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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

8 TED Talks That Are So Great You'll Actually Want to Listen to Them on Your Day Off

Yeah, yeah, I know you don’t want to work while you’re trying to enjoy the last bits of summer. But who says listening to TED Talks are really working? You can pull them up on your phone, you can press play while simultaneously soaking up some rays, and you can even watch them with friends.

Sure, they’re educational, but they’re always almost a lot of fun to listen to. Plus, they come in one neat 20-minute segment.

Convinced? Good—because I have eight great ones to inspire you right now to cultivate a better life (and maybe a better career) for yourself, even on your days off.

1. The Dream We Haven’t Dared to Dream

Dan Pallotta, entrepreneur and social activist, gives a tremendous speech on dreaming for a better humanity. The idea of improving ourselves, our relationships, and our happiness scares us because it’s so abstract. But Pallotta argues that if we could achieve marriage equality and landing on the moon, we too, can seek a life of joy if we just work together.

2. How to Get Back to Work After Taking a Career Break

If the end of August means it’s time to job search, this TED Talk is for you. Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO and co-founder of iRelaunch, will help you find your way back into the working world successfully—from networking and boosting your resume to gaining confidence in yourself—without having to skip a beach day.

3. We Are Nothing (and That Is Beautiful)

Alok Vaid-Menon, a student at Stanford University and social activist, believes that we should change the way we perceive success. Rather than striving to get promoted, receive a good grade, or achieve some level of status, we should fail more—because a whole new world of possibilities is out there.

4. If You Do Something, Something Will Happen

Don’t believe in the cold call email? Well, artist Chuck Anderson’s story will prove you wrong—by “doing something,” he actually turned his passion into a full-fledged career.

5. What Makes a Good Life? Lessons From the Longest Study on Happiness

Want to know the secret to happiness? You’ll never get a better answer than this TED Talk, in which psychiatrist Robert Waldinger discusses the results of lifelong studies of content, and less content, individuals. A fascinating talk for the happily curious.

6. Being Young and Making an Impact

Natalie Warne, at only 18 years old, started one of the largest and most successful campaigns for the Invisible Children organization. But what she says in this talk is even more inspiring: “I had been extraordinary all along,” which goes to show that no matter your age or experience, you have the power and potential in you to make a difference.

7. Living Beyond Limits

After losing both her legs, Amy Purdy decided she was going to write her own new story. She is now a professional snowboarder, and an inspiration for all that the only obstacle that stands in your way is you.

8. Everyday Leadership

In this funny talk, Drew Dudley, a leadership educator, talks about what it means to be a real leader—and that it’s not as hard or unattainable as we may think. His “lollypop” moment is a great reminder that you have the ability to impact someone’s life with even the smallest actions.

Photo of man with headphones on beach courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images.