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TED talks to get you psyched about learning

TED talks to get you psyched about learning

There’s nothing better than a pep talk.

We love TED talks. Motivational, helpful, insightful: that’s what happens when you round up the best expert speakers to spread ideas and inspire people. Here are some of the best to get you pumped about learning, whether it’s for fun or to take the next step in your career.

Two questions to uncover your passion – and turn it into a career (Noeline Kirabo)

An ardent social entrepreneur, Noeline Kirabo helps vulnerable young people in Uganda turn their passions into businesses. Here, the lessons she shares will resonate with anyone wanting to pursue their dreams, starting with two questions you can ask yourself. Ever wondered what really makes you happy and brings you fulfillment? Start here. 


Your elusive creative genius (Elizabeth Gilbert)

Do what you love and stay sane doing it. Working as an artist is known to come with its fair share of struggles and fears, but need it be so anguished? Author Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat, Pray, Love fame, reflects on the impossible pressure society seems to place on artists and creative types. How’s this for a lark of an idea: instead of the rare person being a genius... maybe all artists have a creative genius helping them along. This is essential viewing for anyone who considers themselves a creative. If you’ve ever doubted yourself or the quality of your work, Gilbert’s advice will resonate. 


The nerd’s guide to learning everything online (John Green)

Author John Green realised in tenth grade how important a learning community is when he started at a new school. He found himself surrounded by people who celebrated intellectualism and engagement, and he flourished. After Green wrote his first book, he found joy in discovering online learning communities as an adult. Whether it’s a YouTube channel, a Tumblr thread or a subreddit, the learners are in the comments, engaging and participating. This is a lovely story of the affinity and togetherness to be found in online learning as an adult.


Do schools kill creativity? (Sir Ken Robinson)

There’s a reason this is the most-watched TED talk. Sir Ken Robinson, respected British author and advisor on education in the arts, speaks with an endearing wit in arguing that creativity is as important as literacy. Robinson implores us to rethink the way we see intelligence – it’s diverse, dynamic and distinct – and to redefine the education system to nurture imagination and creativity. In his own words, he wants you to see “our creative capacities for the richness they are”. Inspiring. 


Smash fear, learn anything (Tim Ferriss)

Tim Ferriss, productivity guru and much-lauded author of The 4-Hour Work Week, discusses the importance of facing fears in life in order to grow. His bountiful advice on overcoming fear is peppered with warm anecdotes from his own experiences conquering learning to swim, languages and dancing. The two overarching messages: it’s never too late to learn and don’t be afraid to learn new things.


The call to learn (Clifford Stoll)

You’ll be heartened by Clifford Stoll’s zest for knowledge. The American astronomer, author and cybersecurity pioneer delivers a captivating, energetic talk – mad scientist vibes and all – that really drives home the importance of curiosity and learning. Even though he talks about kids, the message still resonates. Stoll argues for keeping computers out of the classroom and nurturing students’ abilities to question, discover and learn.  


The puzzle of motivation (Dan Pink)

Why doesn’t a traditional reward system work? Author and motivation expert Dan Pink explains why incentives aren’t the solution – his hit book Drive is about enabling people to become intrinsically motivated. “Do it because you like to do it.” Although he focuses on workplaces, Pink unravels the mystery behind what gets us motivated – autonomy, mastery and purpose – and offers sage advice on how to get the best out of ourselves and those around us. 


The power of believing that you can improve (Carol Dweck)

It’s true, you can’t understate the importance of a growth mindset when it comes to your ability to learn. Dr Carol Dweck, a pioneering researcher in the field of human motivation, coined the terms ‘growth mindset’ and ‘fixed mindset’. This talk unpacks helpful strategies and suggests that believing you can improve on your abilities is even more important than believing in your actual abilities. Simply using the words “not yet” can reframe a challenge in front of you. 


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