7 TED Talks to Inspire and Exercise Your Brain

Just like you need to exercise your body to stay fit, you also need to exercise your brain to stay sharp. Maybe that involves staying curious by asking questions, playing Luminosity (there’s an app, too!), or trying a new hobby. Another way to spark your curiosity: TED Talks. These short, inspirational videos (20 minutes or less) are powerful; they get you thinking and help open your eyes to new ideas and fresh perspectives.

Here are a few of our favorite TED Talks!

A broken body isn’t a broken person // Janine Shepherd

After her Olympic dreams were dashed following a devastating bike accident, Janine Shepherd was forced to rethink her life. Once she accepted that it would never be the same – and started asking why not me instead of why me – she was free to explore life’s infinite possibilities, with crazy inspiring results.

Less stuff, more happiness // Graham Hill

Graham Hill has an intriguing idea: An edited life means more – more freedom, more time, more happiness. Watch his take on the less is more movement. You may just be inspired to live with less.

In praise of slowness // Carl Honoré

We live in a culture where busier is best, but Carl Honoré counters and poses: When was the last time you did nothing? He encourages all to get in touch with your inner tortoise. Take the time to unplug and turn off your phone and laptop. Honoré believes it will make you happier, healthier, and more productive.

The power of introverts // Susan Cain

Did you know that one-third to half of people are introverts (me included)? In Susan Cain’s eye-opening talk, she argues that introverts, who feel most alive in quieter, low-key environments, need more freedom to come up with solutions to problems. “Stop the madness for constant group work!” she says. And, unplug and be in nature.

The power of vulnerability // Brené Brown

You’ve probably said it before… I’m not smart enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m not fill-in-the-blank enough. But, it’s when you let go of who you think you SHOULD be, when you embrace vulnerability, that you are most alive. Be vulnerably seen, says Brené Brown, because although vulnerability is the core of shame and fear, but it’s also the birthplace of connection, joy, creativity, belonging, and love. Believe what makes you vulnerable also makes you beautiful.

My philosophy for a happy life // Sam Berns

Don’t let his age fool you. High schooler Sam Berns is wise beyond his years. The Eagle Scout who was diagnosed with progeria at a young age shares his philosophy for a happy life in this TED talk. Always believe in your dreams, keep moving forward and be brave.

Why 30 is not the new 20 // Meg Jay

Your 20s are the defining decade of adulthood – the time to build your identity capital, something that adds value to who you are. Meg Jay encourages 20-somethings to go outside their inner circle because new things, sometimes the best things in life, come from weak ties. While Jay’s talk is focused on 20-somethings, it’s applicable to all; who doesn’t know or love someone who’s in their 20s?

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