If you’re ever feeling as though you need a dose of motivation, some inspiration, or just a good ol’ pick-me-up, TED talks will almost always do the trick. TED, as their slogan states, is a place for “ideas worth sharing”. Among TED’s 2400+ talks, you’re sure to find one on almost any topic that may peak your interest. Whether it’s a talk by an influential leader such as Steve Jobs, or a piano piece by a child prodigy, there’s something for everyone.

Now if you’re looking for a great TED talk but don’t know where to begin with the incredibly vast selection available, then look no further. Below are some of my favourites, from some very inspiring and engaging speakers. All the talks below have great takeaways that I hope will leave you feeling changed for the better.

Own Your Body’s Data

In this talk, statistician Talithia Williams speaks about the importance of tracking our own health data, such as blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate. With advancements in technologies, it’s becoming increasingly easier to do this, and Talithia talks about the importance of taking advantage of it.

This talk was genuinely life changing for me, as I’ve always had a high resting heart rate, but I’ve never questioned why or monitored it at all. Recently however, it spiked abnormally high, and I ended up in the ER. While there, multiple physicians asked me, “What’s your normal heart rate?”, and I had no clue. I immediately remembered this TED talk, and it dawned on me that I need to be proactive and know myself better. There is no way a physician can help me, if I’m not helping them by providing them with vital information. From then on, I’ve begun to monitor my heart rate everyday.

Why I’m a Weekday Vegetarian

In this talk, Graham Hill speaks about vegetarianism, and why it’s so hard for people to make the change, even though they know the incredible benefits for both the environment and themselvesThis talk may be very short, but it’s an important one to me because it’s a conversation I’ve tried to have with many people. The majority of the time that I speak to omnivores about the benefits of decreasing meat consumption, they immediately believe I’m attempting to convert them in to vegetarians, even though this is never the case. You don’t have to completely eradicate meat from your diet in order to make a positive impact. The meat industry plays the largest role in the destruction of our planet, and even a small cutback in meat consumption can make a great difference.

Why 30 Is Not The New 20

This talk features psychologist Meg Jay speaking about the importance of your 20s, and using that decade of your life to plan for your future.

I first saw this talk when I was 19, and it was eye-opening. Many of us millenials believe that we have so much time, and view our 20s as a decade to goof off because “real adulthood” doesn’t start until your 30s. This way of thinking can be very detrimental and cause you to overlook one of the most instrumental periods in your life. In this day and age, your 20s are some of the most defining years of your life, and we all need to embrace that.

Love, No Matter What

In this talk, author Andrew Solomon speaks about what it’s like raising a child that is different from you in a significant way, and the difference between loving them unconditionally and accepting them unconditionally.

Being a Health Studies student, this talk spoke to me so deeply, because it made me view “disease” and “disability” in such a different light. It opened my eyes to what the great progress in treatments and cures for many conditions, means for those who are currently living with those conditions. The intersection of medical progress and social progress in regards to conditions and cures is both a fascinating and important topic to think about. This talk is incredibly touching and is a great reminder that under any circumstance, loving others is most important.

We Need to Talk About an Injustice

Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, uses this to talk to shed light on the racial imbalances found in America’s justice system, and the long history that it stems from.

Bryan’s talk is incredibly honest and eye-opening. The topic of racial inequality and imbalanced incarceration is one that many of us don’t think about often enough. Though we may know it exists, we’ve somehow become comfortable with it, allowing it to continue to take place. These issues are ones we need to speak about more often and more honestly, if we want to see any sort of change in justice for the disenfranchised.

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