We all want to be successful in life. And success can mean different things to each of us. Oxford Dictionaries defines success as “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose” OR “The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.”
Success and monetary reward…
I have to admit, my younger self often related success solely to career and attaining some level of wealth. And can you blame me? Each day, the media bombards us with images of the “perfect lives of the successful rich and famous.”
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with seeking out monetary rewards. We all have to put food on the table. And let’s face it, life is way less stressful when you don’t have to worry about finances. This is coming from someone who grew up with very little money, I promise, I am not being naive here.
Why we should redefine “success”…
The definition of success is so often equated to the level of monetary reward you receive, but this definition is setting us up for failure. This will leave us always chasing the next monetary reward, and then the next, without any sense of fulfillment.
This cycle can then lead to stress, anxiety, depression, or simply dissatisfaction with life in general. And life, in its purest form, is just too precious and beautiful for that.
Let’s make the term “success” more of an all-encompassing concept – a concept that includes the pursuit of meaning in life, happiness, compassion, in addition to something monetary.
Here are 9 Ted Talks about success.
These Talks touch on different aspects of it, and will hopefully be of some use to you. I hope to inspire you to think about what is most meaningful in your life, and for you to pursue that which makes you feel most alive. May you find the success you have always dreamed about. Happy watching, lovebugs! <3
1 // JOHN WOODEN – The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding
In this Talk, Coach John Wooden redefines the term success. He explains that it is more than just achieving a higher grade, or winning a sports competition. Success, rather, is simply always doing your very best. Wooden explains this through inspiring personal stories, the advice he gave to his players at UCLA, and the lessons he has learned thus far.
2 // ALAIN DE BOTTON – A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success
In this Talk, Alain De Botton, philosopher and author, speaks of the societal pressures linked to the meaning of success, and the high expectations involved with our pursuing of careers as a result. He explains how these so often lead us to suffer from career anxiety. He encourages us to redefine success more gently and to form our own beliefs about what a successful life, and a career we love, mean to us.
3 // ANGELA LEE DUCKWORTH – Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist, discusses what she learned about success from her experiences as a math teacher to seventh graders in a New York public school, and later through her research. She explains that success was not determined by higher IQ, but rather by passion and perseverance. She also speaks of the need for a greater understanding of our education system about the power of student motivation, rather than just the student’s ability to learn quickly and easily.
4 // RAYMOND TANG – Be Humble – And Other Lessons From The Philosophy of Water
Raymond Tang, IT manager, struggled to find fulfillment in a fast-paced and hectic world. Until he came across the ancient Chinese philosophy of the Tao Te Ching, in it, he found a passage on the “philosophy of water.” He shares the lessons he learned from this passage, which he now applies to his everyday life, one lesson being humility. This Talk helps us redefine our life purpose, and question what it means to have a successful, fulfilling life.
5 // ADAM GRANT – The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers
In this interesting Talk, Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, explains the habits of original thinkers, and what makes them successful. We learn three unexpected habits of original thinkers, including their ability to embrace failure. Adam Grant explains that the greatest original thinkers are the ones who fail the most because they try the most. This is an inspiring insight that can help us not feel discouraged when we face failure in our own paths toward success.
6 // ELIZABETH GILBERT – Success, failure and the drive to keep creating
Elizabeth Gilbert, writer and author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ shares how she struggled with facing the inevitable negative outcome of any follow-up book she would write, following the massive success of ‘Eat Pray, Love.’ She struggled with feeling there was no way to win, and even contemplated quitting as a writer. But, she overcame these feelings by reflecting on what she learned when she was an “unpublished diner waitress,” and through these lessons, her ability to write and be creative survived. This Talk provides an inspiring way to carry on, despite any success or failure we may face.
7 // RICHARD ST. JOHN – 8 Secrets of Success
In this Talk, Richard St. John, a marketer and success analyst, explains the eight secrets to success, and the secrets don’t include being smart or lucky. He describes these secrets, which he learned from years of interviews, in a concise 3-minute presentation. This short and sweet Talk helps us learn from the example of so many successful people, and provides some surprising ways that one can achieve success.
8 // MATT CUTTS – Try Something New For 30 Days
Matt Cutts, a technologist, who was feeling stuck in a rut, shares an inspiring way to set and achieve your goals. He suggests trying something new, something you’ve always wanted to do, for 30 days. He shares the inspiring lessons he learned, and the benefits he gained from doing this, one of them being his boost in confidence. This short Talk encourages us to pursue even our wildest hopes and dreams because you can do anything for 30 days at a time.
9 // LARRY SMITH – Why you will fail to have a great career
Larry Smith, Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo, shares the reason people fail to pursue their passions, and he shares this with humour and bluntness. He explains that passion is our greatest love and inspires us to pursue a great career that we are passionate about. He encourages us to stop making creative excuses not to pursue our passions. He says one of those common excuses being “great careers are just a matter of luck.” This funny and inspiring Talk reminds us that we’re never too old, and it’s never too late, to pursue what sets our soul on fire.
Thanks so much for stopping by <3