13 TED Talks Worth Turning Off Netflix For

I have a confession. I’m no stranger to long Netflix binges. Although sometimes it’s nice to relax, other times the mindless television can get me feeling a little zombie-like.

So how about swapping an episode from your latest binge (mine is Shameless and I’m obsessed) for a TED talk or two? In less than 20 minutes you can listen to an inspirational speech and be motivated to pursue your passion. There are days worth of TED footage, so I picked some favorites that are so interesting, they’re actually fun to watch.

Next time Netflix asks you if you’re still watching, instead of rolling your eyes at the effort it takes to press “yes”, peel yourself away and check out these TED talks.

On Happiness:

Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work
Fair warning here: I loved this talk so much I bought Shawn Achor’s book. His humor throughout makes this talk fly by, but don’t miss the important message that we need to change the way we think in order to increase our happiness.

Gary Vaynerchuk: Do what you love (no excuses!)
Gary Vaynerchuk might be the most passionate person on the planet! If you’re in a rut of any kind, this talk will get you hustling!

Mel Robbins: How to stop screwing yourself over

“It’s simple to get what you want, but it’s not easy.”

Mel Robbins is going to challenge you to stop hitting snooze. If fact, she wants you to set it for 30 minutes early… Yikes! Making a physical effort and taking action is necessary to achieving your goals. You don’t have your parents to tell you to do what anymore, you have to do things you don’t feel like doing on your own.

Cameron Russell: Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model
Cameron Russell takes a hard look at the industry that she has built a career in, the genetics that allowed her to have that career, and the discrimination that she has been on the winning end of. That may seem like a lot for under 10 minutes, but she’s not done. She also addresses her insecurities, even as a model, and how having hair that’s just a little shinier won’t make you happy.

On reaching your potential: 

Meg Jay: Why 30 is Not the New 20

“Claiming your twenties is one of the simplest, yet most transformative things you can do.”

If you only watch one of the talks on this list, make it this one. For real. The time is now to become the person you want to be.

Angela Lee Duckworth: Grit: the power of passion and perseverance
Management consultant turned 7th-grade math teacher found IQ had little to do with her students’ success… it was their grit.

On Career:

Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders
It’s impossible to know exactly what your career path will be. From the differences in the way men and women speak about their skills and accomplishments to success and likeability being negatively correlated for women, Sheryl Sandberg dives deep into the issue of too few women leaders and how working women can continue to raise their hands and reach for opportunities.

Alexa von Tobel: One Life-Changing Class you Never Took
“In America right now, the average person makes approximately 6-10 money decisions per day.” Are you making the best decisions for you and your savings? Personal finance isn’t taught in school, but Alexa von Tobel offers a solution of 5 principles to help you avoid money mistakes that can impact you and even your future children.

On inner strength: 

Amy Morin: The secret of becoming mentally strong
Do you have any friends whose lives seem perfect on social media? Do you secretly hate it sometimes? Amy Morin tells how small habits like this can hurt you and your mental strength.

Geena Rocero: Why I Must Come Out
Watch how model, Geena Rocero, saw her pride and sense of purpose grow as she publicly embraced her true identity.

Glennon Doyle Melton: Lessons from a Mental Hospital

“I’m not a superhero and I’m not a perfect human being. But I am a fully human being.”

There is a true bravery in feeling what you feel. Recognizing your emotions is essential to being okay with them and Glennon reminds us that it’s okay to not be fine.

On Girl Power:

Leymah Gbowee: Unlock the intelligence, passion, greatness of girls
This one is full of the girl power Lala loves! This moving talk will get you thinking about the potential of girls around the world.

Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter… 

“There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”

Passion is exactly what Sarah Kay followed, ever since she was a teenager. Today, she pays it forward. Her spoken word poems, and entire speech, will keep you more captivated than your guilty pleasure reality show.


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