My Four Favorite Motivational Talks

The amazing change the internet has set in motion for the world still blows me away when I think about it.  But an organization called TED and the impact it’s had on the world blows me away just as much.  You’re in for a jaw-dropping experience if you’ve never heard of TED.

TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading” from big thinkers on our planet, first started out in conference format in the 1980s. They still hold the conferences, but now they also have thousands of videos of their amazing speakers available to you and me on their website at

I am so high on TED that I actually use the TED website as my TV instead of turning on the news every day.   My neuroscience studies taught me to be more careful about the “input” I take in each day – not just food and water – but things I watch and people I hang out with.  The more positive and less negative these things are, the better for my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

Here are my favorite TED talks of all time:

1. JK Rowling’s commencement speech at Harvard in 2008.  “The Fringe Benefits of Failure”

The Harry Potter author is laugh-out-loud funny, delightfully vulnerable, and intensely wise.

2. Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts”

You might be surprised to hear me say I am an introvert, but I am an extreme introvert.  Many accountants are introverts, and if you are, you might feel like you don’t fit in sometimes, being outnumbered and surrounded by extroverts all the time.  This talk will help you understand, relish, and tap into the strengths of being an introvert, plus you’ll get tips on how to best connect with the extroverts in our lives.

3. Steve Jobs’s Stanford University commencement speech. “How to Live Before You Die”

Made even more poignant due to Steve’s short life, this one’s a classic.

4. Brené Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability”

It might be my interest in studying the brain and emotions, but I love this message.  It might also be that learning to be vulnerable was one of my all-time hardest life lessons.  Once I did, my world changed for the better and everything got easier.

Those are my four favorite TED talks.  What are yours?