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Image / Living / Culture

6 inspiring TED talks worth watching this weekend


by Jennifer McShane
10th Apr 2021
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If you're in need of a boost during your weekend downtime, or just want to listen to something to help get your creative juices flowing, a TED talk is just what you need to feel inspired.

TED – which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design – features “ideas worth spreading.” There are over 1,000 of these talks online, but yours truly has rounded up six current favourites five for you take in as the weekend starts. So sit back, relax and get ready to listen to some of the most courageous and fascinating people in the world.

Graham Hill: Less stuff, more Happiness

Our lives are filled with stuff; a yearning for that new bag, new shoes or that next thing that will bring us, or as Marie Kondo says, spark joy. However, we simply have so much stuff that writer Graham Hill makes a compelling argument that having less of it might actually make us happier and shows you how to edit your life to get more freedom and importantly more time. Edit the unnecessary and make room for the good things.

Nilofer Merchant: Got a Meeting? Take a Walk

We are sitting 9.3 hours per day on average – and it is slowly killing us, more than cars, more than the internet. We’re sitting more than we’re sleeping. “Sitting has become the smoking of our generation,” she says. So turn your typical work meeting on its head (no more coffee on tap) and take your meetings outside – and you’ll be surprised by how easily fresh air can drive ‘out-of-the-box’ fresh thinking. This concept has changed her life, and she says, it could change yours too. Walk the talk.

Cameron Russell: Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model

A model in the industry for 10 years criticises our society’s obsession with looks. Russell admits she won a “genetic lottery”: she’s tall, pretty and an underwear model but asks that we don’t judge her by her looks. She’s fearless; she won’t encourage young girls to be models when they “could be anything” and has a wry perception of the industry. She encourages us to go beyond preconceived ideas about image.”If there’s a takeaway to this talk, I hope it’s that we all feel more comfortable acknowledging the power of image in our perceived successes and our perceived failures.”

Sheryl Sandberg: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders

The successful author of Lean In and Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, leads a TED talk about the glaring lack of women in leadership roles in the workplace. Women are not in the top profession, anywhere in the world, and that’s the crux of the problem. She has since said that ‘leaning in’ isn’t as simple as giving women a seat at the table, but she is a genuine advocate for women in leadership roles and the basis of her advice still rings true.  She also gives aspiring female business leaders three actionable tips to take their career to the next level.

Shonda Rhimes: Year of Yes

It comes as no surprise that Shonda Rhimes is an invigorating speaker; so many of us have issues saying no, but equally, constantly trying to juggle many spinning plates means many women don’t say yes when we should either. Here, you can hear her describe her widely publicised “year of yes” as part of a moving, excellent, and often funny narrative that breathes life into the tired “work/life balance” genre of advice.

Sinéad Burke: Why Design Should Include Everyone

Contributing British Vogue Editor and general powerhouse Sinéad Burke’s captivating TedTalk is as insightful, funny and engaging as you’d imagine it would be. In the thought-provoking ten minutes, the writer, author and activist confronts the downfall of design in accommodating the needs of many people in our society. With her characteristic humour and clear-headedness, Burke talks us through the experience of navigating public toilets as a little person: from simply trying to lock the door (she uses her iPhone) to the fact that she cannot reach the soap dispenser or sinks and the difficulties that can stem from a busy coffee shop. It’s wonderful.

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