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10 Must-Watch TED Talks for Students Before Starting a Career

TED began as a nonprofit media organization holding conferences on ‘ideas worth spreading’ in 1984. TED talks are short, powerful monologues, usually shorter than 18 minutes. The very first discussions covered the topics of Technology, Entertainment, and Design, so this is where the name comes from. Still, since then TED has grown, and today it talks about the vast variety of topics, including education, business, career or global issues and much more. All of them are presented in more than 100 languages. The presence at the conference is only possible via special invitation, but - a pleasant moment - the video recordings of all the talks are available online for free access.

When watching educational videos, you gain the knowledge of the main idea the speaker holds, along with the interesting story and a powerful motivation to act. And, most important, it won’t take more time, then you have a coffee. Why won’t we benefit from it? Being a student at the end of the studies has never been easy. You are practically at the edge before jumping into the adult life. And you decide which life it would be, even if you are not aware of that decision yet.

The list of the topics we gathered here can be the starting point for you now. They will help you define who you are now, who you want to be, how do you want to live and which career you want to have. And, the most important part, how can you get it all. And even more important. Those talks will give you strong motivation to act.

1. We decided to start our inspiring list of talks with the one, that has the most demotivating statement under the heading: ‘Why you will fail to have a great career?’ This question is something you most probably don’t want to hear. Like ever. Still, we are firmly convinced you have to listen to this talk, performed by Larry Smith, Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo. He would start it all sarcastic, a bit offensive and he would uncover the greatest truth every student graduate refuses to understand: ‘Those trying to have good careers are going to fail, because, really, good jobs are now disappearing... there are the high-workload, high-stress, blood sucking, soul-destroying kinds of jobs, and practically nothing in-between’. Do you want to know how to get through? Watch it. We promise you will love it.

2. ‘How you define yourself?’ A vital question to answer before you step into your adult life. There are so many things and people outside, who want to tell you ‘who you really are’ and make you believe they are right. How can you possibly be the only master of your self-definition? A speaker, Lizzie Velasquez, will give you the right direction and open the possibility to answer that question correctly. You will understand why she has the right to do so from the few first seconds of the video.


3. If you still believe, that IQ defines it all, you are wrong. If you think that the high intellect will put the world down to your feet, a talk
‘Grit: the power of passion and perseverance’ from a psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth will definitely disappoint you. Still, if you are willing to answer yourself a question ‘how can you achieve things in life?’ Or ‘how to stay motivated for the long run?’ This one is perfect for you. Actually, we believe it is great for everybody, a student, a kid, a parent, a teacher, an entrepreneur. Start watching, and you’ll know why.

4. Still worried about your first resume, first job audition, and first workplace? No working experience? A poor working experience, or a wrong one, from your perspective? Regina Hartley, a Human Resources Manager, holds a speech ‘Why the best hire might not have the perfect resume’ which is all about candidates applying for job places and how she, as an active HR Manager, decides to hire somebody. Knowing the process a bit from the inside will come quite in handy when you will actually start your first job hunt, won’t it?

5. ‘How to find a work you love?’ This speech of Scott Dinsmore made hundreds of people quit their jobs and start it all over again. We decided to include this excellent talk into our list for some reasons, like passion, interest it provokes, the motivation to act it gives and so on and so forth. But the most important thing is, that if you are only at the very beginning of your search, why won’t you start it correctly? Why won’t you escape all those mistakes people make all the time and find a job you like on your first try? If there is somebody who can give you an insight on how to do that, it is definitely this guy.

6. Another issue that can meet you unexpectedly in your adult life is facing somebody defining and controlling your time. You suddenly find yourself spending 10 hours a day in office. There are no friends around anymore. No family, kids, and hobbies. Is it the life you expected to have as an adult? We hope no! Nigel Marsh shares his ideas about ‘How to make work-life balance work’ while giving practical advice on time-management and relations. In other words, how can you stay efficient and social at the same time? The vital knowledge, the priceless information. For everybody.  https://www.ted.com/talks/nigel_marsh_how_to_make_work_life_balance_work 7. Ever thought about what could you possibly learn from dirty jobs? Well, good if no. Mike Rowe did it without any request. His valuable ideas and conclusions surprised everybody. Oh, well, and the manner of speech is also adorable.

8. ‘Why we do what we do’ sounds to be more of a philosophical question. Still, we are convinced, that it is a great one to answer yourself before you start your career. Tony Robbins is a powerful speaker and coach, who can meet tough questions with simple words. "What makes the difference in the quality of people's lives? What in their performance?" After watching this talk, you won’t be that confused with those questions anymore. Instead, you’ll enjoy the benefits from the answers.

9. ‘Be an opportunity maker’ is the header of the talk, held by Kare Anderson, a writer, grown with the diagnosis of a ‘phobically shy person.’ Just stop for a second here and think of it. A phobically shy person giving a motivational speech in front of cameras and the auditory full of people? Isn’t that something worth your attention? Even despite that fact, the talk has much to offer. Kare speaks of the possibilities you can create yourself, without waiting them happen to you occasionally. She shares her own life experience, tells stories and engages everybody to join a great deal of creating opportunities and sharing them with other people. ‘What I'm asking you to consider is what kind of opportunity-makers we might become, because of more than wealth or fancy titles or a lot of contacts, it's our capacity to connect with each other's better side and bring it out.’ A good chance to reconsider your plan for life and find out how can you be a leader, instead of being an ordinary co-worker.

10. Sarah Lewis is another writer in our list of motivational speakers with a talk called ‘Embrace the near win.’ The header is intriguing itself, so it probably won’t need any extra praise. But there are several moments worth mentioning before you start watching it. We all grew up with the obsessive ideas in our minds. To be successful, to achieve goals, to be the best… Well, bad news for all of us, as Sarah crushes them all. Still, she won’t leave us with empty hands, for she offers something much better instead. Achieving is transformed into mastering, so the idea of setting goals and accomplishing them won’t be your first priority anymore. Instead, you’ll gain a better understanding of what you want to do in your life, and, most important, how you want to do it. You’ll understand the tiny, but the essential difference between achievers and real masters. Kind of a good thing to know, huh?

We are sure that the ideas presented in those talks will serve as an excellent preliminary groundwork before you sit down and consider your lifetime plans and your career. In future, a couple of TED videos a week can make you more motivated, give you fresh ideas and desire to act, along with the suggestions on how to perform better. No matter who you are now, there are always options to try and roads to go.