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Step inside textile artist Nicola Henley’s dreamy Co Clare farmhouse
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Image / Editorial

WATCH: These TED Talks Will Change The Way You Think About Happiness


By Sinead Brady
30th Oct 2017
WATCH: These TED Talks Will Change The Way You Think About Happiness

Everyone wants to be happy and successful, yet the pursuit of both is often the reason that we are unhappy! Understandably, we all want to be great professionals, the best parents, strong partners, good friends, healthy, fit and social (both online and offline). Yet the speed at which we must travel through life to achieve this, more often than not, leaves us stressed, drained and overstretched. Exhausted, the expectation and unquestioning belief that happiness and success should look a certain way doesn’t always make us feel good. The associated culture of perfection means that the juggle between the personal and professional seems more like an act of torture than a possibility.

In fact, the commonly held belief that we have to simply hang in there, keep going, keep the good side out, push past the pain and through our limits with razor-sharp focus and iron discipline is actually counterproductive. It typically leads to feelings of deep unhappiness, burnout, stress, exhaustion and disconnection. The quest for happiness and success leading to a state of perfection, where ‘if I just had that’ or ‘if I just did that’ I would be happier, is at almost epidemic levels and literally making us sick.

Therein lies the underlying motivation for this playlist – to open an honest, frank and evidence-based conversation around our underlying beliefs about success and happiness. In doing so this might help us better understand our own personal definition of success and happiness thereby equipping us with practical strategies to both be and feel more successful and happy.

The TED Talk by Robert Waldinger is a fascinating insight into the three lessons he learned from a 75-year study on happiness. In What makes a good life?Lessons from the longest study on happiness he imparts some practical tips, real wisdom and sobering insights into the simple strategies we can all engage. Twelve minutes well spent in my book!

Brené Brown, a hero of ours at A Career to Love, in her powerful TED Talk on The Power of Vulnerability opens up the idea of vulnerability as the key to transforming our lives and the way we live. This almost 20-minute TED Talk is a powerful way to give yourself permission to be yourself.

Not strictly a TED Talk, but a TED alumni Petra Kolber, is author and speaker of The Perfection Detox. The show is evidenced in positive psychology and pivots on the idea that our quest to be perfect is actually destroying our happiness. Every week she speaks to leaders of our time, typically but not exclusively female, in an honest and frank way to inspire us to be ourselves and not just perfect. Her Friday Five are super as is the longer weekly instalment. Essential listening.

If you have 5 minutes and need an injection of hope in your day, check out the Kid President. Robby Novak, a teenager with a rare bone disease, gives weekly vigorous and emotional talks that are funny, thought-provoking and engaging. With the knack to make you smile while making you think, add these to your playlist for the days when you need an injection of hope.  My personal favourite is A Pep Talk from Kid President to You. Believe me, you will never think about Robert Frost’s ‘Two Roads Diverged’ in the same way again!

Check out Fulfillment Daily,a bumper packed and really practical blog on the power of being real. The blog host and author of The Happiness Track, and inspiration for this piece, Emma Seppala, is an amazing author and thinker. Her writing is accessible, inspirational, research-based and practical. If you prefer reading to listening this is a must, not to mention a really powerful way to tap into yourself and your thinking on happiness.

We’re all guilty of chasing perfection at times. We’ve all tried to be everything to everyone and the sooner we realise it’s not possible the better. It’s amazing how a short video or a quick read, from a respected author, can remind us what is important in life and refocus our minds on the things that matter.

Check Out Sinéad Brady’s website “A Career to Love”

Twitter: @CareertoLove