If you don't have the means to hire a coach to help you learn how to tackle your goals, don't panic. For every improvement you want to make, there's a TED talk out there for you.
If you're ready to live a better life, check out the 10 TED talks below. You'll walk away with all the inspiration and practical steps you need to live your best personal and professional life.
1. I want to get better at interviewing.
If the thought of walking into an interview is enough to bring on the cold sweats, Daniel Levitin's talk is for you. A neuroscientist by training, Levitin understands better than most how the brain reacts under stressful situations. In his talk, he walks the audience through a personal story that made him want to explore how he could minimize the potentially disastrous outcomes of stressful situations. Thanks to a conversation with a Nobel Prize winner, he realizes there are things he can do to accomplish just that. Watch the talk, and you'll soon find yourself walking into an interview room with a new perspective and a better chance of getting the job.
2. I want to be less afraid of asking for help.
Watch: Are You A Giver Or A Taker
Are you a giver? A taker? A matcher? According to organizational psychologist Adam Grant, these are the three types of people in every workplace. In this talk, Grant explains the differences between the three types and makes a case for why we need to create situations in which givers can become receivers. This talk will convince you that there's nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, it'll show you that it's better for you and your work.
3. I want to hire the best candidates.
I've written before about why the best candidate might not become the superstar employee. This talk from Regina Hartley expands on that notion. In her talk, she distinguishes between two types of potential hires: the Silver Spoons and the Scrappers. The Scrappers, she says, are the ones who have persevered in the face of obstacles; they refused to give up even when the odds were stacked against them. If you're looking for the candidates who will perform during moments of adversity, Hartley will show you how to spot the good hires.
4. I want to learn from the most innovative companies.
If you want to learn more about how companies innovate, Linda Hill's TED talk is required viewing. Hill spent a decade studying different companies in different industries on different continents. What she found was that the most innovative companies figured out a way to manage for collective creativity; they created spaces for people at all levels of the organization to innovate and solve problems. Listen to her talk and you'll see how companies like Google and Pixar empower their employees to make decisions and work collaboratively.
5. I want to use my time wisely.
Struggling to make better use of your time? Laura Vanderkam's talk will help you look at time in a new way. Instead of saying "I don't have time for that," Vanderkam argues that we should shift the language to something more accurate: "That's not a priority." She then gives tips on how to figure out your priorities and take small, firm steps in the direction of your goals. It's full of invaluable insights for those looking to take control of their time.
6. I want to be more positive.
Speaking of priorities, Shawn Achor would tell you that becoming more positive in the present moment should be near the top of your list. As he explains in his TED talk, this "happiness advantage" is the key to a better personal and professional life. When you start rewiring your brain to think positively, you'll be smarter, more creative, and more productive. His talk will give you the motivation and the tools to make that happen.
7. I want to have a great career.
Given the title, it might seem counterintuitive to recommend this talk. But Larry Smith knows all of your excuses, including those that will keep you from achieving greatness. That's why this is exactly the talk you need right now. Instead of coddling the audience, Smith uses his time to share some tough love: You are standing in your own way. You are not taking the steps necessary to get ahead. This talk will inspire you to look at the excuses you're making and figure out how to renew your commitment to greatness.
8. I want to embrace my curiosity.
By now you probably know how valuable it is to develop a sense of curiosity. But if you still haven't embraced your inquisitive nature, you'll want to after you watch Emilie Wapnick's talk. In it, she explains that many people have competing interests, which makes them "multipotentialites." Instead of forcing yourself to narrow your interests, Wapnick will show you how your multipotentiality is an advantage. By the end of the talk, she'll convince you to follow your curiosity where it leads.
9. I want to inspire those around me.
There's a reason this is one of the most popular TED talks of all time. Simon Sinek shares a profound discovery he made a few years earlier: that the why behind what you do matters more than the what itself. If you want to find out what Apple, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Wright brothers have in common, watch this talk. It'll give you valuable insight into how you can inspire those around you.
10. I want to get better at getting better.
If you're working hard but still not seeing any progress, you're not alone. In his talk, Eduardo Briceño explains how we operate in two zones: the learning zone and the performance zone. Most people spend their time in the performance zone, which hinders progress. By refocusing our attention on the learning zone and employing deliberate practice techniques, we'll see substantial improvement. If you're finally ready to make gains in your life, this talk will help you dig deep into what you need to do.