We’re all students. We may be in different fields, but we have one thing in common: our desire to learn. As a student, I once knew how important it is to constantly challenge yourself and keep an open mind. And that’s exactly why I love TED Talks so much!
Here are some great videos that will inspire you to learn more about your field and help you build on your existing skillset while inspiring creativity at the same time. You might even want to share these with your friends or classmates!
Motivational TED Talks for Students
Motivation is the process of willpower and a driving force that helps you achieve your goals. Without motivation, you wouldn’t be able to do anything in life. Motivation pushes you forward and inspires you to continue your plans and dreams. The speakers below talk about how they were motivated to start their careers, what keeps them motivated, and how students can apply this knowledge for themselves!
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
In this talk, psychologist and educator Angela Lee Duckworth discusses the importance of grit—or perseverance. She explains that a person’s level of ambition is not necessarily the most important factor in determining success. Rather, their ability to keep going when things get tough matters.
Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career.
In this talk, economist Larry Smith talks about how hard work and passion are vital to having a great career. He says that many people in the modern workplace feel like their jobs aren’t “meaningful” or aren’t doing what they were meant to do. This feeling can be especially acute for those who chose their careers by following an interest rather than seeking a lucrative job from the start—a decision that may have seemed unwise at first glance but has had positive consequences for them down the line.
In addition to recounting his experience with finding meaning in his work as an economist, Smith also shares tips on pursuing your passions and finding purposeful work without sacrificing financial stability or security—two things most people need while starting their careers.
How to Motivate Yourself to Change Your Behavior
In this talk, neuroscientist Tali Sharot describes how highlighting positive consequences is better than giving warnings on negative consequences.
If you want your students to perform better academically—and who doesn’t?—emphasize the promise of academic success rather than threatening them with dire consequences if they don’t shape up their act.
Inspirational TED Talks for Students
If you’ve ever been stuck in a rut and need a little inspiration to get out of it, TED Talks are the perfect place to start. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an organization that brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers from all disciplines. They share their ideas in short speeches (typically less than 18 minutes) called TED Talks.
TED Talks for students are great for those looking for motivational or inspirational messages about education and learning. These lectures can help you learn more about your field, explore new career options, and even feel better about your day-to-day life at school! Here are some of our favorite educational talks:
Try Something New for 30 Days.
Cutts’s talk is short, but it’s powerful. He encourages you to try something new for 30 days, whether learning a new skill or quitting an old habit. If you’re looking for some inspiration to get yourself out of your comfort zone and into the world, this TED Talk will do the trick. For students, this is a great way of improving their studies and general lifestyle.
The First 20 Hours–How to Learn Anything.
Josh Kaufman’s TED Talk, The First 20 Hours–How to Learn Anything, is a must-watch for any student. The talk states that “the first 20 hours of learning something new or challenging is when your skill level will double.” He explains that this happens because you are in a state of rapid skill acquisition, and your brain hasn’t yet adapted to the new task.
Kaufman also explains how to learn anything efficiently by breaking down the process into four phases:
- Performance mastery
- Continuous improvement
How Boredom Can Lead to Your Most Brilliant Ideas
As a journalist, Manoush Zomorodi has spent years studying how people use social media. And what she’s learned is that too much of it can be bad for your brain. In her talk, Zomorodi challenges people to take some time off their smartphones and social media to give their brains a chance to recover—and then she explains the surprising benefits of doing so.
The main benefit? You’ll get more productive! As you clear away distractions like Facebook and Instagram notifications on your phone, your mind will engage in spontaneous hyper-focus—which can lead to creative ideas or solutions to problems you didn’t even know were there. It might sound strange at first, but if you’re struggling with writer’s block or want a fresh perspective on something important in your life, this TED Talk could help put you back on track!
Leadership TED Talks for Students
One of the most important skills for students to develop is leadership. Leadership is about how you behave, not what you say. It’s about motivating others and being a role model for those around you. But most importantly, it’s about having a vision and being able to communicate that vision effectively to inspire others to follow your lead.
Here are some great TED Talks on leadership that I think every student should watch:
Drew Dudley is a successful blockchain entrepreneur who advocates for greater tech industry inclusion. In this short but memorable talk, Drew debunks the notion that true leadership is beyond the ordinary person’s reach. He argues that anyone can lead if they take advantage of opportunities to change someone’s life (and their own) by doing something meaningful.
A student watching Drew’s talk will understand why he has been called “the face of blockchain”—his passion for empowering others through technology makes him an inspirational figure who deserves to be heard by as many people as possible.
