Ciara Sheppard | Contributing Writer | Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The TED Talks To Do When You're Starting Something New

The Debrief: Stepping out on your own? We can't really help but hopefully these TED Talks can

Illustration Alex Coll

‘Dream big and dare to fail’. ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’. Etc. etc… Nice words, but if you’re out there taking things into your own hands – be it applying for an MA, starting your own Etsy shop, creating an all-girl art collective, heading up a book club, going for a new job or even taking time off travelling – one thing you need is actual inspiration.

Look below for some really inspiring TED talks from people who’ll make you want to try something new, or at least look at things with a new perspective. Remember, ‘I can, therefore I am’. (WTF does that even mean?)

Warning: These vids may make you want to ceremoniously sweep all of your papers off your desk and tell your boss that you don’t need him or his crumby old job any more. Being inspired is great and al,l but be sensible, people, you’ve still got to pay rent.

Roz Savage: Why I’m rowing across the Pacific



Roz Savage teaches us that doing something out of your comfort zone is not only extremely uncomfortable by definition (and in her case, literally – tendonitis and all), but that it can also be incredibly rewarding and life-changing.

Ten years ago Roz decided to write two versions of her own obituary (morbid yes, but stick with it): the one that she wanted and the one she was heading for. The stark contrast was a real eye-opener, so she decided to quit her management consultancy job, buy a boat, apply a shit load of sun cream and row 8,000 miles across the Atlantic. She’s doing the Pacific next.

Basically, Roz is telling us that you shouldn’t be scared to pursue something you think will make you happy. Good advice, we think.

And if you won’t do it for the adventure, do it for the abs. Note Roz says she made roughly THREE MILLION oar strokes on her journey. THINK OF THE TONEAGE.

Kare Anderson: Be An Opportunity Maker



At the start of her talk, Kare Anderson tells us something that makes us feel all special and fuzzy and look around the room all knowingly. She tells us that each one of us is better at something than anybody else in the world. I’m still trying to think what my thing is – sleeping?

She goes on to give a great talk about using your talents to create something meaningful and says that accomplishing things together is better than going it alone. Whether that be getting involved in a cause you care about, charity work or even just putting your mate in touch with another mate who can get them a job, like Kare did. There are tons of ways you can take this advice in big and small ways. Inspiring stuff.

Stacey Kramer: The best gift I’ve ever received




Stacey Kramer’s speech will make you feel like a dick for welling up a bit when you snagged your new tights last week. Brand strategist Stacey gives an incredibly moving (if you don’t choke up like I did, you’re inhuman), three-minute parable of how a painful or traumatic experience can actually turn out to be a priceless gift.

I don’t want to ruin it for you so I’ll leave it there. But honestly, watch it. Truly poignant.

David Hoffman: What happens when you lose everything




Next up is filmmaker David Hoffman, aka King of making the best out of a bad situation. Nine days before his speech, David lost everything he owned in a house fire that burnt literally everything – original film reels, career memorabilia and a lifetime’s worth of collecting.

Instead of wasting time feeling sad about this, he rallied his family to rifle through the heaps of burnt stuff to find salvageable treasures and snippets that he threw together and made an awesome art project from.

Basically, David thinks that instead of obsessing about something in the past that you can’t change – look forward instead, ie, forget about that snagged pair of tights, there’ll always be more.

Tavi Gevinson: A teen just trying to figure it out




You’re going to love this talk from Tavi Gevinson because she says loads of things like, ‘Strong female characters have weaknesses and flaws’ and ‘Not everyone has all the answers yet.’ It’s like she knows me.

Then 15 years old, Tavi Gevinson founded her own magazine, Rookie, aimed at teens, which discusses topics such as pop culture and feminism. Give her TED talk a watch if you want to be truly inspired by someone who we’ll ignore was five when we were 12. 

And if you can’t be bothered to, she basically says be Stevie Nicks.

Also, her jumper-shirt combo is strong. Kudos to you, Tavi.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

Life Lessons From TED Talks In 2014

The TED Talks To Watch When You’re So Hungover You Can’t See

The TED Talks To Watch When You’re Going Through A Break-Up

Follow Ciara on Twitter @CiaraSheppard

Illustration: Alex Coll 

Tags: TED Talks