At Work

Four TED Talks to Inspire You in Your Work

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Feeling discouraged about your work? There is a lot of fresh thinking happening around work and creativity, and these ideas have motivated me to begin thinking differently about my work and the challenges it presents me on a daily basis. Here are four videos to inspire you in your work today.

#1: What If You Don’t Have (Just) One True Calling?

The notion of the narrowly-focused life is highly romanticized in our culture. It’s this idea of destiny or the one true calling. The idea that we each have one great thing that we are meant to do during our time on this earth… but what if you’re someone who isn’t wired this way?

Are you interested in many different things? Does the idea of just one true passion bore you? If you answered yes to both of those questions, you’re not alone. You might be what writer and artist Emilie Wapnick calls a “multipotentialite.” In this TED Talk, Wapnick details the three superpowers of multipotentialites and encourages them to find a job that is aligned with how they are wired.

#2: What Makes You Feel Great about Your Work?

If you think about mountain climbing as an example, it suggests all kinds of things. It suggests that we care about reaching the end, the peak. It suggests that we care about the fight, about the challenge. It suggests that there are all kinds of other things that motivate us to work or behave in all kinds of ways.

What is your motivation to work? Is it passion? Money? Joy? Behavioral economist Dan Ariley says what really motivates us in our careers is a sense of constant progress, growth, and purpose. In this TED Talk, Ariely details two experiments that illuminate our psychological attitudes about the meaning of our work.

#3: Be an Artist Right…Now

There are hundreds of reasons why we can’t be artists right now. […] Why do people instantly resist the idea of associating themselves with art?

Remember when you were a kid and you used to build sand castles, sing in the school musical, and go to piano lessons every week? Many of us abandon our artistic creativity as we grow older for various different reasons. But Korean author Young-ha Kim says this is not good. In this TED Talk, Kim explains why we all must become artists once again.

#4: Messy Problems Can Inspire Creativity

I think we need to gain a bit more appreciation for the unexpected advantages of having to cope with a little mess.

Do you get excited when you encounter an obstacle? Most of us don’t, but economist Tim Harford thinks challenges and problems might be the best way to ignite our creative process. In this TED Talk, Harford illustrates the advantages of working through messy problems as seen in the story of the best-selling solo piano album.


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