Stuck In A Rut? – Check Out These TED Talks

Photo by Pablo Varela on Unsplash

We all feel stuck sometimes — whether it’s on a creative project, in a job where we feel like we’ve plateaued, or in a mental state we just can’t seem to shake out of. These talks may help give you that jolt.

  • 3:27

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    Is there something you've always meant to do, wanted to do, but just ... haven't? Matt Cutts suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.
  • 19:09

    Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.
  • 10:01

    In art school, Phil Hansen developed an unruly tremor in his hand that kept him from creating the pointillist drawings he loved. Hansen was devastated, floating without a sense of purpose. Until a neurologist made a simple suggestion: embrace this limitation ... and transcend it.
  • 16:25

    From the EG conference: 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.
  • 15:15

    In this funny and blunt talk, Larry Smith pulls no punches when he calls out the absurd excuses people invent when they fail to pursue their passions.
  • 20:26

    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.
  • 17:24

    We'll go to the doctor when we feel flu-ish or a nagging pain. So why don’t we see a health professional when we feel emotional pain: guilt, loss, loneliness? Too many of us deal with common psychological-health issues on our own, says Guy Winch. But we don’t have to. He makes a compelling case to practice emotional hygiene — taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our bodies.
  • 9:44

    When she was 19, Amy Purdy lost both her legs below the knee. And now ... she's a pro snowboarder (and a killer competitor on "Dancing with the Stars"!). In this powerful talk, she shows us how to draw inspiration from life's obstacles.
  • 16:57

    Why do we ever stop playing and creating? With charm and humor, celebrated Korean author Young-ha Kim invokes the world's greatest artists to urge you to unleash your inner child — the artist who wanted to play forever.
  • 11:41

    At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece. She asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?
  • 16:07

    What is altruism? Put simply, it's the wish that other people may be happy. And, says Matthieu Ricard, a happiness researcher and a Buddhist monk, altruism is also a great lens for making decisions, both for the short and long term, in work and in life.
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