6 Empowering and inspirational TED Talks to watch during lockdown


By Adelina Tan

6 Empowering and inspirational TED Talks to watch during lockdown

You’re probably familiar with the concept of TED Talks, many of which have gone viral for being inspiring and motivating. These videos feature experts speaking on topics ranging from neuroscience to culture, shedding light on human behaviour and relationships. The most popular TED Talks have millions of views, such as Ken Robinson’s ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity’, Tim Urban’s ‘Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator’, and Sam Berns’s ‘My Philosophy for a Happy Life’.

In this list, we’ve gathered powerful TED Talks to listen to while in lockdown. They’re mostly hidden gems, from recent years, that you may not have discovered.

When you feel defeated:

Why You Think You’re Right—Even if You’re Wrong | Julia Galef

Julia Galef—co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality—interviews thinkers such as Tyler Cowen, Sean Carrol, and Neil deGrase Tyson for her Rationally Speaking podcast. In her popular TEDxPSU talk, she breaks down what she calls “the scout mindset”—a way of thinking adopted by open-minded types who build resilience and emotional security by learning to overcome adversity with mental clarity.

When you feel insecure:

How Not to Take Things Personally | Frederik Imbo

Graduating as an actor from the Royal Conservatory of Ghent in Belgium, Frederik Imbo then went on to teach people the value of connective communication after a career acting in television shows. In his TEDxMechelen talk, Imbo shares the two strategies he uses to stop taking things personally—beginning with how to shift the focus from “me” to “we”.

When you feel stuck in life:

How to Figure Out What You Really Want | Ashley Stahl

Ashley Stahl is a counterterrorism professional turned podcast host, columnist, and career coach. She specialises in helping people to pull off a “You Turn” by discovering their life’s purpose and ideal career path. In this presentation she gave for TEDxLeidenUniversity, Stahl outlines her three key steps to shake off fear and connect with what you actually want out of life.

When you need a pep talk:

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable | Luvvie Ajayi Jones

Writer and activist Luvvie Ajayi Jones believes that staying silent, when it’s important to speak up, serves no one. In her engaging and uplifting TED talk, Jones—a self-proclaimed “professional troublemaker”—shares relatable anecdotes from her own colourful life. Find out what, in her opinion, are the three questions to ask yourself when you’re unsure of whether you should be a “domino”; an agent of change.

When you doubt yourself:

Don’t strive to be famous, strive to be talented | Maisie Williams

Maisie Williams, aka Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, left school at 14 to focus on acting after landing her Emmy-nominated role at the age of 12. She’s now also the co-founder of Daisie, a social networking app aimed at bringing together creatives from across different industries (similar to Malaysia’s own Cult Creative).

In her talk presented as part of TEDxManchester, Williams shares about her family’s financial struggles, and why learning to be good at what you do will always have more long-term impact than chasing after fame.

When you have a mental block:

The mental mindset of a world champion | Nicol David

Nicol David is one of the most decorated athletes of her generation and has won every major title there is for squash. Most remarkably, the Malaysian sports star holds the record of being the world’s number one squash player for 112 months. In this interview with TEDxKLStudio, she shares ways to cultivate a winning mindset that doesn’t crumble under pressure—and when you should know to let go and move on with life.

This video is part of ImagineNext, a collaboration between Glenfiddich and TEDx-communities across South East Asia. The series spotlights each city’s ‘Mavericks’—visionaries and trailblazers of new paths—in conjunction with Glenfiddich’s ‘Where Next?’ campaign. The whisky maker seeks to inspire people to nurture meaningful growth by embracing challenges and stepping out of their comfort zones. Watch the full series here.

Times are tough, but the human spirit is even tougher. May you find the inner strength and support to turn adversity into opportunities for growth!

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