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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

6 TED Talks to Remind You That Even the Most Successful People Face Challenges

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We all have challenges we face as we climb the ladder to success—something is holding us back, someone is standing in our way, we’re afraid to take the leap.

The thing is, even the most successful individuals faced these exact same difficulties. And not only did they learn how to overcome them, they shared their secrets with the world.

So, without further ado, here are six TED Talks by entrepreneurs, leaders, and researchers that will help you tackle any obstacle that comes your way—so you can get back to doing great work.

1. If You’re Working Hard But Still Not Improving: How to Get Better at the Things You Care About by Eduardo Briceño

Learning expert and writer Briceño suggests there are two aspects of our work: the learning zone and the performance zone. If we want to excel in the career, hobby, or thing we care about the most, he believes we should spend more time focusing on the learning zone—a.k.a., continuing to pick up new skills that’ll help us better perform in the long run.

2. If You’re Working Hard But Not Moving Up: The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get by Susan Colantuono

Leadership expert Susan Colantuono knows why you’re not moving up in your field, even if you’re doing everything that you were told to do. Even though most of her research focuses on women and closing the gender gap, her insight into the secret to career advancement is extremely helpful for anyone looking to get promoted or be seen as a leader in their industry.

3. If Fear Is Holding You Back: Smash Fear, Learn Anything by Tim Ferriss

Productivity guru Tim Ferriss used to be terrified of swimming. But, by facing his fear, he was able to learn a great deal about the sport—among other things. After listening to his three stories, you’ll understand that being afraid ultimately means you’re on the right track to greatness.

4. If Your Great Work Is Constantly Being Interrupted: Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work by Jason Fried

Why can’t you seem to focus in the office, but work perfectly fine in, say, a coffee shop? Well, entrepreneur and author Jason Fried argues that there’s a difference between voluntary (checking Facebook) and involuntary (someone scheduling a meeting) distractions. Watching this video will help you limit interruptions, get more meaningful work done, and just maybe cut down on how many meetings you attend (don’t we all want that?).

5. If You’re Not Reaching Your Goals: Keep Your Goals to Yourself by Derek Sivers

In this short talk, entrepreneur Derek Sivers makes a pretty good case for why you shouldn’t tell people your goals—mainly, because when you spread the word, you’re scientifically less likely to achieve them. However, there is a better way to tell someone so that they hold you accountable, without holding you back.

6. If Your Ideas Never Seem to Take Off: The Single Biggest Reason Why Startups Succeed by Bill Gross

Having a great idea, or a great team, or a lot of money, can only get you so far, says Gross, founder of Idealab. It’s the timing of your idea that makes it stick, and here’s why.