What TED Talks have taught me: Life lessons from my favorite speakers

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We all have different forms of procrastinating and coping with the daily stress of school. One of my favorite ways to calm down is to listen to the wisdom of public speakers via TED Talks. They can cover anything from stress to science and even love. Here are a few life lessons from my favorite talks that will inspire you as they did me.

Stress can be your friend

Attending UC Berkeley can bring you copious amounts of stress and anxiety. It can be so tricky at times to focus or remember to breathe when you feel like a tsunami of fear is drowning you. Kelly McGonigal speaks about how you can make stress your friend, and as crazy as that statement sounds, it made me feel so much better. She discusses the spike in energy and determination to finish a project that stress gives you. She also goes into the fact that most people are more impaired by worrying about stress then stress itself. Ultimately, stress can be a good thing, so dont fret if you feel the pressure — try and use it as fuel and determination to achieve your goals. The kick of energy that comes with stress can be just what you need.

People are different

It may sound obvious, but people are genuinely distinct. This concept made sense to me through a talk by Lynne Franklin, who describes people through their body language in three ways: the looker, the listener and the feeler. Although three categories cant just separate people, this talk gives you a gauge on how behaviors can be misinterpreted by people who think differently than the person they are observing. A looker may be offended by a listener who is not making eye contact while they are speaking, while in reality, its not that the listener is uninterested; they are just really listening. Little body language tricks that other people do during conversations can leave us offended if we dont think the same way. But dont be offended if the next person you greet is not a hugger like you or bad at keeping eye contact, as they may be different from you. Its not personal — its just different behavioral traits.

You need to love yourself to love others

A running theme I have found in many motivational TED Talks is the straightforward and challenging task of loving ourselves. Although it sounds obvious, it can be a tough process that takes time. Loving yourself is a constant battle thats faced daily, weekly and yearly. It doesnt just mean loving parts of yourself, and its natural to be self-critical, but start by focusing on the positive. Look in the mirror every morning and compliment one thing you love about yourself. I know it sounds silly, but it helps! Your confidence and happiness will rise and spill onto others in the best way. So shut off your social media apps, look in the mirror and compliment yourself. You deserve happiness, and it deserves you.

How to get motivated

A TED Talk by Mel Robbins hit home for me and encouraged me to get off my butt and get stuff done. She explains how the chance you were born is one in a billion, so were already pretty freaking special by living today. She continues by describing how people keep screwing themselves over by being comfortable. Her blunt honesty throughout the talk is the recipe you may need for motivation. Try setting a couple of goals for yourself each week and wake up 20 minutes earlier each day to work toward accomplishing them. Even if you dont make your goal, the progress youll make is astounding. There is also a lot to be learned by stepping outside of your comfort zone. Although its scary, and quite frankly just uncomfortable, its how we learn and grow as humans. So if youre afraid of public speaking, sign yourself up and give a speech, or if youre scared of dancing, wake up an hour earlier and take a dance class. You may not be the next Julianne Hough or a jazz expert, but youll gain a little rhythm and face your fears.

Next time youre in a rut and want to hear something inspirational that doesnt come from your friends or loved ones, hop on YouTube and watch a TED Talk. They have changed my daily life and can change yours too!

Contact Summer Kailani at [email protected].