life and everything in between can often keep our path stagnant and hinder our true calling.
There’s no better time than now to dive into what you want most for yourself and prepare for a life less ordinary — all it takes is a little change in your thinking. As a month riddled with optimism and resolve, unleash your creative, fearless mind and ignite your passions as we share a collection of the very best TED Talks to help you power through the seasons and drive resolutions forward.
The Day I Stood Up Alone
In a TED Talk as timeless as it is poignant, photographer and activist Boniface Mwangi highlights how there is no room for complacency in our world, and it is action that inspires our passions. After planning a public demonstration against corruption in Kenya with friends and community, Mwangi suprisingly found himself standing alone. Despite being beaten and threatened, it was in that moment he was no longer afraid and found a great importance in his actions to stand up for what he believes in. Through establishing his own purpose, Mwangi echoes, “There are two most powerful days in your life: the day you are born, and the day you discover why.”
Inspiring a Life of Immersion
We all want to find our purpose in life, but where exactly do we start? In an inspirational TED Talk that highlights passion and cause, author and nonprofit founder Jacqueline Novogratz discusses her experience with philanthropy and reminds us how it is our birthright to immerse our lives with others. With a focus on the actions that count, we can create a tremendous impact and inspire the masses through humility and sacrifice. Not only is this insightful talk a window into human nature, but it is a rousing call for leadership and courage.
Should You Live For Your Resumé…Or Your Eulogy?
Writer and cultural commentator David Brooks argues that within each of us are two selves: one who craves success and builds their resumé; and the self who values community and building relationships — values that encompass a great eulogy — the foundational document of our legacy and how people remember us. However, is it possible to balance the two? In an incredibly illuminating TED Talk, Brooks explores the importance of understanding both aspects of ourselves to achieve balance so that we don’t feel disconnected and unfulfilled.
Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling
Remember that question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Well, the reality is, a lot of us are still unsure, yet encouraged to focus on just one path. In an enlightening TED Talk, writer and artist Emilie Wapnick argues that this belief is outdated as some of us are actually “multipotentialites,” individuals who have a wide range of interests and jobs over one lifetime. With the way the world is, your career and life don't have to take a traditional path. Wapnick suggests it’s okay to change direction entirely and pursue passions that arise in order to find your true self. Ask yourself what really drives you and incorporate these pursuits without fear because this builds character.
How to Find Work You Love
Do you love your job? Like really, truly love it? So often, we settle for silver in hopes to make a living and lead a more practical reality. But if you’re feeling directionless in your career, founder of Live Your Legend, Scott Dinsmore’s TED Talk of self-reflection is for you. Dinsmore shares how people can find their passion and build a productive, valuable career around work that feeds purpose. In his talk, he outlines three steps to finding your true calling such as becoming a self-expert, defining your values and learning from experience, which provides an enormous collection of information to what makes us happy. When you finish these three steps, Dinsmore suggests it becomes easier to create your own definition of success and figure out what work truly satisfies that description.
Living Beyond Limits
Life isn’t easy and many of the things we each go through is something no one could ever understand. But it’s these challenges that have the power to build our core, ignite desire for greater achievements and inspire meaning. After bacterial meningitis took her legs when she was 19 years old, Amy Purdy shares in her TED Talk how she struggled with immense depression but was able to beat it when she finally accepted her new reality. When she wasn’t able to find prosthetics that would allow her to snowboard, she built her own because life was meant to live without limits. Today, she’s a world champion snowboarder, and encourages all of us to take control of our lives.
Try Something New for 30 Days
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but just haven’t as yet? Google Engineer, Matt Cutts shares in a short, insightful TED Talk that by devoting a little time every day, you can inspire new ambitions and passions. As it turns out, 30 days is the right amount of time to not only add or subtract a habit to improve and motivate your lifestyle, but it’s a self-confidence builder that helps you set and achieve goals efficiently.