Five TED Talks That Could Change the Course of Your Career

TED, a nonprofit "devoted to spreading ideas" is renowned for its TED Talks, presentations by thought leaders who share real-life tales that teach viewers about every topic under the sun in 18 minutes or less. Since we’re convinced that TED Talks are one of the most entertaining and powerful ways to learn, we took the liberty of sifting through the Ted Talks library and came up with some of the best work-related TED Talks of the past year. So, take a coffee break, relax, tune in and add an extra shot of inspiration to your workday!

1. Why It’s Time to Forget the Pecking Order at Work by Margaret Heffernan

In her long and varied career, [she was a television producer, CEO of five different businesses and an author], Margaret Heffernan has learned a thing or two about running successful businesses. In this talk Heffernan shows why “the superchicken method” where top achievers are valued over their colleagues, isn’t the most productive or lucrative way to run businesses. In reality, Heffernan’s explains, heterogeneous teams whose members have high levels of empathy and social cohesion, reap greater results than those in which all the members are stars. This smart and thought-provoking TED Talk is well worth the watch.

2. How Frustration Can Make Us More Creative by Tim Harford

Economist, author and Financial Times columnist, Tim Harford’s highly engaging TED Talk, takes examples from the fields of cognitive psychology, complexity science, social psychology as well as the careers of rock and roll icon, Brian Eno and legendary jazz pianist, Keith Jarrett, to teach us how obstacles and challenges frequently push us to produce some of our best and most innovative work. Harford contends that our initial instincts to avoid unnecessary hurdles are understandable, yet misguided. In Jarrett’s case, for instance, “He was handed a mess, he embraced the mess and he soared.” You’ll want to watch this one over and over again!

3. Why Some of Us Don't Have One True Calling by Emilie Wapnick

Career coach, Emilie Wapnick says the trouble begins when we ask little children what they want to be when they grow up. This question, asked over and over again throughout childhood, adolescence and (for some of us), even in adulthood, makes a problematic assumption she says. It presumes that those destined for success, must choose one area of specialization to the exclusion of all others. That presumption, maintains Wapnick, makes those who are “multipotentialites,” — people who are interested in pursuing many different paths — feel defective. In her amusing and informative TED Talk, Wapnick, herself a “multipotentialite,” explains why there’s no reason to limit oneself when it comes to choosing a hobby, vocation or life path. In fact, she shows viewers how “multipotentialites” are some of our most creative, out-of-the-box and valuable thinkers.

4. Why the Best Hire Might Not Have the Perfect Resume by Regina Hartley

UPS Human Resources Manager, Regina Hartley begins her TED Talk with this scenario: The HR department must decide between two applicants. “Candidate A,” who Hartley calls “the silver spoon” has an Ivy League education, a 4.0 GPA, flawless resume and great recommendations. “Candidate B,” who Hartley calls “the scrapper” attended a state college, has done a fair amount of job-hopping and once worked as a singing waitress. “Both are qualified,” says Hartley. “Who are you going to pick?” Hartley’s talk shows why the candidate who has succeeded in the face of adversity may be the best candidate for the job.

5. The Danger of Hiding Who You Are by Morgana Bailey

With 2,295,390 views to date, HR professional turned human rights advocate, Morgana Bailey’s TED Talk has clearly hit a nerve. In the age of Diversity & Inclusion programs, this powerfully moving TED Talk speaks volumes about the importance of being authentic at work and in life, even when it’s terrifying.

Do you have a favorite TED Talk or two that have inspired your work? We’d love to hear about it. Talk to us on Facebook and Twitter.