Whether you’re at a point in your life when you want to change things up, or facing the New Year and want to make this next year your best one yet, you need some inspiration and motivation behind you to get you there. These are some of the best TED Talks to get you motivated in life so you can take the action you want to take.
Be sure to save this page and Pin It for later so you can come back and watch these talks whenever you need another boost in motivation.
Get your notepad ready, pull up your socks and be prepared for the most motivating TED Talks you’ll ever watch.
1 – Tony Robbins – Why We Do What We Do
I absolutely love Tony Robbins. I am a massive fan and could listen to what this man has to say and absorb every single word, every single day. He is captivating and to be honest, one of my favourite points in this talk is where he identifies himself as ‘The Why Guy’. The guy who challenges you to question why you do what you do.
Your why, and your understanding of your why is essential to your self confidence. Knowing not only who you are and what you do – but why you do it makes you more sure of your place in this world.
Find His Book Here – Awaken The Giant Within
2 – Matt Cutts – Try Something New For 30 Days
A nice, quick and to the point talk about how Matt decided to start using 30 day challenges to do things he had always wanted to do. He was surprised at how doing these challenges inadvertently resulted in a boost in his own confidence.
When listening to this talk, have a think about what new things you’d like to try and what habits you could form in that time?
3 – Stefan Sagmeister – The Power of Time Off
Stefan is a serial TED talker and this talk is my favourite of his because it discusses such an important topic – taking time off from your work. Stefan talks about the benefits of planned time off (not just sporadic, wake up and not do anything kind of time off) and how putting less pressure on ourselves allows more room for creativity.
4 – Elizabeth Gilbert – Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating
How easy is it to just give up when things become tough… or uncomfortable. Elizabeth talks about how even when we have been greatly successful, we still have a fear of failure, as she experienced after the wild success of her book Eat, Pray, Love.
I love the idea that we have a ‘home’ – not a physical home as such, but one in which we are happy, content and safe, the place we keep coming back to regardless of successes or failures.
Find her book here – Big Magic: Create Living Beyond Fear
5 – Can We All ‘Have It All’? – Anne-Marie Slaughter
How often are we caught up in the question of how we should balance our work and career goals and our family life? How do we choose what is most important to us? And as mothers, what does male and female equality really mean? Does having women in high powered jobs represent real male and female equality?
Fantastic talk about the often unspoken side of the gender equality debate.
6 – My Year Of Saying Yes To Everything – Shonda Rhimes
If you’ve read her book ‘A Year of Saying Yes’ you’ll know Shonda’s story (if not, it’s an awesome book, check it out). Shonda talks of losing her ‘hum’ – the addictive thing that gave her joy in her work and how she found that hum again.
She also talks of the power of play and the fact that we can all find 15 minutes, even on our worst day. “Work doesn’t work without play.”
I love that she doesn’t deny that she loves working more than she loves being at home. I relate to the love of work and find that I feel like I shouldn’t love my work as much as I do now that I’m a mother. But it doesn’t mean that my family isn’t important to me, and that they don’t give me my ‘hum’, but that work is still important to me too.
7 – How To Make Hard Choices – Ruth Chang
For an overthinker like me, this talk seriously speaks to my heart. Not all hard choices are big choices, hard choices aren’t hard because I’m incapable of making them. Hard choices are just hard because there is no ‘best option’.
Do you write the story of your life by making hard choices? Or do you just drift and take the easy option?
8 – All It Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes – Andy Puddicombe
When is the last time you took just 10 minutes to do nothing? Such a simple question, but one that so many of us would struggle to answer. I have to admit, I suck at meditation, but it’s something I’m working on – increasing my focus/relaxation and being more mindful.
When he speaks about being anxious about feeling anxious… that’s something so many of us can relate to (clearly, it’s not just me). This reinforces how important it is to include mindfulness in our day to day lives.
We can all spare 10 minutes out of our days to increase our mindfulness.
9 – Tim Urban – Inside The Mind Of A Master Procrastinator
Hands up all the procrastinators out there? Yeah, me too. I’ve always been this way, for as long as I can remember. I wrote all of my high school assignments like this, I write my blog posts like this, and I do everything last minute (just ask my husband, he agrees).
It’s not because I’m lazy, trust me, I’m not. It’s more that it’s literally how my brain works, and it’s good to know I’m not the only one (and neither are you!).
