8 TED Talks You Need To Watch Before You’re 30

What have you done this week to further your self-development? This is a topic that’s always on my mind. Sometimes, during an especially busy week, I let work life take over because, alongside my own goals, I have career goals to fulfill too. And in the past, I’ve been known to focus on one more than the other.

But recently, I’ve refused to let go of this balance and will not complete a week without doing at least one thing to better myself. Because self-development is not a hobby. Successful women like Oprah, Michelle Obama, and even Elizabeth’s Gilbert will tell you that it’s essential to make it a focus because it won’t only attract personal success but success in your career too.

Before I’m 30, I want to be sure I’m living my best life and have set myself up to be the very best version of myself that I can possibly be. With that said, TED talks have always given me a massive kick of motivation. So if you’re lacking, here are some you should definitely watch at any age, but ideally in your twenties, while you’re still figuring out how to become the best version of yourself!

1
Success, Failure And The Drive To Keep Creating by Elizabeth Gilbert

 

It is a common misconception that those who are successful have made it. And the hard work is over. That’s really not the case and Elizabeth Gilbert can certainly vouch for this. Success if anything, is harder to maintain and keep going once it has arrived. All of a sudden there’s the pressure to keep your success going, and even top it.

The author we all know from Eat, Pray, Love discusses how success can be just as disorienting as a failure and provides us with essential wisdom on how to power through. As an unpublished waitress, Elizabeth wanted to be a household name. Due to the major success of Eat, Pray, Love, this is exactly what happened. But this came with an extreme pressure to outdo herself and provide her fans with her next best novel (which she notes, extremely difficult to do).

In this talk, Elizabeth will help you to overcome the pressure that comes with the milestones. Drawing from her personal experiences, she will help you keep going and teach you how to use creativity to unlock the next big thing that’s hiding inside you. It shouldn’t stop you from doing what you want to do if Elizabeth remained scared she would never have published another book.

2
Looks Aren’t Everything. Believe Me, I’m A Model by Cameron Russell

 

Cameron Russell is a passionate activist as well as a model. Think about how many hours we waste thinking about how we look and telling ourselves we’re not good enough. It’s exhausting to keep up with the pressure. And how you perceive yourself and your own self-confidence has a lot to do with how well you perform in your job and how you stay committed to your goals. Without being confident you’ll never own your success and you’ll never convince others that you’re worthy of it. But self-confidence can be a big thing to overcome, especially when you don’t have many positive things to say about yourself.

Cameron’s talk will do wonders for changing your perception of yourself. In this outstanding talk, the model admits that she’s won a “genetic lottery”. She’s beautiful and she knows it. However, she will show you that there’s more to a picture than meets the eye. Not only this, but she will change your perception of the modeling industry and reveal to you the truth, that there’s no such thing as perfect.

By unveiling the truth and changing your outside perceptions, Cameron is forcing you to instead look inward. And by this, exposing what’s really important and aligning your focus to help you give your energy to something of value.

3
Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders by Sheryl Sandberg

 

Anything that Sheryl Sandberg puts out is inspirational, empowering and educational. She’s a woman who doesn’t waste time, especially when it comes to your own personal growth. And she knows a thing or two about achieving success.

The big technology executive is the COO of Facebook. But this certainly doesn’t slow her down. Sheryl is an advocate, an activist, and an incredible inspirational author. Her humbleness to her success and the lessons she passes onto other women make her one of the most admired women in the world.  Her honesty and realistic approach to women climbing the ladder make her a woman whose advice you should take.

And in this talk especially, Sheryl offers three key pieces of advice with women who are looking to climb the ladder in their heels if they have to. When it comes to tips for success, it is a common misconception that it’s complicated and there are a lot of things to tick off. When in reality, it’s a lot simpler than that. And Sheryl covers this in her talk.

4
Why 30 Is Not The New 20 By Meg Jay

 

Meg Jay’s talk has been the first talk in a long time that really made me think. In this talk, she makes a lot of valid points that boil down to the fact that our twenties are not years that we should waste. Contrary to popular belief, your twenties are your less serious years where you get to figure things out before things up their game in your 30s.

