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6 Awesome TED Talks That Will Improve Your Working Life

April 7, 2016

Ted Talk Work Life BalanceWhat’s the one thing you and I probably have in common? We both work. You might even be at work right now. I am. You and I both know that some days, work can be a drag. Sometimes you come in and the work piles up, you have a conflict with a coworker, and it’s an all-around bad day. On the flip-side, some days at work are great. You get plenty of work done, your boss likes a new idea you bring to her, and you leave the day feeling accomplished.

The question everyone wants to know the answer to is: How do we get more of those great days?

The TED talks below will help answer that question. All of these talks are about work – ways to make your work better, how to be more productive, things that will help you become a better leader, and ways to balance your life and your work. Watch them! You'll learn, laugh, and discover how to make your work life even better.

1) “Let’s Make Work Better” by Theresa Glomb

I’ll start this list off with one of the best TED talks. This talk, given by Theresa Glomb, is about the good things that happen at work, how to make them happen more often, and 3 tricks that will make you happier at work.

Theresa has a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and studies how and why people work. She is currently a professor at the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management. She has conducted research and has been published in the areas of emotions and mood in organizations, job attitudes and behaviors, emotional labor, and workplace victimization including incivility, aggression, and sexual harassment.


2) “The Happy Secret to Better Work” by Shawn Achor

It’s commonly thought that if you work harder and make more money, then you’ll be happier. Unfortunately, this is backward. In this talk, psychologist Shawn Achor proves that if you can change your outlook on work by being positive in the present, you’ll be more productive at work. And if you’re more productive, you’ll be a better worker, and the money will come.

Shawn is a best-selling author and an expert on the connection between happiness and success. If anyone knows how to be happy at work, it’s him. Take the 12 minutes and 20 seconds to watch this one, it will change your work life.


3) “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” by Simon Sinek

Many of us already know about leadership expert, Simon Sinek. You may have already seen a few of his TED Talks, but this one is especially good. In this talk, Simon explains how all the best leaders at the best organizations think, act, and communicate from the inside, out. Most leaders and organizations say what they do, then explain how they’re different, and expect a result, but this is backward. The best leaders start with the why, then explain the how, and finish with the what.


4) “Why the Best Hire Might Not Have the Perfect Resume” by Regina Hartley

Being that Select International helps companies hire better people, this list wouldn’t be complete without a TED Talk about hiring.

Regina Hartley is a Human Resources Director at UPS. In her talk, she discusses how sometimes the best hire for your company isn’t the one with the perfect experience and resume. Sometimes, the best hire might be the person who has seen adversity in their lives and their careers. Regina calls these people “Scrappers”, and she, herself, is one of them. In her opinion, Scrappers oftentimes have secret weapons like passion, purpose, and drive.


5) “How to Save the World from Bad Meetings” by David Grady

How many meetings have you sat through in your career? If you’re like me, probably a lot. Now, how many of those meetings have been unproductive and a waste of time? Hopefully not too many of them, but it seems like there is always one or two where you're asking yourself, "Why am I here?"

In this entertaining talk, David Grady talks about the concept of MAS (Mindless Accept Syndrome). This is the idea that anytime someone proposes a meeting, we tend to accept it, regardless of whether or not it’s a productive use of our time. David’s goal is to reduce the bad meetings in our work lives and make our days more productive. As we learned in Shawn Achor’s talk above, productivity is a key to happiness at work.


6) “What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?” by Dan Ariely

You may have heard of Dan Ariely already, or read one of his books. Dan is a well-known behavioral economist, but in this talk, Dan talks about what motivates us to work. Is it money, power, or something else? To get to the bottom of this, Dan conducted two experiments to find out what peoples’ true motivations to work are. The results you’ll hear about in this talk are surprising, and may change your attitude toward work.


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Mark Rogers Mark Rogers was a digital marketing expert at PSI who specialized in human resources and leadership content.