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23 Ted Talks Every Teen Needs to Watch

Lifestyle

TED talks are very well known throughout the internet for how inspiring and thought-provoking they can be. Personally, TED talks have helped me start thinking more critically and have made me start questioning everything from societal norms to how I view myself. If I had to make a list of Ted talks that blew my mind, this list would be it. I hope one of these TED talks will leave you speechless and in amazement.

Girl Up: The Secrets to an Extraordinary Life | Courtney Ferrell

As a creativity consultant and international speaker, Courtney Ferrell can be found standing at the busy intersection of ideas, energy, and people. Her latest idea, Girl Up, empowers young women to take full advantage of their gifts, their independence, and their possibilities in order to create an extraordinary life for themselves. In the past decade, she has worked intimately with thousands of young women as a speaker, teacher, coach, dorm mother, and mentor. Her mission is to provide girls with actions and language that will help them put common (and uncommon) sense into practice and become sought-after people without compromising who they are.

How drawing helps you think | Ralph Ammer

You don't have to be an artist to draw! In this beautifully illustrated talk, Ralph Ammer shows how drawing your thoughts can be a powerful tool for improving your thinking, creativity, and communication. He wants you to believe in your drawing abilities and provides numerous exercises to help you get started.

Why You Think You're Ugly | Melissa Butler

In 2012, Melissa launched The Lip Bar because she was incredibly frustrated with the beauty industry. Why were most cosmetics filled with unnecessary chemicals? Why did lipsticks only come in a limited range of colors? And more importantly, why was the depiction of beauty so damn linear?

Grit: the power of passion and perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth

Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn't the only thing separating successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of "grit" as a predictor of success.

Mathematics is the sense you never knew you had | Eddie Woo

In this illuminating talk, high school mathematics teacher and YouTube star Eddie Woo shares his passion for mathematics, declaring that "mathematics is a sense, just like sight and touch" and one we can all embrace. Using surprising examples of geometry, he encourages everyone to seek out the patterns around us, for "a whole new way to see the world". A public high school teacher for over 10 years, Eddie Woo gained international attention when he posted videos of his classroom lessons online, to assist an ill student. His YouTube channel, WooTube, has more than 200,000 subscribers and over 13 million views.

There's more to life than being happy | Emily Esfahani Smith

Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there's a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes, says writer Emily Esfahani Smith, but having meaning in life -- serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you -- gives you something to hold onto. Learn more about the difference between being happy and having meaning as Smith offers four pillars of a meaningful life.

Why our imaginations are the key to solving climate change | Dr. Simon Donner

The science is clear: humans are responsible for recent climate change. Why then is it so hard for people to believe – and even harder for us to solve? “The problem lies with being rooted in old ways of thinking,” says climate scientist Simon Donner. In this engaging and pragmatic talk, Donner shows how embracing our imaginations can help people overcome doubts about climate science, climate impacts, and climate solutions.

We can make a better future for ourselves and future generations,” he says. “To get there, we need our imaginations. We need the courage to see a different future, and chart the path there.”

How I overcame my learning disabilities to become a physician | John Rhodes

Becoming a physician is hard enough, but MUSC cardiologist John proves that overcoming dyslexia, attention deficit and other processing deficits is not an insurmountable task. John scored zero on his MCAT reading but is now a doctor.

Selling your trauma to buy an education | Tina Yong

The process of applying to universities is stressful enough, but today’s young applicants face the added pressure to discuss their deepest traumas in their admissions essays. Why is this the case and how can these expectations be harmful, especially to disadvantaged youth? This talk explores what’s wrong with the current vetting process for universities and reimagines the admissions process.

What if you have more than one passion? | Taylor Aller

Taylor Aller shares how she went from crying in her PJs, binge-watching YouTube, to being a six-figure entrepreneur, and how you can too. She talks candidly about navigating life as someone passionate about more than one thing, in a world designed for singularly-passionate folks. She identifies unique struggles of business and life as a “multipotentialite”, shares key educational takeaways to find clarity, and gives permission to live outside the box. Taylor encourages you to embrace your multi-passionate self and find the pivotal opportunities found in your unique intersections. You'll leave ready to create the life you never thought you could dream of.

The power of reclaiming your name | Ilknur Eren

The name Ílknur is very common in Turkey, but not so common in the United States. In this talk, Ílknur takes us through the beautiful story behind her first name and explains why she ultimately stopped “Americanizing” herself.

