Whether we’re looking back on this year or onto the next, we all want to become better versions of who we currently are. We want to be smarter, kinder, more successful, more caring, less stressed. We want to be better employees, parents, friends, people.

But how do we do improve ourselves? Maybe it means finding our voice. Or taking risks. Or meeting new people. Or being vulnerable.

Whatever you want to become, you can do it—and here are six TED Talks that prove it. For the person who wants to...


1. Speak More Confidently: How to Speak Up for Yourself by Adam Galinsky



How do you know if you can correct your boss? Or, ask for a raise? Or, defend your beliefs? According to Galinsky, a social psychologist, it’s about power dynamics—and here’s how to figure out where you stand and when you should speak up.


2. Find Their Ideal Life Path: The New American Dream by Courtney Martin



Is having more better? Doing more? Being more?

Journalist Courtney Martin says that the linear “American Dream” has changed—and here’s how you should rethink yours.


3. Meet New People: Why You Should Talk to Strangers by Kio Stark



We interact with people we know all the time—co-workers, managers, clients, friends, family, neighbors. But how often do we try to interact with people we don’t know?

Stark is a stranger enthusiast, and, as her title suggests, she loves meeting new people—and she’ll explain the surprising emotional and psychological benefits of doing it.


4. Be More Mindful: All it Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes by Andy Puddicombe



When we don’t take care of our mind, says mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe, we get stressed. And nobody likes that.

“The present moment is underrated,” he says. So enjoy it by taking just 10 minutes out of your day to meditate. Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than it sounds—and his quick demonstration will make it feel a lot less scary to try.


5. Take Control of Their Life: What Reality Are You Creating for Yourself? by Isaac Lidsky



Seeing is believing. You’ve probably heard that phrase a bajillion times.

But take it from Lidsky, an author and entrepreneur who lost his eyesight early in life—sight isn’t the only way to see the world. In fact, he’d argue that we create our own reality, rather than passively see it. Now go out there and make your own.


6. Become Their Television Hero: 4 Larger-Than-Life Lessons From Soap Operas by Kate Adams



OK, stay with me here—even if you don’t watch soap operas you’ll want to hear Adams’ stories. From the voice of a digital storyteller, her talk is hilariously engaging, and will show you that television—while a bit dramatic—is truly a reflection of ourselves. Which means we can learn a lot from it.


Photo of person on laptop courtesy of Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images.