Learning on lockdown

15 TED Talks to Watch While You’re Stuck at Home

“For those of us looking to leverage this time to learn something new, you may want to take a look at the treasure chest of TED talks available online for your learning pleasure.”

No matter where you live, odds are you're probably at home most of the time right now.

Whether the pandemic cost you your job, or you've decided to change careers, maybe you're looking to polish off your professional skills (while also resisting the pressure to be productive right now). You might even need a mental health break from all the news and updates happening around you.

Whatever it is, there's no doubt: We're spending more time online than ever before. And for those of us looking to leverage this time to learn something new, you may want to take a look at the treasure chest of TED talks available online for your learning pleasure.

If you aren’t already tapped into the world of TED Talks, they are short, accessible presentations on a specific topic—from exploring the future of health care to more niche discussions, like what fungi can teach us about markets and economics. TED Talks are a great way to expand your knowledge on a wide variety of different topics, all at the click of a button. With over 3,400 different lectures, TED Talks can offer an instant dose of career development advice, inspiration, or tutorials on how to find a new career or continue your professional development. So, no matter what you're going through, chances are there's a TED Talk out there for you.

Ahead, we've put together a list of 15 TED Talks that can provide a dose of inspiration, a fresh perspective, and a lot of useful information that can help you grow towards whatever visions you have for yourself.

TED Talks for dealing with uncertainty

The 3 Secrets of Resilient People by Lucy Hone

Listen for: Building resilience during difficult times.

When everything around us seems to spiral out of control, building resilience can be an important self-defense mechanism. Lucy Hone, a famous researcher and director of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience talks about how she used three main skills to learn resilience and cope with the most uncertain times in her life. Tap into this TED talk to learn more about the meaning of loss and take a look at grieving and uncertainty through a different lens.

TED Talks for introverts

The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain

Listen for: Learning to avoid self-negating behaviors.

Our schools, workplaces, and overall culture keep revolving around extroverts. But, introverts have the power to rule the world when they have the right tools. Susan Cain, an American writer and lecturer, author of the non-fiction book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, wants everyone to understand the value of introverts. In her passionate talk, Cain shares her struggles as an introvert pushing herself to fit the mold of an extrovert, only to eventually realize that she could tap into her inner introvert powers.

TED Talks for when you’re switching careers

Turning Fear Into Fuel by Jonathan Fields

Listen for: Motivation and inspiration to let go of fear.

Technically a TEDx (independently organized) Talk, this speech by Jonathan Fields, an award-winning author, media-producer, and entrepreneur, may be just the thing you need to hear if you are currently looking to switch careers. Fear will always be there—that's a fact—but Fields challenges us to change how we pose our concerns, such as trading the classic question "What if I fail?" for something more fueling like "What if I succeed?"

TED Talks to help boost your creativity

Your Elusive Creative Genius by Elizabeth Gilbert

Listen for: Discovering your inner creator and embracing them.

As creators, we believe creativity is this endless river of ideas that never dries up. But, every creative out there has stared at a blank page or canvas for a bit too much. Elizabeth Gilbert, an American author, best known for her 2006 memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, shares her candid and personal tale with keeping up with creativity. In her TED Talk, she explores the idea that we all have these creative geniuses inside us—all we need to learn is how to awaken them. Listen to her talk for a relatable and personal story about redefining creativity and being more transparent with our creative selves.

TED Talks for dealing with anxiety

How to Cope with Anxiety by Olivia Remes

Listen for: The ultimate roadmap for controlling anxiety.

Most of us know someone who deals with anxiety or may even struggle with anxiety ourselves. Around 18 percent of Americans struggle with an anxiety disorder, and the recent global crisis has exacerbated things for a lot of people. With our lives moving at a hundred miles per second, there's no sign that anxiety will ever fully go away. Olivia Remes, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge focused on anxiety, wants to show us how to cope better. In her TED Talk, she explores the idea of self-love as an essential tool to help us manage how our bodies and minds experience anxiety.

TED Talks for overcoming procrastination

Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator by Tim Urban

Listen for: A good laugh and hard-realities about procrastination.

Most of us are no stranger to procrastination—no matter what kind of field we are in. The truth is, even when we're aware of the consequences of procrastinating, many of us still wait until the last minute to get things done. In this insightful and hilarious talk, writer and illustrator, Tim Urban takes us through every rabbit hole we dive in before starting to tackle what's on our to-do list, and leaves us with a better understanding of why we make the decisions we do.

TED Talks for when you’re feeling lonely

Love Letters to Strangers by Hannah Brencher

Listen for: An instant mood boost that will make you regain hope in humanity.

