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8 Brilliant TED Talks That Will Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

8 Brilliant TED Talks That Will Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

As the world becomes increasingly automated through machines that replace human labor, there still exists something that robots can and never will be able to replace – emotional intelligence (EI). EI is the key thing that differentiates us from robots; it is the ability to feel, understand, and manage emotions and behavior within ourselves and amongst other people.

Humans are social beings at heart, and EI understands this by helping us to see the best in others as well as ourselves. This can prepare you for managing any difficult situations that come your way. Investing in your EI therefore ensures longer term success in all aspects of your life. The good news is that EI can be learned no matter how old or young you are, and putting it into practice is completely up to you. Here are eight top picks from TED talks to kickstart your EI growth journey:

1. On Vulnerability

Who: Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston

How it helps: Vulnerability is often seen as a weakness by many; something we should strive to hide from others whenever we feel afraid or incapable. In fact, Brown’s research and experience on vulnerability shows quite the opposite – how being vulnerable helps to enforce an attitude of kindness and gentleness towards yourself and others, and to prevent the blame, addiction and judgement that can arise from the tendency to hide one’s imperfection.

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2. On Compassion

Who: Daniel Goleman

How it helps: In this classic TED talk, Goleman shares his insights on compassion, one of the main factors that determines your emotional intelligence. Through engaging stories, he notes the inherent motivation behind being compassionate towards others, explains how empathy separates us from becoming sociopaths, and touches on examples of compassion that truly make the skill worth practicing.

3. On Love and Acceptance

Who: Andrew Solomon, Writer on Politics, Culture and Psychology

How it helps: Solomon explains the fine difference between unconditional love and acceptance, and describes his understanding about both concepts from his interviews of numerous families and their children. The touching stories that he shares shows how this is a choice, and will give you fresh perspective on what unconditional love and acceptance does for ourselves and society.

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4. On Smiling

Who: Ron Gutman, Founder and CEO of HealthTap

How it helps: Smiling doesn’t cost us anything, but according to Gutman, is also worth the equivalent of receiving “16,000 British pounds in cash”. In this talk, Gutman takes us through studies on smiling – from our inborn ability to smile without being taught to wide reaching effects of smiling on ourselves and others. Well worth a listen to understand and use the power of a smile.

5. On Stress

Who: Kelly McGonigal, Health Psychologist

How it helps: In a fundamental shift of perspective, McGonigal shows us how stress can help rather than hinder. All too frequently, we get stressed when being unable to cope with our own emotions, or being affected by those of others. However, McGonigal suggests reframing our thoughts into using stress for the better, and we can apply this to how we deal with everyday stressors. A big part of improving EI is also learning to shift your perspective using positive psychology, making this talk incredibly relevant.

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6. On Saying Thank You

Who: Dr. Laura Trice, Counsellor and Coach

How it helps: In just over three minutes, Trice reminds us of the act of saying thank you and why it means so much. When said a certain way, this simple trick we were taught since we were young can boost your EI in no time.

7. On Disagreement

Who: Margaret Heffernan, Management Thinker and Former CEO of 5 Businesses

How it helps: Disagreement sounds like a recipe for disaster, especially when it comes to inter-personal relationships, but Heffernan shows how disagreement can lead to improved and outcomes through communication. A vital tool for anyone looking to boost their EI in an assertive and productive manner.

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8. On Listening

Who: Julian Treasure, Sound Consultant

How it helps: Listening – the skill of paying conscious attention to sound – is becoming increasingly unused as loud and attention grabbing noises continue to overwhelm our world. Treasure speaks of the risks associated with greater noise distraction, such as being more desensitized and less empathetic. Throughout the talk, he gives the audience several methods of improving ways of listening, which are certainly worth trying out. Although featured for businesses, we can take a leaf out of Treasure’s book by remembering to listen and to do it well, in order to increase our sensitivity to others and the environment around us.

Featured photo credit: Athletic Man Jumping Between Rocks In Outdoor National Park by Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on October 14, 2019

12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

The most valuable thing an experienced person has is their experience. People make mistakes, learn from them, and adapt their life around them to become better people. Those people would then tell tales to others to help teach those lessons so that others would not have to make the same mistakes.

People still tell these stories today but in a slightly different format — they use speeches to express their experiences. Here are some valuable life lessons you can learn from some of the greatest inspirational speeches:

1. JK Rowling teaches us to not fear failure no matter how bad things become

It is a well-known fact that JK Rowling’s now-famous Harry Potter series was turned down by several publishers before it was finally picked up. Those publishers are likely kicking themselves in the pants right now. However, before that, JK Rowling was in a fairly dire situation and was on the brink of failure. Despite being turned down time and time again, she kept trying. Her efforts paid off. Harry Potter is now a ubiquitous character in today’s world culture. Despite failing over and over again, Rowling kept trying and fulfilled her dreams. You can watch her deliver some valuable life lessons in her Harvard commencement speech video above.

2. Steve Jobs teaches us to never settle

Steve Jobs had a fairly tumultuous life. He co-founded Apple, was kicked out of the company, came back, and then re-defined the mobile phone space with the iPhone. Even if iPhones aren’t the rage they once were, its iconic value is forever written in stone. One thing Jobs never did was settle. He lived life on his own terms and was rewarded for it by being dubbed one of the most revolutionary voices in technology of our time. In the Stanford commencement speech above, Jobs explains how you should never settle for what someone else wants out of your life. It’s your life and you should do what you want with it.

