One primary concern I had after graduating college was this: How will I continue to learn and expand my knowledge without attending class, listening to lectures, and writing papers? I knew I wasn’t going to graduate school but heading straight into the workforce.
So how would I be able to learn anything new outside of my career without education there to help? One of the most convenient ways to ensure your knowledge doesn’t become stagnant is to watch TED Talks!
The TED conference platform has altered the way we think and learn. TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, is a global network of independent organizers that bring people together to share ideas worth sharing. TED talks are brief, powerful pieces of wisdom given by some of the world’s most outstanding people.
And we have eight TED Talks we think all women should watch in their 20s.
They range from seven to eighteen minutes, each on topics from exploring underwater caves to stories of human trafficking and everything in between. TED Talks are a perfect source of entertainment and education for millennials, with a few minutes of spare time a day to learn something new, hear an inspirational story, or laugh till you cry.
Here is a list of eight TED Talks every woman should watch in her 20s.
1. “Why 30 is not the new 20” by Meg Jay
“Claiming your 20s is one of the simplest, yet most transformative, things you can do for work, your happiness, maybe even the world.”
The first on the list of TED Talks every woman should watch in her 20s is by Meg Jay. In this talk, she provides a bold and empowering message that all twentysomethings need to hear.
Despite what society may say about your 30s being the point where you start to settle into your career, get married, and have children, Meg begs to differ. Rather than cruise through your 20s on autopilot and then take hold of the wheel when you blow out 30 candles, Meg suggests that we should take advantage of these formative years that have a giant impact on the rest of our lives.
She offers three valuable pieces of advice to make the most of our 20s. First, get some identity capital; AKA does something that adds value to who you are, whether volunteering or taking that fantastic cross-country job.
Second, utilize your weak ties, which are our friends of friends of friends. Most of the time, the new person you date or the job opportunity you pursue comes from outside your inner circle.
Lastly, pick your family. Meg makes a powerful statement: “Picking your family is about consciously choosing who and what you want rather than just making it work or killing time with whoever happens to be choosing you.” Check out Meg’s book, The Defining Decade.
2. “Why we have too few women leaders” by Sheryl Sandberg
“I think a world where half of our countries and our companies were run by women would be a better world.”
In her first TED Talk appearance, Sheryl Sandberg boldly decided to talk about her experience as one of the few women at the C-level of business. And it is a TED talk every woman in her 20s should watch.
She points out that while women have come a long way regarding career choices, rights, and equality, we still have a long way to go. The statistics for women in leadership positions globally are saddening. However, it is a must on our list of TED Talks every young woman should watch in her 20s.
The primary way Sheryl suggests fixing this problem? Making sure women stay in the workforce. And also so they don’t drop out before they can make it to the top tier of corporations.
The three messages she emphasizes during her talk are to sit at the table, make your partner a real partner, and don’t leave before you leave. If you love this talk as much as I did, you can also check out Sheryl’s other talks or read her book, Lean In.
3. “How to find work you love” by Scott Dinsmore
“The first part of this three-step passionate work framework is becoming a self-expert and understanding yourself. Because if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll never find it.”
While Scott is the only guy on our list of TED talks every woman should watch in her 20s, his message is for everyone. Do you ever feel unhappy in your current job? Scott Dinsmore was in a similar situation, but rather than sticking with a job that made him miserable, he quit and dedicated the next four years to discovering how to find personally fulfilling and meaningful work.
Don’t feel too alone if you are unsatisfied with your job. Did you know that 80% of people don’t enjoy their work, according to research conducted by Deloitte? Scott emphasizes that you don’t have to strive to change the world like Gandhi or Steve Jobs. But instead, do something that matters to you and makes an impact only you can produce.
4. “How to stop screwing yourself over” by Mel Robbins
“If you have one of those impulses pulling you, if you don’t marry it with an action within 5 seconds, you pull the emergency break and kill the idea.”
I had never heard of Mel Robbins before watching this talk; however, I don’t believe I will soon forget her. Her bold and honest style of talking is refreshing and is kind of the kick in the butt we need sometimes.
The entire talk is centered on the fact that a third of Americans are dissatisfied with their lives. And Mel’s solution is being a little selfish, digging deep to think about what you want, and motivating yourself to get it.
If you ever think, “I’d love to get healthier” or “I would love to have a better relationship with my parents,” Mel might be that extra push you need to get what you want. During her talk, she fills you in on the chances of you being born at the exact moment you were, which is one in four trillion!
Why waste those incredible odds by not making our lives everything we want them to be? Check out Mel’s book here.
5. “Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating” by Elizabeth Gilbert
“Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself.”
The brilliant mind behind the book Eat, Pray, Love strikes again with her inspiring talk, discussing success and failure and how to carry on regardless of the outcome. Elizabeth Gilbert explains that Eat, Pray, Love was an incredible break in her otherwise underwhelming writing career. Because of this, she felt immense pressure for her next book because she knew it would be a disappointment in comparison. That is why this one made the list of TED talks every woman should watch in her 20s.
Due to her extreme passion and love for writing, however, Elizabeth pressed on and continued to create great books regardless of if they failed miserably or succeeded beautifully. Writing is Elizabeth’s home, something she loves more than herself.