Meg is an incredible academic. She is also an amazing nonfiction writer. Her books take the stories of real people and combine them with her latest research. She often exposes the misconceptions we have about our own development and helps us rethink these stereotypes.

This clinical psychologist notes how important it is to plan and prepare ahead. There may be certain events that don’t occur until later on down the line, but that doesn’t mean you don’t build the groundwork for them now. Using a planner like the Goals 2019 planner will really help you to get your goals off the ground and try planning ahead for once. To round off this talk, Meg gives three pieces of critical advice that will allow you to use your twenties to its fullest potential and make it one of the most defining periods of your life.

5
It’s OK To Be Wrong by Kathryn Schulz

 

This is one of favorite talks because it challenges our feelings. It challenges the common misconceptions about failure and making mistakes that we fall victim to. And instead shows us that it’s OK to be wrong. Making mistakes is essential for success – without them, we would never learn and we would never grow.

Kathryn Schulz is a renowned writer who’s famously known for her work in The New Yorker and Rolling Stones. And in her book, “Adventures in the Margin of Error” she concentrates on human error and why it should be admired. Kathryn points out that you should not fear mistakes and that it’s completely human to make them.

And in this more than interesting talk, Kathryn will show why it’s important to embrace your failure and make you proudly admit when you’re wrong. And it will truly change how you approach your work and how you bounce back from your mistakes.

6
How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over by Mel Robbins

 

Mel Robbins is not only a criminal lawyer, but she’s also a mother of three and is bound to be of the biggest career experts in America. Mel is popular for her motivational advice that makes you want to grab life by the horns, and better yet, her tough, tough love.

She can also teach you a thing or two about balance. In addition to her being a mother and a lawyer, Mel writes a column for Success Magazine and is a co-founder of Advice Living. She’s a powerhouse and a woman you’ll wish could be your mentor.

In her talk, Mel Williams exposes your weaknesses and show you how to beat them. With an approach that is not only smart but entertaining, she will attack the mental clutter that gets between you and your dreams. She’ll help you get out of your own way and leave you ready and motivated to get started.

7
After Watching This, Your Brain Will Not Be The Same by Lara Boyd

 

Your brain controls everything. But you control the brain, which means you can reprogram it and mold into the brain you want it to be. And this is exactly what Dr. Lara Boyd covers in this scientific talk.

As our knowledge of the brain increases at an unusually fast pace, Lara is in a position to share the most cutting edge of their research. And she knows what she’s talking about. With over 80 papers published and being awarded $5 million for her research, you know she’s on to some groundbreaking results.

In this talk, Lara will open your eyes to the endless possibilities your brain can offer. And she will show you exactly how you can be the one in control of this with simple, easy actions.

8
Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection by Reshma Saujani

 

The one thing that motivates me the most is empowerment. Watching speeches from Oprah make the hairs on my arm stand up and a talk from Reshma Saujani is no different. She touches on some really significant valid points during this talk.

Reshma is an inspiration – so much so that this talk sparked a national debate in how we raise our young girls. She’s the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, which is a non-profit organization that tries to change the perceptions of what a stereotypical programmer looks like. And she’s changed the lives of over 50,000 girls. With her seven-week summer programs, Reshma has educated the next generation with skills that will make them unstoppable.

In Reshma’s opinion, we are teaching young girls to strive for perfection, to be perfect, which is an impossible achievement. And instead, we raise young boys to be brave, to take risks, to fail. And now she has made it her mission to encourage young girls to be the risk takers and learn just two skills that would propel society into the future. “I need each of you to tell every young woman you know to be comfortable with imperfection.” Because we cannot move forward without the other half of the population.

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Featured photo: Cameron Russell

Beth Macdonald

Managing Editor

I'm the Managing Editor of CGD. I'm a graduate of the Penguin Writer's Academy and have published a short story. I specialize in copywriting, digital marketing, and research.

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