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3. Admiral William H McRaven teaches us to make our beds every day

Anyone who has gone through the basic training of a military service will tell you it’s pretty difficult. However, every seemingly obnoxious step is actually a life lesson in disguise. This even applies to flawlessly making one’s bed every single morning. As Admiral William H McRaven teaches us, recruits are taught to make their beds every morning to remind them that even the little things in life matter. After all, how can you be expected to handle the biggest obstacles in your life if you can’t even handle the small and the mundane like making your bed every day? You can watch the entire speech in the video above.

4. Author David Foster Wallace teaches us that we’re a part of a greater existence

David Foster Wallace found fame in 1987 with his book The Broom of the System. Nearly 20 years later in 2005 he game a commencement speech at Kenyon College that is worth listening to at least once. In his speech, he reminds us that was are but a part of a huge, dynamic, ever changing interaction of life forms. In order to truly experience life, we need to leave our personal bubbles and interact with others even if it’s in an unpleasant way. Wallace states, “It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.” You can watch the whole speech above.

5. Stephen Colbert teaches us that life isn’t something you can plan

If there is anyone who knows about improvisation, it’s comedian Stephen Colbert. In his commencement speech at Northwestern University in 2011, Colbert reminded students that you cannot plan life. Life throws too many curve balls. There are too many unpredictable things that can happen. The most successful and happy people are not those who have a plan, but those who can roll with the punches and overcome the obstacles. He goes on to site his time as an improv comic and how all of the actors working together to create a scene out of literally nothing are all working for one another. He states that like improv comedy, you don’t know what happens next in life. You just make it up as you go along. You can watch the whole speech above.

6. Kurt Vonnegut teaches us to not sweat the small stuff

Some of our younger readers may not know Kurt Vonnegut. He is a famous author that found of of his success during the middle of last century. In 1999, Kurt Vonnegut was at Agnes Scott College giving a commencement speech. During the speech, he mentioned that in order to live a more complete life, people needed to let stuff go. He argued that you cannot reasonably expect others to forgive you for your mistakes if you cannot forgive others and that you cannot live life fostering a personal vendetta against others.

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7. Neil Gaiman teaches us that success can be distracting.

Neil Gaiman is most known for his work in a number of literary mediums including journalism, comic books, and novels. In 2012, Gaiman gave a speech at the University of the Arts where he talked about success. He stated that when you become successful, you may be unintentionally swayed from performing the actions that made you successful. Gaiman recalled his early success and how he felt pressured to answer emails all day long and it actually prevented him from writing as much as he wanted. So he reminds us to keep doing what makes us successful and to not let others get in the way.

8. Barack Obama’s life lessons teaches us that you really can beat the odds

We know that not everyone likes Barack Obama but that doesn’t mean the man can’t deliver an amazing speech. In this 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convenction, Obama reminds that it is possible to beat the odds and become something great. He cites his own upbringing as an example and how he was never expected to make it as far as he did. It shows that when you’re passionate about something and when you try hard enough, you can accomplish almost anything. It’s important to note that Obama talks about this in 2004 and would become the President of the United States just four years later.

9. Robin Roberts reminds us that we each have the courage to overcome challenges

Robin Roberts knows a thing or two about courage. She is a breast cancer survivor and has done battle with a rare blood disease called myelodysplastic syndrome. Her sister once had to donate bone marrow just so Robin could remain alive. She was also ESPN’s first African American broadcaster in the early 1990’s. She’s a woman who works in an industry predominately populated by men. So when Robin Roberts takes the stage at the ESPYs and delivers a short lecture on having courage, we would do well to listen!

10. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that some things are more important than success

We all know the story of Martin Luther King Jr. So much so that we have a day of the year to celebrate him as a national holiday here in the United States. Most of us have listening to segments of his famous speech where he told the world about a dream he had. The main message of his famous speech is that racial inequalities needed to end and he was absolutely right. However, he also reminds us that there are things that are more important than success such as equal rights and treating each other with respect and kindness. If you somehow made it through school without watching the famous speech, we’ve got it linked above.

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11. Jim Carrey reminds us that even if you keep it safe, you can still fail so you might as well go big

Jim Carrey delivered a commencement speech at Maharishi University recently that went absolutely viral. You may know it as the one minute video that will change your life. They weren’t lying but they weren’t telling the whole truth because the speech was actually 28 minutes long. During the speech, Carrey talks about his father who wanted to be a comedian but decided to take the safe route and become an accountant. As it turns out, his father was laid off and his family ended up poor anyway. With that, Carrey tells us that you can still end up failing even if you play it safe so you might as well swing for the fences and do what you want to do.

12. Bill Murray teaches us that it’s the hard times that determine if someone really loves you

You may have heard the story about Bill Murray crashing someone’s bachelor party and delivering a speech. It turns out the speech was both short and fairly epic. During the speech, Bill Murray challenged the bachelors to travel around the world with the women they love and go to places that are difficult to go to and deal with. He says if you can get back to the United States and you still love each other, then you should get married right then and there. It’s a great message. It’s easy to love one another when times are good but do you still love each other when the times are bad? If so, that’s true love according to Bill Murray.

Final thoughts

Inspiration comes from everywhere and from anyone. There are a countless number of speeches and stories that can teach us an incalculable number of life lessons.

All these speeches almost share the same message: Don’t be afraid to fail and keep trying.

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If you also want to live your best life like the above successful people, this is what you should start doing:

You’ll Only Live Your Best Life Once You Step Out

At the end of the day, everything is inspirational. It’s just a matter of finding the message that we need to hear to change our lives.

Featured photo credit: Miguel Henriques via unsplash.com

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