6 TED Talks Packed with Life Advice to Get You Through the Year

I love the clean slate feeling of the start of a new year. It holds so much promise and possibility. Leaving behind those things that aren’t working and installing new habits suddenly seems doable.

Your growing list of goals includes achieving a balanced life, making inbox zero your new norm and finally getting a handle on your sleep (even if it means taping your mouth shut). Awesome sauce.

Having a clear vision of how you’d like your life to look in 2019 is great. Humans are motivated by goals and milestones; without them we tend to stagnate. But as we all know, it’s easy to feel inspired and energized in January.

The challenge is holding onto that positive mindset throughout the year, especially when life dishes out curveballs to keep you on your toes. Fortunately, life advice to help you navigate the tough times is freely available on TED.com.

Bookmark these talks, and watch them whenever you need a motivational pick-me-up to remind you that you’re stronger than the current dilemma you’re facing. Some you may just watch once, others you’ll return to again and again.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to Anne Lamott’s talk (number six on this list), but her wisdom never grows old for me. These talks aren’t in any particular order, simply scroll through them until you see a title that resonates and stop there.

1. There’s More to Life Than Being Happy

We are obsessed with the idea of being happy, but chasing it can actually have the opposite effect on you. Emily Esfahani Smith explains that having meaning in your life, a sense of purpose, is what matters.

The Japanese call it “ikigai“, and according to Blue Zones researcher Dan Buettner, this driving force is the secret to the Okinawan’s health and happiness. The next time you find yourself feeling down, take a listen to Emily’s talk and see how you can find a sense of purpose in your life.

2. How to Speak up for Yourself

Speaking up for yourself can be tricky. You run the risk of alienating people when you voice what’s on your mind. But keeping quiet doesn’t serve you, either. Adam Galinsky looks at why it’s hard to speak up and offers ways to do it graciously.

3. A Pro Wrestler’s Guide to Confidence

Who better to learn the art of confidence from than a pro wrestler? By ‘turning up’ the parts of him that made him unique, Mike Kinney was able to create a larger-than-life wrestling persona.

In his amusing and heartwarming talk, he reminds us that we are all more than we think we are. If you want to live more confidently or feel like you’re falling short of your potential, watch Mike’s talk. It’ll have you pumped in no time.

4. Free Yourself from Your Filter Bubbles

It’s easy to hang out with people who share similar values and ideals, but these filter bubbles keep us from expanding our horizons. Joan Blades and John Gable couldn’t be more opposite on paper. She’s a Berkeley progressive; he’s a small town Republican.

Prior to meeting, neither of them even considered socializing outside their own circles. Now, they’re old friends. It’s more important than ever to mix up your friendship circle. Having a simple conversation with someone who has a different viewpoint can open up a whole new world. You never know what you might learn.

5. How to Get Better at the Things You Care About

Research has shown that once you’ve worked in a profession for a couple of years your performance usually plateaus. The reason for this is because once we become good enough we stop spending time in the learning zone.

Eduardo Briceņo explains that in order to get better at the things you care about, you need to get out of the performance zone and back into the learning zone. It’s only through practice that we improve.

6. 12 Truths I Learned from Life and Writing

Anne Lamott’s advice is an even mix of tongue-in-cheek candour and heartwarming nuggets of truth, applicable no matter what age you are. I find myself coming back to her talk time and again, soaking up her wisdom as I remind myself to take life one step at a time. Or, as she puts it: bird by bird.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


Mia B
Melisa B2 months ago


Thomas M
Thomas M2 months ago


Caitlin L
Past Member 2 months ago

thank you for posting

David C
David C2 months ago

do your best, accept yourself, think of and thank others

Val P
Val P3 months ago


Shirley P
Shirley Plowman3 months ago


Chad A
Chad Anderson3 months ago

Thank you.

Gino C
Past Member 3 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Jessica K
Jessica K3 months ago

The art of speaking your mind for better communication is a good one. Thanks.

David C
David C3 months ago

accept other's foibles