The internet really is incredible. Many young people—as in, anyone younger than 28—don’t remember what the world was like before the internet was a common household tool. It has brought into our lives a plethora of information sources, social media platforms, and valuable learning tools that have revolutionized the way we communicate and the way we interact across the globe.
One of the more fascinating tools that has evolved online is the TED Talks website. If you have never visited the site before, you should set aside some time—roughly three hours or more should do it—to explore some of the fascinating personal statements, guides, and discussions that are available from individuals across various industries, races, and cultural backgrounds.
For business owners, there are truly hundreds of topics to choose from that can help you gain perspective or discover inspiration for how to grow your business or motivate your employees. While there are a number of options to explore, below are five of the best videos posted in 2016. Although the topics may not directly address business strategies or techniques, each offers a valuable perspective that could serve as a launching point for change in your personal and professional life.
“Inside the mind of a master procrastinator” by Tim Urban
On a more lighthearted note, Tim Urban discusses the fascinating mind of the procrastinator. Everyone knows someone who battles with the procrastination urge—that, or you are one. Urban spells it out for us, and reviews the way to approach overcoming procrastination and winning the battle against the desire to play now and work later.
“Can we build AI without losing control over it?” by Sam Harris
Technology is advancing remarkably every day. In this TED talk, Sam Harris addresses the real potential the human race has to create its own downfall in the form of intelligent machines. The discussion may seem far-fetched to some, but the logical approach taken by Harris is telling of the possible veracity of this claim. The talk is valuable in reminding business owners of their own potential for growth, but also of the importance of considering logical direction and possible outcomes over the long term.
Through this incredible demonstration, Luke DuBois reinvents the way we think about both data and art. This discussion is particularly valuable for business owners, entrepreneurs, and pretty much anyone who deals with numbers, statistics, and general human behavior. DuBois shows us how numbers can be beautiful, but also dangerous. Through his art, we see patterns of behavior that can help us better understand priorities, cause and effect relationships, and the connections we form with those around us.
“Meet the Dazzling Flying Machines of the Future” by Raffaello D’Andrea
In this mind blowing TED talk, Raffaello D’Andrea expands on a concept that is not new to most of us: aerial drones. What is new is the fact that they’ve nearly mastered capabilities for these machines that will revolutionize the many aspects of the business world, including package delivery, simple setup physical work like setups and breakdowns, and so much more. Anything that falls within a certain weight range can be transported by these incredible machines. They can also carry cameras for media, tracking, and observational purposes. The business world can expect some major changes in the coming years as drones may soon become a practical tool for everyday operations.
“Teach girls bravery, not perfection” by Reshma Saujani
This talk is perfect for woman-owned businesses and female entrepreneurs, those well-established and those just starting out. In her TED talk, Reshma Saujani discusses the cultural tendency in America to encourage young girls to “play it safe” and “be perfect”—to avoid risks. Boys, on the other hand, are taught to take risks that could lead to great rewards. As a result, the two sexes are almost indoctrinated from a very young age to approach the world in specific ways: young women habitually avoid taking chances while young men rush towards them. According to Saujani, we need to change the way we encourage our children, teaching both sexes to work towards bravery, not perfection, so they might learn to take worthwhile risks in the hope of one day achieving something great.
While the TED Talks cover a wide range of topics and ideas, many can be applied across the business world in one way or another. Particular industries and different job roles may use some more than others, but in each, there is an introduction to a perspective other than our own. By infusing our minds with new information and new ways to approach the world, we also open ourselves up to receiving new tools for use in our personal and professional lives—and new tools often mean new opportunities for growth, development, and success.
About the Author – Ashley Choate is a native of Jacksonville, FL where she lives with her son, dog, and three cats. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Jacksonville University with a BA in English and holds an MAED in Adult Education and Training. She lives for reading and writing, learning and teaching, and figuring out the day-to-day traumas and joys of mommyhood. .
Top Photo Courtesy of Google CC.