Lately, I have been trying to find better ways to be productive with my time. In my mind, productivity is synonymous with listening to TED Talks. I have grown quite fond of listening to Ted Radio Hour on NPR as well. A college student might ask, “Why would I listen to TED Talks when I could be listening to music?!” The speakers, their stories, and their wisdom. These individuals are transforming their experiences into lessons that can help us pave the way in our own lives. Especially in such a vulnerable state (aka being a senior), it is easy to get discouraged when challenges arise; however, a little dose of TED can hopefully throw you right back in the groove.
Here are some memorable TED Talks that are applicable to careers:
Art of the Small- Beth Meyerson
Dr. Beth Meyerson’s talk truly reminded me why I am pursuing a career in public health. Small actions are vital in trying to combat complex health issues like HIV. The beauty of her talk is that it’s not restricted to public health. Pick any career and apply her advice: small movement can lead to big change. A desired outcome does not magically happen overnight: tackle what you can on an individual level then gain momentum. She also notes, “Remove biases to see the connection.” This is perfect advice for everyday life. Switch from a subjective lens to an objective lens. Did I mention she’s a graduate professor here at the School of Public Health?! Talk about a celebrity.
How to find and do work you love- Scott Dinsmore
If you ever doubt the direction you’re headed, this talk is for you. First, Scott vents about the worst advice he’s ever been given: take jobs to build up your resume. Don’t do that actually. After all, he says that 80% of individuals don’t enjoy their work. Scott then asks the powerful question, “Why are you doing the work that you’re doing?” For some, answering this may be a breeze… but for others, anxiety galore. If you are in a position for trivial reasons, self-reflection time! He stresses taking time to understand yourself- your passions, motivations, strengths, etc. One of my favorite lines from his talk was: “Surround yourself with passionate people.” Your environment is crucial in every aspect. Ultimately, you are in control of building your ladder to the right building.
An art made of trust, vulnerability, and connection-Marina Abramović
I first heard of Marina when she sat in a chair at MoMA, having meaningful micro-moments with random strangers in silence. I am fascinated by her and this performance. Why? She recognizes the value of simplicity and vulnerability. On the other hand, she also welcomes unfamiliar territory. I appreciate this line in her talk: “My method is to do things I’m afraid of, the things I fear, the things I don’t know, to go to territory that nobody’s ever been.” Marina is a pioneer in the art world, testing boundaries but still embracing failure. From her talk, we are reminded to get out of our comfort zone and try. Be vulnerable to the situation… and other people. Failure may be a part of the process and you have to accept that.
The key to success? Grit- Angela Lee Duckworth
I hear this word thrown around in conversation every now and then… but, what is grit? Angela defines it as passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. In other words, an individual with grit can make their long-term goals a reality. I really appreciated this talk because she basically says being incredibly smart does not necessarily equate with success. How gritty you are is a better indicator of your future success. Especially in college, this concept is key because where we want to be tends to be associated with the distant future. Are you capable of keeping that drive until you achieve your goals? Don’t worry if you fail- failure isn’t a permanent condition. That may seem like an obvious statement but once you experienced it, you may feel otherwise. Whether you fail or succeed, persevere and accumulate lessons learned.
This last video isn’t a Ted Talk… it’s a Barbie commercial!
This ranks pretty high up on my list of favorite commercials- it’s inspiring and what I want young girls to see. Although we are quite a bit older, this still sheds light on many important lessons. Remember that you are capable of doing whatever career you choose. Be ambitious. Take yourself seriously even if others may not. Break barriers. Succeed.
Shannen Keene is a senior from Ellettsville, IN pursuing a degree in Community Health. Bloomington has taught her the value of diversity, culture, and good food. After graduation, she hopes to venture out West to serve for AmeriCorps then apply to an MPH program.
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