21 Inspiring/Educational TED Talks That Will Change Your Life

Looking for inspiration, motivation or fulfilment? Then look no further than a good old TED talk to set you up for the day ahead and make you feel able to conquer just about anything. TED stands for  Technology, Entertainment and Design and features "ideas worth spreading." The speaker series launched in 1984, and there are now thousands of TED talks available at your fingertips online.

I've created a list of just 21 of those thousands of inspirational speeches in order to share some of my favourites. These talks, delivered by articulate, compassionate, educated speakers opened up both my heart and mind in different ways, introduced me to new ways of thinking and provided me with comfort. These beautiful talks come from some fascinating people with ideas and stories deserving of being heard. So, sit back, relax and get ready to feel inspired! 

A queer vision of love and marriage by Tiq Milan and Kim Katrin Milan
In this beautifully infectious talk, a married queer couple consisting of a trans man and cis gendered woman give an insightful view into their relationship and the obstacles they face. They question misconceptions outsiders may have of them in order to begin the journey to a more inclusive future.

Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model by Cameron Russell

Model Cameron Russell tackles an important topic with heart and bravery. She speaks of how, whilst looks may contribute towards success, they certainly aren’t everything. She speaks of body insecurities within the modelling industry and how an illusion of perfection has been created to make us believe the fake is real.

How sampling transformed music by Mark Ronson

Here’s one for music lovers. Mark Ronson talks passionately about how sampling within music has allowed us to move forwards and develop even more creative pieces. He gives great examples of famous samples songs as he takes listeners on a trip down memory lane. 

There's more to life than being happy by Emily Esfahani Smith
This uplifting talk from an inspiring speaker introduces us to the four pillars of meaning and delves into the difference between happiness and meaning. She tells us of how feeling as though you have purpose in life is much deeper than feeling happy, as happiness comes and goes.

The urgency of intersectionality by Kimberlé Crenshaw

In one of my favourite TED talks, Kimberlé Crenshaw discusses the importance fighting the race and gender violence which exists all around us. She highlights how the two combined can have even more ghastly consequences. She passionately tells of how, more so now than ever, we cannot sweep this under the rug but, instead, must stand by victims of oppression and include them in our activism.

I don't want children - stop telling me I'll change my mind by Christen Reighter

Christen Reighter challenges the gender role created for women by society that they are destined to become mothers. She openly discusses obstacles she has faced as a woman who does not want children and calls out the sexism. She also reminds women that what they do with their body is their choice and their choices are not any measurement of their worthiness as a woman.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable by Luvvie Ajayi

In a culture of silence, this TED talk reminds us that our silence will neither protect us or help us progress. Luvvie Ajayi reminds us that we have no option other than to speak out in the face of discrimination and that it's time to get comfortable with situations and issues that make you uncomfortable.

How to talk (and listen) to transgender people by Jackson Bird

With trans people still being misunderstood and stereotyped each day, listening to their needs and their stories is as important now as it has ever been. Jackson Bird provides education on trans issues, such as pronouns and public bathrooms, in a friendly, non-condescending way.

What I learned as a prisoner in North Korea by Euna Lee

This moving TED talk gives journalist Euna Lee a chance to tell the story of how she was kept in a detention centre for 140 days and the little things which helped her survive. This powerful talk is bound to give anyone goosebumps.

Why I'm done trying to be "man enough" by Justin Baldoni

Toxic masculinity is one of the most poignant issues in society today. This incredible talk challenges the stereotype of 'masculinity' and recognises the bravery it takes for one to be vulnerable.

The power of introverts by Susan Cain

Life as an introvert can be difficult but the world very much needs introverts. This talk celebrates introverts and the remarkable things they have done whilst reminding introverts it's okay to be quiet.

The Muslim on the airplane by Amal Kassir

The news today has created a great ethnic divide, instilled people with fear and made them judgemental. Amal Kassir talks about the sad truth of reporting of terrorism and how the art of conversation can help break down barriers between humans.

Everyday sexism by Laura Bates

In this eye-opening talk, founder of the award-winning EverydaySexismProject Laura Bates, discusses her experiences with sexism and how they inspired her to create a space where other women could share theirs.

Violence against women - it's a men's issue by Jackson Katz 

In another one of my favourite TED talks, Jackson Katz hits the nail on the head with every point he makes when he reminds men that violence against women is very much a male issue and, as women have become defined by the violent acts men inflict upon them, men themselves have a duty to end this behaviour.

We should all be feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi

In this famous TED talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi shares her life experiences as a Nigerian woman and the importance of intersectionality in feminism. Her words on sexuality, masculinity and the inspirations behind her feminism are inspiring.

How Your Brain Falls In Love by Dawn Maslar

Watch Dawn Masla tackle the age old question, 'how does the brain fall in love?' She puts her own twist on the topic and her well thought out and heavily researched scientific talk is bound to help you learn a few things.

Why you should define your fears instead of your goals by Tim Ferriss

"We suffer more often in imagination than in reality," says Tim Ferriss. In his TED talk, he encourages listeners to face their fears by acknowledging them head on. This inspiring talk reminds us that the very things worth doing in life are often the hardest.

Do schools kill creativity? by Sir Ken Robinson

This humourous, yet insightful, talk encourages us to look deeper into the education system and the ways in which it treats students. Sir Ken Robinson talks about the importance of nurturing the creativity of children and inspiring them to express it because it shall lead to a wonderful future.

What makes you special? by Mariana Atencio
Mariana Atencio explains how she's been touched and inspired by the human beings she's met on her travels and how she discovered that being human is what we all have in common. She expresses the beauty in us all being different in such a wonderful way.

The first 20 hours - how to learn anything by Josh Kaufman
In this talk, Josh Kaufman shares how having his first child inspired him to approach learning in a whole new way. This talk is so fascinating and offers advice to anyone wanting to learn something new.

The power of vulnerability by Brené Brown
This extremely personal TED talk explores how frightening it can be to allow yourself to be vulnerable but how there is also beauty in it. This talk is so warm and Brené Brown has great energy... "as it turns out we cant practise compassion for others unless we can be kind to ourselves."

What are your favourite TED talks? <3

Love, Emily :) xx

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