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The 5 Most Popular TED Talks of All Time to Inspire You Like Never Before

By Saurav Bhandary   │Published: December 24, 2018

Are you feeling like getting inspired, motivated or just looking for a feel-good cry? Then look no further. There’s no better way to start your day than with a fresh cup of coffee and a nice TED talk to make you feel ready to take on your day.

TED was founded in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged. Since its founding, the TED nonprofit has hosted over 2,900 talks and have been viewed well over 6 billion times. Today it covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. They don’t call them “ideas worth spreading” for nothing.

With so many incredible TED speakers to choose from, how do you decide what to watch? To help you whittle down the choices, we have curated the five favorite TED talks of all time, ranging from explorations of how to reimagine stress in your life to appreciating the power of introverts, that will make you think differently about your life. Feast your mind.

Each talk is shorter than 30 minutes, so feel free to bookmark for later consumption.

#1. Who are you, really? The puzzle of personality | Brian Little

What makes you, you? Psychologists like to talk about our traits, or defined characteristics that make us who we are. But Brian Little is more interested in moments when we transcend those traits — sometimes because our culture demands it of us, and sometimes because we demand it of ourselves. Join Little as he dissects the surprising differences between introverts and extroverts and explains why your personality may be more malleable than you think. (6,620,263 views)

 

 

#2. Your brain hallucinates your conscious reality | Anil Seth

Right now, billions of neurons in your brain are working together to generate a conscious experience — and not just any conscious experience, your experience of the world around you and of yourself within it. How does this happen? According to neuroscientist Anil Seth, we’re all hallucinating all the time; when we agree about our hallucinations, we call it “reality.” Join Seth for a delightfully disorienting talk that may leave you questioning the very nature of your existence. (6,652,254 views)

 

 

 

 

 

#3. How great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek

What makes a great leader? Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests, it’s someone who makes their employees feel secure, who draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety — especially in an uneven economy — means taking on big responsibility. (9,204,564 views)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4. The danger of a single story | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. (16,992,605 views)

 

 

 

#5. How I held my breath for 17 minutes | David Blaine

In this highly personal talk from TEDMED, magician and stuntman David Blaine describes what it took to hold his breath underwater for 17 minutes — a world record (only two minutes shorter than this entire talk!) — and what his often death-defying work means to him. Warning: do NOT try this at home. (18,918,170 views)

 

 

 

 

# Extra One: How do we Do Impossible? | Cameron Chell

We have all faced and experienced “impossible” in our lives. But what is the key to overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds? In this talk, Cameron Chell will tell his own story of recovery from addiction and life on the streets of Vancouver’s East End. In the face of an impossible situation, thinking of the big picture can be daunting and even paralyzing. To achieve the “impossible,” we must focus on just “doing the next thing.”