TED Talks to Help You Follow Through on Your 2015 Career Goals

Amy Cuddy, social psychologist, imparts information about what body language conveys to others and to ourselves.
Amy Cuddy, social psychologist, imparts information about what body language conveys to others and to ourselves. –Getty Images for WME Live

Whether they teach you how to be a more innovative leader, or give you the kick you need to make a career change, these TED talks can help you to accomplish your 2015 career resolutions.

1. To Get Results

Simon Sinek: “How Great Leaders Inspire Action’’

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it,’’ says Sinek. He believes in communicating from the inside out, demonstrated both in his speech and in what he speaks about. He teaches how to appeal directly to the part of the brain (the limbic system) that controls behavior, evincing change and producing results.


2. For the Job Seeker

Amy Cuddy: “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are’’

Listen to this talk before your next interview. Cuddy explores the dynamics of body language, and an easy two-minute solution that could skyrocket your performance in stressful situations. Her personal storytelling coupled with supportive experimental data makes this Ted Talk a must for everyone looking to be more powerful in the workplace.

3. To Embrace Last Year’s Failures

Sarah Lewis: “Embrace the Near Win’’

“Success motivates us but a near-win can propel us in an ongoing quest,’’ says Lewis. She explains the difference between success (the ability to hit a target) and mastery (the ability to do so repeatedly). According to Lewis, valuing the near miss enables us to pursue mastery, to not give up after failure strikes, and to enjoy the process of striving instead of the moment of reaching the goal itself.

4. For Those Stuck in a Rut

Tony Robbins: “Why We Do What We Do’’

If you’re feeling quagmired by indecision or lack of inspiration, look no further than this Ted Talk. Robbins shares how his personal history shaped his professional future, yet discourages the idea that identity is necessarily biography. Through his commanding, playful presence, Robbins questions motivation and behavior, and his contagious energy might just be the jumpstart you need.


5. For Leaders

Dan Pink: “The Puzzle of Motivation’’

Pink explores the difference between traditional “stick and carrot’’ motivation, and more innovative means. Understanding extrinsic versus intrinsic incentives is invaluable for a manager, and learning how to manipulate these impulses will make your workplace a more intrepid and productive environment.

6. For the Creative

Elizabeth Gilbert: “Your Elusive Creative Genius’’

Best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert digs into the idea of “genius’’. She self-deprecatingly explores the struggles that the creative person faces. In doing so, she offers an alternative lens through which to view your process, and relieves the pressure to produce.

7. To Overcome Fear

Larry Smith: “Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career’’

Smith bluntly and hilariously explores why working hard isn’t enough. “You need 20 interests. One of them might grab you more than anything else…and that’s what passion is,’’ he says. At times, his honesty is staggering, but that’s Smith’s intention precisely: to set you off-balance and cause you to reconsider your vantage point, and the excuses you’ve been telling yourself and the world.

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