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4 TED Talks that will help you succeed

Is there a better way to make a quick break from studying or spend your Sunday morning productively than by watching an interesting TED talk that will help you ensure professional success? We don’t think so! Therefore, this article aims to provide you with four TED talks that will help you make a positive change in your everyday professional life.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action, by Simon Sinek

Have you ever wondered why some people manage to achieve things that seem to be impossible or why some companies, like Apple, always seem to lead innovation year after year? In his TED talk ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’, Simon Sinek aims to explain how leaders inspire cooperation, trust and change. Through the idea of the ‘Golden Circle’, Sinek argues that inspired people and organizations know “why” they follow certain practices and are able to effectively communicate the underlying reasons of their decisions. It is those leaders who start with “why” that manage to inspire others or find others to inspire them. You can also try reading Simon Sinek’s best-selling books: Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action and Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together And Others Don’t.

The Puzzle of Motivation, by Dan Pink

Dan Pink’s TED talk on ‘The Puzzle of Motivation’ focuses on the effect of intrinsic motivators on the performance of individuals undertaking cognitive tasks. Based on the ‘Candle Problem’, which requires two groups of individuals to attach a candle to a wall with a box of thumbtacks, Pink argues that extrinsic motivators, such as the provision of financial incentives cannot stimulate the performance of individuals. For instance, extrinsic motivators can only motivate individuals performing manual work with simple solutions, while intrinsic motivators are those that ensure the effective performance of individuals undertaking cognitive tasks. Using the famous example of Google, which allows employees to allocate 20% of their work time on personal projects, Pink claims that autonomy is the right way to motivate employees undertaking cognitive tasks.

How to Speak So That People Want to Listen, by Julian Treasure

Julian Treasure is a sound and communication expert and five-time TED speaker. In his TED talk ‘How to Speak So That People Want to Listen’, Treasure provides practical exercises to improve communication skills and an inspiring vision for a world of effective speaking, listening and understanding. More specifically, he argues that honesty, authenticity, integrity and love will help you enhance your communication skills. In contrast, gossip, judging, negativity, complaining, excuses, lying and dogmatism, which are described as the ‘7 deadly sins’ of communication by Treasure, will prevent others from carefully listening to you. If you are further interested in improving your communication skills, you can also read Treasure’s books: Sound Business and How to be Heard: Secrets for Powerful Speaking and Listening.

8 Secrets of Success, by Richard St. John

Many people struggle to find an answer to the question: What leads to success? Triggered by this question, Richard St. John spent more than a decade conducting face-to-face interviews with Bill Gates, Richard Branson, the Google founders, and over 500 other extraordinarily successful people, and managed to summarize the most effective success secrets of these people in eight practices. In his TED talk ‘8 Secrets of Success’, St. John suggests that passion, work, ideas, practicing to get good at something, pushing yourself to the limit both mentally and physically, serving the common good, and support are eight practices that will help you become successful. It is also worth watching St. John’s TED talk ‘Success Is A Continuous Journey’ or reading his book ‘8 To Be Great’.      

Now that you have watched the four recommended TED talks, hopefully the path that will lead you to success is clearer. There is also a great number of other interesting talks on topics such as how to make a great presentation and decision-making patterns that will help you improve your professional performance. Take the time to watch the recommended TED talks and get ready to learn more about ‘ideas worth spreading’!