Great Leadership Starts with Self-Leadership
This talk will give you a framework for understanding leadership and how it works. Leadership expert Lars Sudmann explains that to be a good leader, you have to know yourself—and the importance of self-awareness cannot be overstated.
To become a good leader and develop your leadership skills, he says that spending time on reflection is key. Self-leadership involves recognizing one’s strengths and weaknesses and regulating behavior by the values that one holds dear. In this way, one learns how to act by their personal beliefs while at the same time inspiring others through example.
This TED Talk provides students with valuable insights into what it means to lead oneself so that they can then learn how to lead others effectively throughout their lives and careers after graduation from college or university.”
How Great Leaders Inspire Action
In this TED Talk, Simon Sinek shares his research on leadership. Sinek defines great leadership as an ability to inspire action in others by believing in an idea or ideal. He identifies three qualities that characterize great leaders: consistency, clarity of vision, and inspiration for others.
You can find these qualities in many leaders throughout history and today’s society who have motivated people to take action towards a common goal or belief. As future leaders, students can learn a lot from Sinek’s talk: they should be consistent with their actions, have a clear vision with clear goals, and inspire others through their beliefs and actions so that everyone is aligned. With the same goal or purpose!
TED Talks College Stress
College stress is a real thing. It’s not just something that parents and other adults try to convince you of so that they don’t feel bad about not going to college. College stress isn’t just academic, social, or financial pressure—it’s all three combined. And it can be crippling if you don’t deal with it properly.
The Surprising Science of Happiness
Being a college student and trying to excel at everything can be stressful.
Professors, parents, and peers are all pushing for you to do your best, but sometimes we forget that some of the best things in life don’t always come from pressure or achievement. In this TED Talk, Dan Gilbert presents evidence proving that our brains can find happiness in any situation. He also offers practical advice on how you can use this knowledge to create a happier life for yourself: “I want my students…to know there’s something good about every day they live—and most days there are many things good about them…a strong reminder to every student that there’s something to smile over even in the toughest times.”
How to Make Stress Your Friend
Stress is a serious problem for today’s students. The American Psychological Association reports that about half of all college students have experienced significant stress in the past year; many others will experience some symptoms of stress in their lifetime. Stress has been linked to negative health outcomes such as depression and cardiovascular disease.
McGonigal describes how changing your relationship with stress can help prevent these negative outcomes and make you happier: “Stress isn’t always bad for us; it’s often an essential part of our fight-or-flight response to a challenge.” By viewing stress as something that can have benefits, people can turn stress into something empowering them instead of debilitating them.
In her talk, McGonigal shows how this shift in thinking can help you achieve goals during challenging times by looking at how we react to failure versus success (and why we shouldn’t worry so much about failing). She also discusses how taking time off from work or school can benefit your well-being rather than hinder it—if used correctly!
TED Talks College Admissions
College admissions are competitive, and the process can be stressful. We’ve created this list to help students navigate this complicated puzzle.
The Truth About College Admission
If you’re in high school and dreamt of attending an Ivy League school, then Alex Chang’s TED Talk is for you. In this talk, Alex Chang provides insight into how students can increase their chances of getting into their dream college. He argues that while grades are important, having unique traits can set you apart from the rest of the pack. He suggests that initiative, passion, and direction make students stand out during college admissions.
Community College to Harvard: Rethinking College Admissions
Many students believe that the only way to get into Harvard or other top colleges is through a traditional four-year degree from an Ivy League school. In his TED Talk, Josh Lafazan shows how enrolling in a community college can be a viable alternative path to gaining admission to these elite institutions.
Funny TED Talks for Students
TED Talks are a great way to learn something new by watching short videos. For example, you can watch a TED Talk about how to build a better designer or how to study in college. These talks are interesting and funny, so they’re perfect for students who want to learn more about their subjects.
Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator
The comedian and writer Tim Urban delivers a humorous discussion on procrastination. He says it is a form of self-sabotage that prevents people from reaching their goals. In this talk, he offers simple solutions to tackle procrastination and save time for doing things that matter. For students who want to be successful in life, this talk will inspire them to work harder toward achieving their dreams.
The Happy Secret to Better Work
If you were to ask the average person what they want in life, they’d say “happiness.” But according to Achor, most people think happiness is the result of success rather than its cause. And he has plenty of evidence to back him up: In his TED Talk “The Happy Secret To Better Work,” he discusses studies that show people who feel happier at work tend to perform better than their less cheerful counterparts.
These 15 TED Talks are among the most popular of all time, and they’re relevant to students because they deal with procrastination, motivation, leadership, stress management, and other important topics. You can also use these TED Talks to help you develop your ideas for a speech or presentation.
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