Ted Talks to get you through the semester

It’s around that time. The semester feels like it’s caving in on you and you’re starting to lose sight of the academic goals you set at January’s start. That’s okay, it happens to all of us. What matters is that you climb your way out of the pitfalls you’ve come upon and sustain belief in your ability to achieve your potential. Here are a few must-see Ted Talks to help you do just that.

A powerful way to unleash your natural creativity by Tim Harford

Author Tim Harford proposes a new approach to managing your efforts: “slow-motion multi-tasking.” He claims the key to accomplishing your goals is moving between multiple projects for three reasons. One, taking an idea from its original form and applying to other concepts can transform your work. Two, understanding how to do one thing well often helps you understand other seemingly unrelated topics. Three, when you’re stuck on one idea, you can take it as an opportunity to move to another idea. Applying this approach to your college responsibilities will help you excel in all of them by making it all less overwhelming.

What reality are you creating for yourself? by Isaac Lidsky

Isaac Lidsky is many things. A Harvard graduate, CEO, child star — and blind. In his Ted Talk, he how he shifted his perspective on the world based on his blindness. He says, “what we see is a unique, personal, virtual reality that is masterfully constructed by our brain,” and he challenges viewers to examine their underlying biases, rationalizations and assumptions about their own abilities as well as their communities. Lidsky’s approach to “[living] life with eyes wide open” will help you to live your life with an internal locus of control rather than external, meaning you’ll feel more in control of what you can make happen and less constricted by what happens to you.

How students of color confront imposter syndrome by Dena Simmons

Fulbright and Soros fellow Dena Simmons is an educator focused on “[centering] instruction on [the] lives, histories and identities” of students. In her Ted Talk, she discusses the often unspoken struggles students of color face in rectifying their holistic life experiences with everyday identity erasure and discrimination in academic settings. She expresses her experience as a black woman with policing herself to be taken seriously by those around her. For students of color undergoing these same issues and professors unsure how to approach them, Simmons’ talk gives important insight to both the importance of multicultural education and how to make it a reality.

Embrace the near win by Sarah Lewis

Art historian and critic, Sarah Lewis explores the idea that success is not what fulfills us. Lewis says that near-wins are propelling forces that bring our goals into focus and notes the Dunning-Kruger effect: as you gain knowledge, “you learn how little you know.” With this perspective, students can use their failures as motivation to do better rather than view them as punishment to their GPAs. Lewis emphasizes that there is no endgame to growth; it’s all about the journey of continual improvement.

The puzzle of motivation by Dan Pink

Career analyst and freelancer Dan Pink challengers traditional understanding of motivation. Something he voices as a “mismatch between what science knows and what business does.” Essentially, he challenges the use of extrinsic motivation when it comes to innovation. Instead, he proposes that intrinsic motivation — “desire to do things because they matter” — is key to solving problems and creating solutions we didn’t know we needed. His approach emphasizes autonomy, mastery and purpose. For those struggling to see a light at the end of their semester, this video might remind you why you are doing what you are. And if it doesn’t it might help you discover where your true passion lies.

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