23 Best TED Talks On Personal Development

ideas worth spreading

I love Ted talks – they’ve been constructed in a brilliant way where the speakers share their personal stories filled with valuable information and fun.

Not in any particular order.


1. Success is a continuous journey by Richard St. John

Success is often seen as some event that happens to you and then it’s just staying there for the eternity.

False. Muddy mountain is a great analogy for this – unless you go up, you will slowly start sliding down.

2. On being wrong by Kathryn Schultz

Kathryns talk explains one of the most important concepts related to improving yourself: not trusting your internal feeling of being right when you can’t be absolutely sure.

I stayed stagnant for so long because I was certain that what I felt about the world and other people was “right”. The movement of change started when I doubted every negative thought that I had.

3. Difference between winning and succeeding by John Wooden

John gives a great reminder how subjective concept success is.

I coin my own definition of success, which is peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction and knowing, you made the effort do the best you are capable of.

4. Keep your goals to yourself by Derek Sivers

Your brain can’t tell the difference between reality and images created by your mind. By telling people about your goals, it creates a sense of already having accomplished them.

Derek talks about several researchs made that studied this and the results were clear: by announcing your goal to someone you will have smaller chance to actually achieve it.

5. 8 Secrets of success by Richard St. John

Richard interviewed 500 successful people and compiled it to a little bit over 3 minute talk, sharing the 8 secrets of success.

  1. Passion – Do it for love, not for money
  2. Work – Nothing comes easily
  3. Good – Get damn good at what you do: practice
  4. Focus
  5. Always push yourself
  6. Serve – You have to serve something of value for people to give their money to you
  7. Ideas – Listen, observe, be curious, ask questions, solve problems and make connections
  8. Persist – Number one reason for success. Giving up means failure.


6. 100 Days of rejection by Jia Jiang

Great example how the growth lies in going out of your comfort-zone. Jia Jiang found that by being open towards the world, the world start to open to you.

Nothing restricts our life as much as all the fears that we have.

7. The power of vulnerability by Brene Brown

If I’d have to say one thing that has affected most positively to my state of mind, it’s what Brene Brown is talking about.

It’s about taking all the internal defences down against emotions, thoughts and outer circumstances. This happens, when you truly internalize that there’s nothing to fight against.

Great talk and great concept.

8. Try something new for 30 days by Matt Cutts

What Matt Cutts is explaining here is the effect of breaking the pattern of your daily life.

It gives us more energy, makes us more confident and most of all, enables us to grow as human beings.

9. Why 30 is not the new 20 by Meg Jay

Stop wasting time – you don’t have as much of it as you think you do.

I’ve personally never thought my younger years as “throwaway years”, but I can imagine there are lots of yolo-swags that do.

You are deciding your life right now- Meg Jay

10. The skill of self confidence by Dr. Ivan Joseph

I loved this from the beginning because Ivan made it clear that self confidence is a skill that can be learned.

Self confidence comes from knowing what to do and knowing what to do comes from repetition.

11. Why we do what we do by Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins has 30 years of experience of inspiring people. When he talks, it’s good idea to listen.

Unfortunately this isn’t one his best ones and it isn’t focused like TED talks usually are, but it’s still worth the mention.


12. The surprising science of happiness by Dan Gilbert

Dan explains beautifully with how our thinking fools us – especially when it comes to happiness.

13. The Paradox of Fulfillment by Taylor Conroy

4 years before giving this talk, Taylor had everything: he had became a millionaire and was in the best condition of his life. He also felt deep emptiness.

In this inspirational video you can see his excitement towards what truly made his life fulfilling.

14. All it takes is 10 mindful minutes by Andy Puddicombe

People recommend meditation for a reason. By taking 10 minutes each day and being completely present has a refreshing effect that ripples to every part of your life.

15. The happy secret to better work by Shawn Achor

There’s a collective illusion going on, that happiness is some future event that happens to you after you work hard enough.

Bullshit. Watch this talk.

16. Flow, the secret to happiness by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Being in the flow state is one of the best experiences one can have. It looks like you can only achieve it by accident when you encounter something interesting to do.

Mihaly reveals how to achieve the flow state: When you do something that’s easy to you, it’s boring. When you do something that’s hard for you, it’s frustrating.

But when you do something that’s of equal difficulty with your current skills.. that’s when the magic of flow happens.

17. The habits of happiness by Matthieu Ricard

The biggest misconception about happiness is confusing it with the feeling of pleasure.

Matthieu explains how wellbeingness is better explanation for happiness as it implies sense of serenity and fulfillment.


18. Your body language shapes who you are by Amy Cuddy

I witness the effects of Amy Cuddys talk in my everyday life. Before I thought that our body language gets shaped by how we think and feel, but in reality it’s a two-way street.

No matter where I am, my aim is to present myself with clarity and confidence. The reason for that isn’t that I want to fake it, but because by doing it I reinforce those qualities in me and the momentum from it enables me to be confident.

19. How to make stress your friend by Kello McGonigal

Highly recommended.

Phenomenal talk for those who wish to be more productive.

I’ve experienced this myself as I’ve focused on pushing myself and gaining momentum by being active. I never thought the stress as bad, but something that energized me to do more.

I always thought about it as the effect of momentum, but Kelly gave it a name backed by studies.


20. The first 20 hours – how to learn anything by Josh Kaufman

Self-improvement is constant education.

One of the biggest problems that I see around me is that people don’t really believe that they have the capability to learn anything.

Josh Kaufmans brilliant talk explains why that’s complete bullshit. The song played by him at the end is also nice.

21. Trial, error and the God complex by Tim Harford

Trial and error is the most effective way to learn. It’s also the hardest one because it requires some out of box thinking and a mindset that differs from most people.

Tim Harford talks mostly from business-perspective, but this is fully applicable to personal development.

Children do it naturally all the time and that’s how they learn things so quickly. They are able to make fools of themselves as they haven’t cultivated the concept of failure and shame yet.

22. Smash fear, learn anything by Tim Ferriss

I hear these excuses all the time: “I can’t do that” or “Only talented people can do that”.

And I cringe every time. That’s the worst way to limit oneself.

Anything can be learned. It’s all about taking action towards actual learning instead of taking the easy way: making excuses.

Watch this talk.


23. The puzzle of motivation by Dan Pink

Dan Pink explains how financial incentives result to better results when it comes to mechanical performance.

When it comes to creative performance (the direction the world is heading towards!), financial incentives actually lower ones performance.

This is more of a business-oriented talk, but you can see how this relates to individuals life: reward oriented thinking, such as doing something only for money won’t motivate you for long.

You’ll have to find deeper reasons for anything that you do.


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