We all have those days when we feel isolated and lonely, and this struggle has become more intensified as of late. In her Ted Talk, Hannah Brencher, a TED Speaker, blogger, and author, shares the intimate story of her depression. Even within her darkest moments, Brencher found the light through words and letters. Her movement is evidence that the right words can help to lift your spirit. Check it out for an uplifting, candid, and heartwarming speech that could help to restore your hopes in society and may even make you want to write a letter or two.

TED Talks for when you’re in a career rut

How Will You Fail to Have a Great Career by Larry Smith

Listen for: A funny take on what it means to find your passion.

When it comes to being stuck in a career rut, we quickly get creative coming up with the most absurd excuses as to why we got into the rut in the first place. In this blunt talk, Larry Smith, a professor of economics at the University of Waterloo, brings up some harsh realities about what goes through people's minds when they land in a career rut.

TED Talks for embracing vulnerability

The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown

Listen for: A light-hearted approach to vulnerability.

Instead of feeling shame or hiding our vulnerabilities, Brené Brown, a professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host studying vulnerability and shame, wants to change our perception of empathy. In her TED Talk, she not only shares real-life scenarios in which the power of vulnerability wins, but she backs up her stories with years of research. There's a lot to think about after watching this TED Talk; believe it or not, vulnerability can be quite the asset at work, life, and more.

TED Talks for when you want to move up at work

The Career Advice You Probably Didn't Get by Susan Colantuono

Listen for: Real-life advice to help you prove you're a leader.

One could argue that following the corporate manual should help you move up the ladder at work. So why is it that, even when you follow the career playbook, you sometimes still don't get anywhere? In this talk, Susan Colantuono, the CEO of Leading Women, a management consulting firm that empowers women, poses a set of questions you may want to ask yourself if you’re feeling stuck.

TED Talks for future leaders

What It Takes to Be a Great Leader by Roselinde Torres

Listen for: Advice on how to become a great leader.

If you consider yourself a young leader, odds are you've already signed up for a million leadership classes. However, when it comes to navigating the real world, there's no one-size-fits-all manual on leadership. In this short TED Talk, Roselinde Torres, a senior partner, and managing director at the consulting firm, BCG, explores how, across companies, many leaders are still not meeting expectations. She ends the talk with three crucial questions to frame your future as a leader.

TED Talks for social innovation entrepreneurs

Want to Help Someone? Shut Up and Listen! by Ernesto Sirolli

Listen to: Learn what it takes to build an initiative that helps others.

Even the most well-intentioned leaders among us sometimes fail to listen. Drawing on this reality, Ernesto Sirolli, a noted authority in the field of sustainable economic development, focuses on how to change your perspective on what it means to help others. His advice calls for listening instead of doing—at least during the early stages. This talk is a must-watch for anyone in or hoping to enter the nonprofit or social innovation sector.

TED Talks for when you want to start a business

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Lee Duckworth

Listen to: Get motivated to run the entrepreneurial marathon.

Going from idea to execution to sustainability when starting a new business venture is one of the hardest marathons anyone can embark on. In this talk, Angela Lee Duckworth, an American academic, psychologist, and popular science author, shares her personal story. She shares how she realized that the difference between those who struggle and succeed is not intelligence or even good looks—it’s grit. Listen for her take on how courage can be the one predictor of success we can control.

TED Talks for early-stage entrepreneurs

Two Reasons Companies Fail—and How to Avoid Them by Knut Haanaes

Listen to: Make sure your company is growing in the right direction.

While it can be hard to predict exactly how your business will grow, many early entrepreneurs fail to plan for possible futures. In this talk, Knut Haanaes, Dean of the Global Leadership Institute at the World Economic Forum, shares his view on how to strike the right balance between polishing your business and exploring new ideas without falling for common traps that could lead to failure.

TED Talks for founders searching for funding

How to Pitch to a VC by David S. Rose

Listen to: Understand what your persona is bringing to the VC negotiations.

While the venture capital world is ever-changing, this talk from 2007 remains evergreen. Before you pass over the nerves of talking to a VC, there's much more yourself you need to know about than your business or how this process works. In this talk, American serial entrepreneur and angel investor David Rose poses ten different questions to analyze before you have that first funding conversation.

TED Talks: A wealth of knowledge at your fingertips

Right now, there are thousands of TED Talks and TEDx talks available for streaming. So if you find yourself stuck at home and itching to grow your body of knowledge, TED might be the resource for you.

If you have a few minutes to spare here and there, consider using that time to take control of your brain's steering wheel to gain some new skills, expand your worldview, or help you get the boost you need to put together that new business plan.

Geraldine Orentas is a freelance writer based in Florida who partners with online publications to cover wellness, beauty, lifestyle, entrepreneurship, and freelancing topics. She's also an entrepreneur-on-the-making hoping to find her way in the beauty industry

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