15 TED Talks to Inspire Us to Growth

There is something very special about pursuing knowledge.  The Bible talks extensively about this idea.  Humanity has spent thousands of years, dollars, and tears to its credit.  And governments have made it their goal to get it to everyone in every corner of the earth.

However, there is always going to be one thing that schools, and dollars, and board rooms cannot instill into a people; the desire to learn.  While they may try, the desire to learn is something that each person has to take upon themselves and nurture.  It is something that grows with us as people.  It changes as we mature and it allows us to see the world through new eyes with every page turned or video watched.  By desiring to learn more about the world around us, about ourselves, and about God, we are giving ourselves the greatest possible gift.  Simply by being open.

And this is part of the reason why I love TED Talks.  This organization is filled with hundreds of people, normal people, who love to learn and teach.  They are passionate about what they do and about the people they encounter.  They are smart, excited, and have the ability to put their minds together in amazing ways.  And most of all, these little videos give us, the young people who probably spend too much time on YouTube, a key to unhindered learning.  If you ask me, who is totally guilty, I know that I will benefit much more from watching a 15 minute TED talk than bingeing on random challenge videos (might be my guilty pleasure. ha).

Over the past few months, I have watched a lot of TED talks.  They never cease to inspire me and I sincerely hope that you will take a minute to check some out.  I’m sure your desire to learn will be peaked at least a little bit!!  

Stop Searching for Your Passion | Terri Trespicio

As you went through high school, what was the most common question that you were asked?  For me, as a senior, it’s pretty obvious; “What are you going to study in college?”.  Errg, and the conversation goes silent.  You may be passionate about something, but what if that passion goes away.  Well, luckily for you, life is so much more than running after shiny things.  Take it from, Terri, a former Martha Stewart employee, who has definitely mastered the unknown.

Looks Aren’t Everything.  Believe Me, I’m a Model | Cameron Russell

Society is great at letting us know what we should be concerned about.  They make our looks a top priority and give us easy formulas to just shave off those extra pounds.  But is that really everything?  As Christians, we know that there is so much more.  But what about the rest of the world?  Cameron has such a beautiful inside look at the fashion industry and really shows us it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  We are called to so much more!!

Success, Failure, and the Drive to Keep Creating | Elizabeth Gilbert

What happens when you succeed and surpass all of your expectations?  Does that success make you want to strive for more or just be happy where you are?  Elizabeth Gilbert, the mastermind behind “Eat, Pray, Love“, tells us her story of overcoming rejection, and continuing to create amidst great success.

The Power of Introverts | Susan Cain

Susan grew up taking bags of books to camp with her.  It seemed normal to her, but others simply found it weird.  It took years to for her to understand that introverts are an intricate part of the way societies grow and think as a whole.  As someone who is kind of in the middle of the spectrum, I found this talk very interesting as well!!

How to Gain Control of Your Time | Laura Vanderkam

How do we find that extra hour in the day?  Unfortunately, there is no such hidden piece of the pie and we all know that.  However, Laura is here to show us that there is still a way.  “We don’t built the lives we want by saving time.  We build the lives we want and then times saves itself.”  Laura is witty and very well researched in this topic, so I know you will enjoy listening to what she has to share!

How to Start a Movement | Derek Sivers

This short take on how to start a movement is both comical and true.  All it takes is one person trying to make a difference.  Whether they are doing a silly dance or holding a sign, they are bound to have others come along with them.  And before you know it, you have a movement.

The Optimism Bias | Tali Sharot

Optimism is a good thing, right?  Yes!  But what if it changes your grip on reality?  Not so much anymore.  There is a healthy balance between being overly optimistic and overly pessimistic.  And as Catholics, we know that there are no promises in life.  That drives us to have just enough pessimism to always remain in the state of grace.  By sharing her research, Tali give us an interesting insight into these topics.

I’m 17 | Kate Simonds

What brings a 17-year-old to the TED stage?  You might think that she graduated high school at 15 or invented something revolutionary.  But no, Kate is just a normal teen looking for her voice.  The point, however, is that she hasn’t let her age determine her ability to make a difference.  She is determined that, no matter how old one might be, there is no idea too insignificant to be heard.

Is Your Stuff Stopping You? | Elizabeth Dulemba

When Elizabeth found a short list of goals she had written in her 20s, she was sad to see that none of them could be checked off.  What’s more, none of her dreams had changed.  But something was stopping her.  With a little bit of rerouting and a whole lot of determination, watch how she is changing her lifestyle and working towards a completed list.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth

Grit is understanding that failure is not a permanent situation, but something that we can work away from.  Grit is what keeps kids in school and helps them to navigate hard situations.  It doesn’t matter how smart you are, you can still be gritty.  And it has been Angela’s goal to try to nurture that in her students, no matter how hard it might be.

How Do You Define Yourself | Lizzie Velasquez

“You are the person in charge of what you are defined as”.  What a beautiful idea.  Our society doesn’t define you, your looks don’t define you, YOU and the God who made you define YOU.  And coming from a woman who has lived her life under the shadow of a disease that caused her never to gain weight, that means A LOT.  Lizzie is a fighter, a dreamer, and a doer, and let me tell you, an inspiration!!

8 Secrets to Success | Richard St. John

Richard, a high school teacher, has been giving a 2 hour talk on success to his kids for years.  So why wouldn’t he condense it down to a TED talk of three minutes.  And aren’t we thankful he did.  His tips and secrets are so inspiring and easy to implement into our lives.

The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding | John Wooden

Through his long career as both an academic and athletic teacher, John learned a lot about winning and succeeding.  He said, “Success is peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the very best of which you were capable”.  What a true statement.  If all we did was strive for the best we possible could, this world would be a drastically different place.

Programming your Mind For Success | Carrie Green

We all have the ability to succeed and the ability to fail.  But these abilities are hindered in major ways by our openness to the unknown, fear, and possibility.  We can only accomplish as much as we are willing to set out to do.  Carrie is a master of going out of her comfort zone.  This talk will definitely show you that your dreams are probably just on the other side of fear.

My Story is Painted on My Body | Chantelle Brown-Young

Model Chantelle Brown-Young didn’t always like or accept her skin condition, Vitiligo.  When she was young, it caused her alienation.  She wasn’t accepted for who she was.  But through a lot of soul-searching and the realization that she didn’t need to fit into a mold, Chantelle was able to walk away from her self-doubt and truly grow out of the molds that the world had created for her.


I hope you enjoyed this list and I encourage you to look as many of these up as you like.  Have a blessed Saturday!


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