10 – Dan Pink – The Puzzle Of Motivation
Ever decided you’d reward yourself with something once a task is done, thinking that the motivation of the reward will make you work harder and faster? Did the reward actually work for you? There might be a bit of science behind it, because I know for me it doesn’t work and science says I’m not alone.
I love that even though this talk, and a lot of the TED Talks are targeted specifically towards business, we can actually apply a lot of them to our own personal lives too.
This talk absolutely blew my mind. It goes against logic and what we’ve always been taught and I love it!
11 – The Magic of Not Giving a F*** – Sarah Knight
Any talk that starts with ‘the life giving magic of not giving a fuck’ is going to get my attention. This, obviously, comes with a swearing warning, but even if swearing gets under your skin, you’ll still love this talk.
We talk a lot about physical decluttering, throwing out excess in our life, but this talk looks closer at mental decluttering. Choosing what and who you give you ‘fucks’ to. This is huge for those of us who are people pleasers.
If this talk seriously floats your boat, then you can dive deeper into the magic of not giving a f*ck with Sarah’s book. It’s an awesome read.
12 – Alison Ledgerwood – Getting Stuck In The Negatives (And How To Get Unstuck)
I’m so glad I’m not the only person who gets stuck on negatives – it’s such a natural thing to do, especially as a people pleaser. How many times have you experienced this yourself? My husband and I were discussing the successes we had and how often we quickly adapt to our successes and chase the next one, but we hold on to negatives for so much longer.
You have to work to see the upside. This is such a great talk to shake up how you approach your day and reframe how you talk about things in your life. Focusing more on the good things than the negatives and making more of an effort to see the upside.
13 – Carrie Green – Programming Your Mind For Success
I’ve been following Carrie Green for a while now and love her approach. She is such a positive person who feels so relatable. I love that she focuses on how we feel, not just what looks like success. In the midst of having a massively successful global business, Carrie realised she was miserable. So she set out to change it.
This talk makes you wonder what it is you’re missing out on by staying stuck in a job you don’t like, or not paying attention to what ideas are around you, or what you’re talking yourself out of doing.
14 – The Minimalists – A Rich Life With Less Stuff
This talk is from the guys who bought the minimalist movement mainstream. They flip the idea of ‘rich’ from earning money and having things and wanting and having more, to being intentional and living a simple, happy, enriched life.
“I was spending money faster than I was earning it, attempting to buy happiness.” This is the way so many people are living, and a way I too was living for a long time. Because that’s what we think is ‘normal’.
Simplifying your life and getting the clutter out of the way helps you make room for things that are important – and I guarantee those ‘things’ aren’t the cupboards of possesions you have right now.
15 – The Minimalists – The Art Of Letting Go
These guys are so life changing I had to include another one of their talks. The average American household has over 300,000 items in it. How much ‘stuff’ do you own? And how much of that are you holding on to ‘just in case’?
For many of us who have joined the minimalist movement on some level, we all have a ‘trigger’ moment. Perhaps watching this Ted Talk will be your minimalist trigger (be warned, it becomes addictive).
16 – Dr Cal Newport – Quit Social Media
How much time do you spend on social media? I know I spend way too much time. A quick ‘I’m just going to check Facebook’ turns into ‘where did the last 2 hours go?’
While I have to admit, I’m not going to quit social media anytime soon, this talk certainly makes me question if the excuses I give for my use of social media are actually justified, and question what ‘value’ it gives to my life.
I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Newport saying that social media brings with it an element of harm, they are designed to be addictive, and with a growth in online bullying it makes me nervous for the next (and current) generations growing up using social media.
17 – D. Ivan Young – Emotional Intelligence: Using The Laws of Attraction
Our mind is incredibly powerful, and the way we talk about things and think about things will reflect in our lives. So often we focus on the negative ‘oh I’ll never have what they have’ or ‘my bills are so expensive’ and therefore subconsciously attract negative into our lives.
Choose how you use your mind. Take the time to be quiet, be still and listen. This is one of the best and most concise talks about the Laws of Attraction I have ever seen. So good.
These are some of the best TED Talks to get you motivated in life and to inspire you to take action and make changes. Keep them handy whenever you need a boost of inspiration.