Stop trying to change yourself | Ien Chi

Ien Chi dives into perfectionism culture and how it can impede your life.

What if young people ran the world? | Nasra Ayub

The world as we know is continuously facing challenges. From the impact of the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, climate change, and poverty on the rise, there is a huge number of global issues that need to be addressed. Young people are constantly at the forefront of tackling these issues, from organizing protests to creating innovative solutions to today’s problems. Nasra's talk will be about why we should view young people as experts in social justice issues and therefore radically overhaul the charity funding sector and shift the power of decision-making to young people.

Redefining how we love | Cynthia Ong

Cynthia Ong takes us through her emotional journey of learning how to love. The standard of love set by her immigrant parents was one of sacrifice. Over the years, she realized that this was not a framework for love that she could embody in a healthy manner. Cynthia shares with us what she, through self-reflection and therapy, learned to value in relationships, along with important lessons that we can all learn from and apply to our lives.

How to make stress your friend | Kelly McGonigal

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken, and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

8 Signs of a Toxic Friendship | Sharon Livingston

There are stories of people with bullets in their heads who don’t even know it. Many more people are living with toxic friendships without even knowing it. Knowing the 8 signs of a toxic friendship can help you avoid them.

Challenge yourself to step out of the norm | Khanh Vy Tran

With more than one million YouTube subscribers, known for her English IELTS videos, she is an influencer and the author of the book "Tieng Anh khong kho, dung nhan nho", which translates to: English is not tough so don't frown. Khanh Vy will talk about her journey to discover her passion, and deliver a beautiful message of challenging yourself to be out of the norm. Hope invites | Tsutomu Uematsu

I've lived as a man & a woman -- here's what I learned | Paula Stone Williams

If you’re a man, at one point or another you’ve probably thought to yourself, “I will never understand women!” And if you’re a woman, “what's wrong with men?!” But your gender is all you've ever known, so how could you understand? As a transgender woman, Paula Stone Williams has lived on both sides, “and the differences are massive!” In this funny and insightful talk, Paula shares her wisdom with everyone.

Why do we ask questions? Michael "Vsauce" Stevens

Michael Stevens, the persona behind the YouTube sensation Vsauce, is an online personality with an entertaining approach to explaining the science behind seemingly ordinary, everyday phenomena. Michael's videos have been watched over 400 million times and Vsauce's 4.5 million subscribers continue to add an astonishing 15 thousand subscribers each day.

The Power of Fashion | Maria Raveendran

In this inspiring Ted Talk, Maria Raveendran talks about the power of fashion and how it can empower people. Fashion has the ability to transform our lives. What we wear influences how we see ourselves and it holds the potential to help us feel our best selves.

How books can open your mind | Lisa Bu

What happens when a dream you've held since childhood ... doesn't come true? As Lisa Bu adjusted to a new life in the United States, she turned to books to expand her mind and create a new path for herself. She shares her unique approach to reading in this lovely, personal talk about the magic of books.

Is Masculinity Killing Men? | Rob Wang

In this talk, Rob Wang and Tedx cover the science of what makes suicide the 10th biggest cause of death among American men, what goes through someone’s mind when they’re deciding whether to live or die, and the very simple solution that can begin to turn that around. A certified charisma coach and entrepreneur who once worked with Fortune 500 brands, Rob Wang seemingly had everything – yet, to him, his life felt empty, and about five years ago, the Orange County resident suffered through a period of suicidal depression. After figuring out what was keeping him from seeking help, he successfully navigated that period of his life and now helps other men in similar situations.

An epidemic of beauty sickness | Renee Engeln

Girls grow up hearing both implicit and explicit messages suggesting that the most important attribute they can strive for is beauty. The chronic focus on beauty directs cognitive, financial, and emotional resources away from other more important goals. Dr Engeln considers whether there is hope for treating the epidemic of beauty sickness and what it might be like to live in a world where women feel free to spend less time in front of the mirror and more time changing the world.

Tamzeeda Shakira
10k+ pageviews

Tamzeeda Shakira is currently a student. She is highly interested in science, philosophy, and literature. In her free time, she enjoys writing essays, reading books, and swimming. Shakira aims to make the world a kinder place for everyone.