Mandatory Viewing: Top 7 TED Talks On Success

Last week on his podcast, Tim Ferriss featured a 3-part discussion with Kevin Kelly.  If you aren’t familiar with Kelly, it’s tough to know where to begin giving you an easy descriptor.  You may know him as the founding editor of Wired or from his cogent essay 1000 True Fans.  Writer, photographer, polymath…maybe genius?  Whatever “slot” you place him in your mind, he is endlessly interesting and engaging, sharing a ton of real-life wisdom over the course of Ferriss’ three episodes.

Ferris will very often ask his guests, “When you hear the word successful, who is the first person who comes to mind?”  So far, Kelly’s answer with its simple wisdom holds the title for best answer to date.

I’ll get back to Kelly in a second.  First, the obvious – what is success?  The word has come to mean vastly different things, all flavoured by beliefs, culture and context.  Through these lenses every kind of person can find success in vastly different ways, unique to each of them.  Do you want to be a successful business person?  A successful monk?  Your results, of course, will vary.

So, if you’re looking for thought-provoking quotes about success, here’s Kelly: “Success is overrated.  Greatness is overrated.  Our image of success is so skewed by media, similar to the mainstream images of beauty.”

Success to Kelly is not about fitting into a “slot” of some else’s determination, it’s about “being the best you that you can possibly be.”  We have heard this before, but Kelly assures us of it softly, easily and convincingly.  When Ferriss pushes him, asking “what slot do you fit in?” he answers perfectly:

“The Kevin Kelly slot.”

Here are some more great thoughts on success, ranked by number of views.  They present a rich look at success, flavoured by their varying beliefs, cultures and contexts.   Enjoy.

7.  Eddie Obeng: Smart Failure For A Fast Changing World

The world is changing much more rapidly than most people realize, says business educator Eddie Obeng — and creative output cannot keep up. In this spirited talk, he highlights three important changes we should understand for better productivity, and calls for a stronger culture of “smart failure.”

6.   Tim Ferriss: Smash Fear, Learn Anything

Productivity guru Tim Ferriss’ fun, encouraging anecdotes show how one simple question — “What’s the worst that could happen?” — is all you need to learn to do anything.

5.  Yves Morieux: As Work Gets More Complex, 6 Rules To Simplify

Why do people feel so miserable and disengaged at work? Because today’s businesses are increasingly and dizzyingly complex — and traditional pillars of management are obsolete, says Yves Morieux. So, he says, it falls to individual employees to navigate the rabbit’s warren of interdependencies. In this energetic talk, Morieux offers six rules for “smart simplicity.” (Rule One: Understand what your colleagues actually do.)

4.  Richard St. John:  Success Is A Continuous Journey

In his typically candid style, Richard St. John reminds us that success is not a one-way street, but a constant journey. He uses the story of his business’ rise and fall to illustrate a valuable lesson — when we stop trying, we fail.

3.  Arianna Huffington:  How To Succeed?  Get More Sleep

In this short talk, Arianna Huffington shares a small idea that can awaken much bigger ones: the power of a good night’s sleep. Instead of bragging about our sleep deficits, she urges us to shut our eyes and see the big picture: We can sleep our way to increased productivity and happiness — and smarter decision-making.

2.  Dan Ariely:  What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?

What motivates us to work? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn’t just money. But it’s not exactly joy either. It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work.

1.  Andy Puddicombe:  All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions.)

Got any TED talks that you consider mandatory viewing?   Please share them with us in the comments.


KingJasonJason is the Content and Community guy at Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now!