TED Talks are a great source of motivation and education.

Watching TED Talks is a quick and easy way to learn something new in a matter of minutes. Complete with the fitting tagline 'Ideas Worth Spreading', these talks are famous for being interesting, engaging and full of useful information. If you're looking for something to inspire and improve your career, there's a talk for that ‒ actually, there are hundreds.

To save you some time finding the best ones, we've done the hard work for you. Here are seven TED Talks that will stimulate your mind and guide you towards the career boost you're looking for.

1. The Secrets of People Who Love Their Jobs

Feeling unsure about your career? Perhaps you wake up each day wishing for a new challenge. If that scenario sounds familiar to you, tune in to 'The Secrets of People Who Love Their Jobs'. Presented by Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D., this talk delves into what makes us happy.

Unsurprisingly, the job we do plays a huge role in whether or not we feel content in our lives. Lopez delivers an inspiring talk on the topic based on psychological research and stories from his own family. Whilst many people are under the impression that finding the perfect job is the key to loving it, he offers a different outlook. Instead, Lopez puts forward a case for finding a job in your skill set and slowly working at it to make it your own. The result is a role you have designed to suit you.

2. The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers

To get ahead in any creative industry and beyond, it's important to be an original thinker. 'The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers' is delivered by organisational psychologist Adam Grant and will certainly inspire you to 'think different' (as Apple would say).

Within the video, Grant gives a unique insight into the habits that will help you become more creative. Over the years, he has studied a group of people that he calls the 'originals' and has drawn some conclusions. As he puts it, waiting until the last minute to get a project done doesn't give you any time to think creatively. However, on the other end of the scale, working yourself up into a frenzy when trying to complete something early also prevents originality. You have to find the sweet spot in between to find that creative spark.

3. Be an Opportunity Maker

Do you shout about your achievements or feel shy when trying to share them? If it's the latter, take time to watch 'Be an Opportunity Maker'. In this TED Talk, writer Kare Anderson shares her touching story of how she battled chronic shyness over the years. However, everything changed for her when she started networking and helping the people that she met embrace their inner talents and skills.

Anderson talks about how many of us work and spend our free time without ever considering how we can improve our circumstances. She reminds us that we always have a chance to make new opportunities. To do so, we simply need to recall the three common traits of opportunity-makers: they get involved in different sectors, they connect with others and they always seek out common interests with others.

4. How to Make Work-Life Balance Work

Establishing a solid work-life balance is a hot topic. Regardless of what sector you work in, ensuring that you create a system that works for you is essential ‒ neglecting this area of your life could lead to burnout and otherwise impact your mental well-being. If you are struggling with this issue, 'How to Make Work-Life Balance Work' is a smart place to start.

In the engaging (and at times, funny) talk, Nigel Marsh uses quirky examples from his own life to illustrate his point. Whilst finding balance is never simple, he puts forward his theory that you can start to make small changes that will make a huge impact. This TED Talk may make you reconsider some things.

5. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Do you think that success is all about IQ or raw talent? Think again. In 'Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance', Angela Lee Duckworth talks about her theory on how 'grit' determines success.

Whilst teaching maths to seventh graders in a New York public school, Duckworth found that intelligence doesn't always align with success. Making it is all about having the determination to keep moving forward regardless of the obstacles that stand in your way. Within the inspiring TED Talk, she discusses how we can build grit by adopting a 'growth mindset', a theory developed at Stanford University by Carol Dweck. In simple terms, it refers to owning our failures, learning from them and moving on.

6. How to Get Back to Work After a Career Break

Getting back into work after a career break can be tough for the best of us. When you find yourself in this position, you may worry about how the time away will affect your chances of gaining a role. Whether you were taking care of a relative, went travelling or something else, taking that first step back onto the career ladder is hard. 

Sharing her own experiences as a 40-year-old intern, Carol Fishman Cohen talks about the obstacles many face when returning to work. 'How to Get Back to Work After a Career Break' covers what it means to be a 'relauncher'. She gives examples of people who have successfully done just that and offers advice for those thinking of doing the same. From keeping up with the latest business news to boosting your confidence, there are many valuable nuggets in this talk.

7. The Puzzle of Motivation

Let's say you're already in a job that you love, but you have one major problem: No matter how hard you try, you can't seem to motivate yourself to work harder. It's a conundrum that we've all faced from time to time, and forcing yourself to work when you're simply not feeling it can be a real slog. If you've faced this problem in the past or now, there may be an underlying reason for it.

In 'The Puzzle of Motivation', career analyst Dan Pink suggests that the rewards you get from your manager may not be as effective as they imagine. Whether it's a pay rise, time off or simply a figurative pat on the back, these benefits might not be pushing you in the right direction. So, what's the solution, and how can you re-spark your inner motivation? Surprisingly, it could be asking for more flexibility at work. He explains why giving employees the freedom to choose their hours and when they come in may result in more productivity.

TED Talks can help you get ahead

The next time you're twiddling your thumbs, put them to good use and click on one of these talks. Short, sweet and always educational, TED Talks are a bitesize way to learn something new. Watching these seven videos could help inspire and motivate you to get more from your career. Go ahead and press play!

Feeling inspired to make a change? Get a free CV critique to prepare yourself for the next stage of your career.

Recommended Reading:

Related Articles: