You’re studying away for an upcoming test or working on a project when all of a sudden, you find yourself scrolling through your Facebook timeline again with no idea how it popped up on the computer screen. Again. For the 12th time.
You spend 10 minutes or so liking a friend’s status or looking at someone’s vacation pictures, and when you try to return to your homework, you feel empty and tired and unmotivated.
Next time you’re hovering over the Facebook tab, type in www.ted.com/talks instead.
TED, which stands for technology, entertainment and design, is a non-profit organization developed to share ideas among the world. Really, that’s their mission: spreading ideas.
Each year, TED conferences host some of the world’s most interesting thinkers and doers, challenging them to give the best speech of their life – in 18 minutes or less.
There are over 1,500 free talks on the site, but don’t be overwhelmed with the immense possibilities. The TED curators group interesting playlists together, including a classic one for those new to the site.
Quite possibly the most popular talk is renowned education and creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson’s “How Schools Kill Creativity.” Made into an RSA animated infographic on YouTube, Robinson draws parallels between the current education system and the factory assembly line. He says this production line mentality of public education is classifying people as smart or non-smart and leaves little room for the aesthetic experience of the arts.
Spoken word poet and creator of Project V.O.I.C.E. Sarah Kay shares two applauding spoken poems and her story of transitioning into adulthood in her talk, “If I Should Have a Daughter.” In her inspiring spoken word about how she wants her daughter to grow up, Kay says, “The first time she realizes that Wonder Woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear her cape all by herself, cause no matter how wide you stretch your finger, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal.” It’s inspiring.
Before you go into your next interview, check out social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s talk about body language. In her research, Cuddy has discovered correlations between dominant “power poses” and changes in hormones. Power poses are seen throughout the animal kingdom and are described as making your body larger and more dominating by widening your stance or spreading your arms – think hands on hips.
Standing or sitting in a power pose for just two minutes can actually increase your levels of testosterone and decrease the stress hormone, cortisol, helping to boost your self-confidence and may play an impact on your chance of success.
And a great talk, especially for this season, is Brother David Steindl-Rast’s about gratefulness. A monk and interfaith scholar, Steindl-Rast draws a connection between happiness and being grateful, and says it’s gratefulness that makes you happy, not the other way around. The most valuable thing that can ever be given is a moment – the moment you’re in now – and the opportunity within that moment.
So, the next time you’re feeling uninspired and unmotivated, don’t spend 15 worthless minutes on Facebook.
Instead, spend less than 18 minutes listening to world experts, inspirational speakers and everyday people that want to share their ideas and thoughts and passions with the world.
The energy is contagious.