What are you afraid of?
This question is one that holds back many people from their ultimate potential.
Whether you are an entrepreneur who is fearful of taking the next step, a professional who is scared of changing careers or a single mother afraid of the struggle to make ends meet, every person has fears that hold them back from doing the things they want to do in their lives.
The TED and TEDx stage has had close to 100,000 talks with ideas that are worth spreading. The people who have had the opportunity to be invited to speak have overcome fear, adversity and all the other obstacles that every person faces, then walked onto the stage to spread their message to the world.
From my experience as an entrepreneur, columnist and influencer, I see the fears of extremely smart people who have immense talent on a daily basis. Though talented and unique, these fears are holding them back from greatness. Sometimes it even holds me back! That is why I decided to curate this list of the best TED Talks that, if you take action immediately, will help you in overcoming your fears.
These are 10 inspiring TED Talks that will help you overcome your fears.
1. What I learned from 100 days of rejection | Jia Jiang
At the age of 14, Jia Jiang saw Bill Gates speak. He fell in love with the idea of running a company. Like most young people, he had a big dream. Jiang's in particular was to buy Microsoft by the time he was 25. He sent his parents a letter stating what he wanted to accomplish. However, by the time he was 30, he didn't even start his entrepreneurial journey. Instead, he felt stuck at his position as a marketing manager at a Fortune 500 company.
Jiang decided it was time to try to become an entrepreneur, but wanted to quit after his first rejection for investment capital. Something clicked for him and he decided to document his journey of being rejected for 100 days. Watch what Jiang learned to overcome his fear of rejection and the one word that could turn a no into a yes.
2. Why You Should Let Your Fears Guide You | Leonard Kim
Leonard Kim spent his life, up until he was 28 years old, taking flight or freezing up when his fears appeared. This left him in a home without electricity and with an eviction notice shortly afterwards. The only way for him to recover was to stop running from his fears. He realized that instead, he had to let his fears guide him. Discover how you can let your fears guide you with his three step process in this talk.
3. What Fear can Teach Us | Karen Thompson Walker
Imagine being out at sea, 10,000 miles from home and 1,000 miles from the nearest scrap of land, when a sperm whale hits your boat and you begin to see your ship fill with seawater. What would you do? Karen Thompson Walker talks about how in English, fear is something that is conquered, fought and overcome, but presents an idea on reframing how you see fear. A concept she calls unintentional storytelling.
Walker outlines how fears and storytelling are structured the same way, then leaves you asking the same question. What will happen next? In this talk, she teaches you how to read your fears, study them closely and translate fear into preparation and action.
4. How to Not Get Chased By A Bear | Ryan Foland
You have probably heard the age old adage about the bear that finds you and a friend in the woods. The way to survive is to simply outrun your friend right? It's a solution, but is it a practical one?
Ryan Foland believes that proverbial bears are chasing people in all aspects of life, whether it be business, relationships or in your personal life. These bears aren't bears, but they are stressors that trigger your fears. Once you are able to identify your stressors, you will be able to save your body from the instinctual evolutionary reaction to fight or flee. Watch this talk to discover how to reframe how you see the bears in your life.
5. Smash fear, learn anything | Tim Ferriss
Earlier in my life, I adopted Tim Ferriss' rule of having permission when introducing people. This talk covers a different concept that incorporates his fun adventures and anecdotes. They get to the heart of one simple question. What is the worst that could happen?
Fears, even though unique to each person's situations in life, are a normal part of life. You can't let your fears hold you back, because overcoming your fears can give you the greatest satisfactions in life. Think about it. What really is the worst thing that could go wrong? Using Ferriss' approach, you can find the courage to do what scares you the most. Watch this video to discover his process to smashing fear.
6. Success, failure and the drive to keep creating | Elizabeth Gilbert
When Elizabeth Gilbert was sitting down and thinking about what to write for her next book after Eat, Pray, Love, she was scared she would never be able to write another book that would please anybody. She felt she had no way to win and wanted to quit the game, but that would require her to give up her passion of writing. Gilbert knew that she needed to find a way to have her creativity survive her own success.
Early in her career, after facing rejection for over half a decade, Gilbert told herself that she was not going to quit, that she would make it home. For her, home meant to continue to be a writer, because she loved writing more than she loved herself. Finding her way back home as soon as possible was how she was able to overcome great failure -- and great success. Learn how you can discover your way back home when you're facing an extremity in your life.
7. Reprogramming your brain to overcome fear | Olympia LePoint
Olympia LePoint starts her talk by counting down from 10. The space shuttle breaks the barrier of the earth. She helped launch shuttles into space 28 times in her life up to the moment she gave her talk. LePoint takes you back to the moment she was 10 years old, when after a heated argument, her classmate puts on a ring and hits her right in the face. The doctor tells her that she's lucky -- if the punch had been any higher, she could have lost her eye.
After sharing the horrible grades she received from her STEM classes in school while growing up in the ghettos of downtown Los Angeles, LePoint explains a three step method to overcome fear and reprogram the brain by using three key decisions. Watch this video to discover her three step process to reprogramming your brain.
8. How to move forward while living in Fear | Emily Muller
When Emily Muller awoke one morning when she was 13, she found her neck, shoulders and wrists were partially dislocating just by moving them. In a week, the dislocating spread to her entire body. Muller's connective tissue became faulty as she was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Then she was diagnosed with Autonomic Dysfunction, which means her heart rate and temperature isn't able to regulate properly either. Neither disease is curable.
She feels that she lives much like any other person, but people see her as a voice of positivity who is dying. She wakes up with her fears, doubts and uncertainties, but the only difference is that she tells herself one sentence that gets her out of that mindset immediately. Watch this video to find out what that sentence is and how you can incorporate it into your life.
9. Remote Control | Daniel Midson-Short
When Daniel Midson-Short was a young boy in Australia, he learned a very real lesson. The person who holds the remote control has the power. Do you have a desire to do something, but feel like someone else has the remote control? The fear of not being liked can control you. The fear of too many choices can be paralyzing. Big macro fears can take over your life. Fears make people think differently about themselves in the world. Midson-Short has found that the trick to overcoming your fears is to work on the smaller micro-fears first. Watch this video to see how you can take baby steps towards your goals to get to your target destination quicker.
10. Be The Warrior Not The Worrier - Fighting Anxiety & Fear | Angela Ceberano
Angela Ceberano was born a worrier, to the point where if she has nothing to worry about, that is exactly what she would worry about. When being invited to speak at this particular TEDx talk, she freaked out. Her thought process started out with excitement, then she discounted it, talked herself out of it, started to believe in herself again, then ended with amazement for the opportunity she was presented with.
Ceberano used to think of her fears and anxiety as a bad thing. Now she uses them to her advantage. She was able to start this process by looking at the research, which indicated that only eight percent of the things people worried about were likely to happen. She presents the two ways people deal with fear, her personal experience and how she now takes on her fears, like a warrior. Watch this talk so you can become a warrior, not a worrier.
Even viewing just one of these 10 inspiring TED Talks can help you overcome your fears. I challenge you to watch one of these videos each day, then share this article with a colleague, coworker or friend. If it were possible for all of us to overcome our fears, imagine what kind of possibilities we could accomplish in the world. Take the first step today and overcome your own fears.