We’re all different, that’s what makes us special, right?
Because of that, there’s no one right hack, trick, tip, or inspirational quote that’ll work for everyone out there. And if you want to improve yourself, this can be a little frustrating because you see, and then read, the best advice ever and get nothing from it.
Well, to help you harness your best self, I’ve found nine inspirational TED talks for nine different kinds of people. So, rather than watching all nine and hoping one will jump out at you, I’ve done that work for you and already made it clear who should watch what.
1. For the Stubborn: Why You Think You’re Right—Even If You’re Wrong
Julia Galef, co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, explains why we choose to let one idea “win” and others “lose”—the “soldier mindset” as she puts it. Her research has led her to discover that having good judgment has nothing to do with intelligence or education, but emotion. If you’re someone who always has to be right, no matter what, this talk will completely change your disposition for the better.
2. For the Person Who Takes the Path of Least Resistance: What Can We Learn from Shortcuts?
In his speech about walkways (yes, walkways), Tom Hulme, designer and venturer, talks about what we can learn about consumers by looking at the “desire paths” they create. His point? Taking shortcuts isn’t always a bad thing—in fact, it is the best thing to know exactly what people need.
3. For the Person Who Is Obsessed With Being an Introvert or Extrovert: Who Are You, Really? The Puzzle of Personality
Brian Little is watching you. That is, because he’s a Cambridge professor studying personality science. In his TED talk, he’ll explain the differences between introverts and extroverts—in the way they communicate, act, feel, and even how much coffee they need.
4. For the Person Who Is Always Checking Her Phone: How Better Tech Could Protect Us from Distraction
Tristan Harris is a design thinker and entrepreneur who wants to change the way we spend our time. He discusses why our phones have become such a distraction and how to restore choice and meaningful interactions back into technology. He ends on a powerful note—that ultimately, we have the power to create a world that cares about us.
5. For the Outcast: The Beauty of Being a Misfit
Author Lidia Yuknavitch had a rough start in life—several, in fact. Her story’s inspiring, and an important reminder that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself. And that even the misfit can become something great.
6. For the Person Who Fears for the Future: Wisdom from Great Writers on Every Year of Life
Is the future predictable? Journalist Joshua Prager would argue yes—which is why he has documented wisdom from books to cover every year of your life. So not only can we learn what to expect going forward, but positively reflect on what has already happened.
7. For the Person Who’s Always Correcting Grammar in Facebook Statuses: The Nit-Picking Glory of the New Yorker’s Comma Queen
If you think you’re obsessed when it comes to grammar, Mary Norris, copy editor for The New Yorker, just might outrun you for the title. Her funny talk’s not just informative, but also perfect for all the writers out there who need the confidence boost to not let critics get in their way.
8. For the Creative: The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers
Psychologist Adam Grant was shocked to discover that procrastinators are actually more creative. In fact, he discovered that some of the most successful ideas were created by people with bad ideas, people who weren’t the first to come up with the idea, and people who waited until the last minute. If you’re wondering how this is possible, check out his amazing talk.
9. For the Workaholic: My Year of Saying Yes to Everything
Shonda Rhimes, writer and producer, is truly poetic in her speech about her life as a work titan. She talks about fear, careers, and the “hum” that motivates you to keep going—and what happens when it stops.