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Career Advice

7 Inspiring TED Talks Every 20-Something Should Watch

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated September 16, 2016
|4 min read

Feeling a quarter-life crisis coming on? Stop what you’re doing and watch at least one of these inspiring TED Talks. Need to ace an interview? Watch Amy Cuddy’s talk. Want to walk down the street feeling more connected to the world? Watch Kio Stark’s talk. These inspiring talks will help you figure out who you want to be, and how you’re going to get there. All you have to do is take a deep breath and press play.

Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are  

It’s the second most popular TED Talk of all time for a reason. Amy Cuddy started a revolution with her insight into the effects of power posing. She shows us how small changes to our body language can yield huge results. Believe Amy when she says: “Before you go into the next stressful evaluative situation, for two minutes, try doing this, in the elevator, in a bathroom stall, at your desk behind closed doors. That's what you want to do. Configure your brain to cope the best in that situation....Leave that situation feeling like, I really feel like I got to say who I am and show who I am.”

Diana Nyad: Never, ever give up  

Your 20s can feel like a pressure cooker. “The best years of your life.” “The defining decade.” If you’re ever feeling like your whole life hinges on this decade, you need to take some advice from Diana Nyad. At the age of 64, Nyad accomplished her life-long dream of becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida. 64. Not 24. Her secret?

“...the truth is, I'm walking around tall because I am that bold, fearless person, and I will be, every day, until it's time for these days to be done.”

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius  

Ever feel like you need to be a world-class painter or Pulitzer prize winning author in order to call yourself a “creative”? Elizabeth Gilbert takes a look at this myth of what it means to be a “creative” and why so many of us are afraid of pursuing creative endeavors. Gilbert wants us all to push through the doubt, and particularly the fear, in order to let a creative spirit work through us. She asks: “Is it rational? Is it logical that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work that they feel they were put on this Earth to do?”

[Related: Search for creative jobs on Glassdoor]

Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20  

Your twenties matter. They are not the defining decade of your life, but they’re a really important one. Meg Jay walks us through why you should treat the decisions you make in your twenties as serious business. As she puts it, “Twenty-somethings are like airplanes just leaving LAX, bound for somewhere west. Right after takeoff, a slight change in course is the difference between landing in Alaska or Fiji. Likewise, at 21 or 25 or even 29, one good conversation, one good break, one good TED Talk, can have an enormous effect across years and even generations to come.”

Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career

“Does the word 'destiny' scare you? That's what we're talking about. And if you don't find the highest expression of your talent, if you settle for 'interesting,' what the hell ever that means, do you know what will happen at the end of your long life?” Curious to find out what exactly will happen? Watch Larry Smith’s TED Talk. Tackling your destiny will seem a lot less daunting, and a lot more necessary.

[Related: Find jobs that will help you determine your highest expression of talent.]

Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

What do Martin Luther King Jr. and the Wright Brothers have in common? Why is Apple so successful as marketing products? Sinek tells us why. He says it’s because “....they all think, act and communicate the exact same way. And it's the complete opposite of everyone else. All I did was codify it, and it's probably the world's simplest idea. I call it the golden circle.” Click play to learn what exactly this “golden circle” is.

Kio Stark: Why you should talk to strangers

“I'm obsessed with talking to strangers. I make eye contact, say hello, I offer help, I listen. I get all kinds of stories.” Wait, what? Who talks to strangers anymore? While the rest of us are busy with our iPhones, Stark is creating profound experiences and genuine emotional connections. This is an important reminder that sometimes what’s happening in front of you is more important than your Instagram feed.

DISCOVER: 9 Inspiring TED Talks Every Manager Should Watch