The point she makes is we all have to find what our home is and always return to that place because it is the one thing you can devote all of your energy and passion toward, and ultimately the outcome is inconsequential to your happiness. Check out Elizabeth’s book, Big Magic, below.
6. “One Life-Changing class you never took” by Alexa von Tobel
“Right now, 84% of college graduates said they need more help with personal finance, but they’re not getting it.”
As much as we hate to admit it, money will be significant throughout our lives. Yet, despite that, personal finance is rarely taught in high schools and colleges across the United States. So instead, most of us will learn about money from our parents and loved ones. And we hope you know something from this video because this is another one of our TED talks every woman should watch in her 20s.
Alexa offers five critical financial principles that can benefit you and your money for years: live with a budget, prioritize debt repayment, build and maintain an emergency savings fund, negotiate your salary, and start saving for retirement now. Check out Alexa’s book below.
7. “Listening to Shame” by Brené Brown
“Vulnerability is not weakness. I define vulnerability as emotional risk, exposure, and uncertainty. It fuels our daily lives. And I’ve come to the belief—this is my 12th year doing this research—that vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage—to be vulnerable, to let ourselves be seen, to be honest.”
Being vulnerable can be a terrifying thing. Brené Brown’s first TED Talk on the power of vulnerability became a viral sensation. But, she says, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”
Brené makes a great point explaining why TED Talks are so popular and influential. She identifies that TED is a failure conference.
Everyone that gets on stage to talk has failed at some time. Yet, despite its scary vulnerability, great things can come from it. Shame will tell you you aren’t good enough to sit back down and be quiet. Brené says that our goal in life should be to dare greatly.
One way to make sure that happens? Silence shame with empathy and watch those around you stand up, be vulnerable, and dare greatly. Check out one of Brené’s books below.
8. “Looks aren’t everything. Believe me; I’m a model” by Cameron Russell
“And if you ever wonder, ‘If I have thinner thighs and shinier hair, will I be happier?’ You need to meet a group of models because they have the thinnest thighs, the shiniest hair, and the coolest clothes, and they’re probably the most physically insecure women on the planet.”
The last video on our list of TED Talks every woman should watch in Her 20s is by Cameron Russell. The first minute of this video will make you want to hear what Cameron has to say. She comes on stage wearing a tight-fitting, scoop-neck black dress with 8-inch heels.
She then changes into an ankle-length skirt, modest cardigan, and flats. Her point? She completely transformed what she looked like and, thus, what people thought of her in moments just based on her clothes.
She says, “Image is powerful, but also, an image is superficial.” Cameron addresses both positive and negative experiences while modeling for the past ten years of her life. Appearances in society today are picked apart and judged in every way possible for both females and males.
Cameron candidly acknowledges that she fits the “typical modern model.” But she is quick to admit it doesn’t always make her happy. And that the industry she benefits from only furthers unfair racial, gender, and sexist stereotypes in our society.
Why Should Every Young Woman Watch All TED Talk Shows?
One of the benefits of watching TED talks is the exposure to a diverse range of topics, including gender equality, leadership roles, women leaders, and the spirit of TED. These talks often feature potent women who have worked hard to get to the top of their professions, providing insights and strategies for success. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s talk on “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders” and Susan Colantuono’s “The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get” offer valuable guidance for women striving to break into leadership roles.
The library of TED talks is vast and includes collections of discussions on various topics, such as body language, reproductive rights, and the tech industry’s future. The lectures can be accessed on TED’s website or YouTube channel, making them easily accessible to everyone. TED also offers original video series that explore world-changing ideas and TED speakers.
In addition to the global TED events, there are local events organized by independent organizers called TEDx events. These events provide a platform for individuals to share their ideas and connect with their community. Attending a TED-like event in your local area can be a great way to meet like-minded people and hear inspiring talks.
TED talks also offer an insider’s guide to some of the world’s most audacious projects and world-changing initiatives. For example, Kavita Ramdas of the Global Fund for Women and Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of “The Dressmaker of Khair Khana,” have shared their experiences in economic development and women’s empowerment in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Loretta J. Ross and Shad Begum have spoken on women of color, reproductive rights, and hidden opportunities.
TED Talks Every Woman Should Watch
These TED Talks have valuable lessons we can all learn from as we navigate through our 20s. TED speakers often pose provocative questions challenging our traditional culture and unconscious beliefs.
Talks by Pat Mitchell on “Becoming the Empowered Woman You Want to Be,” Roselinde Torres on “What It Takes to Be a Great Leader,” and Winter Olympics flag bearer Kirsten Hall on “Walking the Long Walk” have inspired many to think deeply about their values and beliefs. So we welcome you to watch these 8 TED talks every woman should watch in her 20s.
Next time you are tempted to click “play next episode” on Netflix or during your morning treadmill session, watch a TED Talk instead, and I’m sure you’ll learn something new. Be sure to check out the other talks by some individuals above or explore the thousands of other TED Talks offered online.
TED talks have a special place in the hearts of many, particularly those who support innovators and those seeking to make the world a better place. Discussions on climate change, the funding gap, and yeast infections may not sound particularly exciting, but they have inspired many to take action and make a difference.
What do you think of these TED Talks? Are there any other TED talks every woman should watch in her 20s? Let us know in the comments!