Ted Talks – What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study of happiness – Robert Waldinger

Robert Waldinger is a psychiatrist who is a director of a 77-year-old study on adult development. In this talk he discusses what makes people truly happy.

A lot of people today believe that the key to happiness is wealth and fame. However, Waldinger’s’ research concludes the opposite – he found that the people who are the happiest are those who invested in their relationships with family, friends and within their community.

We are constantly told to work harder and achieve more but if we do not invest in our relationships in the long run then towards the end of our lives these things, we call success and happiness will hold no meaning.

Having a strong bond with other humans is essential to finding true happiness.

There are 3 lessons he discusses about relationship, these are-

  • Social connections are really good for us – those with social connections with family and friends are happier, physically healthier and live longer
  • Quality of close relationships matter
  • Good relationships do not just protect our bodies, but they also protect our brains.

I enjoyed this Ted Talk because it showed that life is more than just our work life, we need to work on and appreciate the importance of our relationships with our families and friends. We have to seek high quality relationships as these really do benefit our happiness and the quality of life that we lead.


Ted Talks – The Art of Asking – Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer is now a musician but was once a street performer. She looks at the lessons she learnt as a street performer and how she uses these lessons now she is a musician.

During the talk she discusses the relationships between artists and fans and the importance of having a connection with your fans. When she was on tour with her band, she discovered the overwhelming generosity of their fans, they offered them everything from a couch to sleep on to food. Amanda discusses what it means to ask something from your fans and whether it is fair.

Amanda realised that she asked her fans for help and it worked. Her band decided not to charge for their music and instead ask fans for their help. Instead of them purchasing their music, fans could give money if they wanted to help the band.

Amanda said this made her vulnerable but it created a greater connection with the fans

Musicians has been a part of communities for years and now they have become these untouchable stars or celebrities from afar. The band was more approachable and appreciative and spent for time with fans.

The idea is to give and receive fearlessly and to be able to ask someone for help without a feeling of shame. When we really see each other and the struggles we are going through we really want to help each other.

I found this an interesting topic on Ted talks and it was not something I had really thought about before. I do think this is quite a unique thing to do in today’s society and actually I quite like the idea of it. I would much rather support a band that has a better connection with fans and one that you can actually meet than one who hides away in the celebrity hotspots. It would help us to feel closer to the artists and actually feel like they appreciate their fans and not take them for granted.

Ted Talks – The Power of Vulnerability – Brene Brown

Brene Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College, she has spent 16 years studying vulnerability, connection, courage, empathy and shame.

Brene has spent many years looking at the idea of connection; she has asked a lot of people about connection and she found that when she asked about it people would talk to her about disconnection. When she asked people about love they would talk about heart break. After speaking to numerous people, she realised that there was a common theme of Shame.

There was a great fear of disconnection. In order to have connection we have to have vulnerability and often the fear of vulnerability would lead to the disconnection.

Those who have connection had a greater sense of worthiness and a strong sense of worthiness. These people had embraced their vulnerabilities as they believed it made then beautiful and they though it was a necessary part of connection. They all had in common courage, compassion and connection as a result of authenticity.

The one thing that keeps us out of connection is that feeling of being unworthy of it. We often numb our vulnerabilities, and this ends up numbing our joy and happiness and then we become miserable and then when we come to look for purpose and meaning we find ourselves feeling vulnerable. It becomes a viscous circle of events that many struggle to break away from

We have to realise that we are all imperfect and we all have vulnerabilities and the way to embrace connections is through sharing these vulnerabilities and becoming our true authentic selves. We have to believe we are enough. When we release this, we are kinder to others and ourselves.

I really enjoyed this Ted Talk with Brene Brown as it was very interesting but always very funny. There was a light-hearted approach to this talk but also it covered a serious topic. I would like to listen to more of the talks that she has given in the future.

Ted Talks – How to speak so that people want to listen – Julian Treasure

Julian Treasure is a sound expert who describes the human voice as an instrument that we all play. We all use our voices in different ways and this is often reflected in how others interact or perceive us as individuals. Many of us have had the experience where when we speak, we are not listened too.

In order to be listened to and to be taken more seriously Julian provides 7 habits that we should try to move away from –

  • Gossip – speaking ill of someone who is not present
  • Judging – hard to listen to someone when you know that you are being judged at the same time
  • Negativity – hard to listen to it people who are constantly negative
  • Complaining – it can get tiring listening to people who complain all the time
  • Excuses – blame being passed on to others
  • Exageration – distorting the truth
  • Dogmatisim – confusion of facts and opinions

I think they are a very good reflection of habits that we need to avoid be listened to more and to be taken more seriously. If you avoid these 7 habits what you speak about will become more validated to others and therefore, they will want to listen to you more.


Julian also gave examples of how to make our speech become more powerful- This is was he calls HAIL

  • H – Honesty – be clear and straight talking
  • A – Authenticity – be yourself
  • I – Integrity – be your word – actually doing what you say
  • L – love – wish them well

If you use HAIL to evolve your speech, I think you will be more respected and become more validated and listened to a lot more by a lot of different people.

Julian also looks at how voice coaches can help with the pitch and pace of your voice to help you to be taken more seriously and also to come across as more powerful.

I found this Ted Talk very interesting and I liked the way he gave 7 examples of habits to move away from and 4 that we should try to stick to in order to be taken more seriously. The talk was very easy to understand and very relatable.  I would be interesting in listening to some other talks that he has given.

Ted Talks – The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Angela Lee Duckworth

Angela Lee Duckworth is a professor of psychology at the university of Pennsylvania. Angela was previously as 7thgrade maths teacher in New York where she discovered that success is no simply attributed to IQ but to qualities like self-discipline and grit. Angela realised that success in school and life was more than the ability to learn quickly.

From her study Angela found that one main characteristic emerges as a significant predicter of success – it was that of Grit. Grit is the passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Angela describes Grit as living life like it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

A talent is something does not instantly make you successful in it – Many talented individuals do not follow through and therefore do not become as successful.

The ability to learn in not fixed and it can be changed with the effort you make. If we make effort to learn something and do not give up on it, we are much more likely to be successful.

We have to learn to be able to failure. Failure is not a permanent condition and we need to learn lessons from our failures with perseverance to keep trying. This is how we become successful because we have the Grit to keep going.

I enjoyed this Ted Talk as I to need to work on my perseverance and learning not to give up if I fail. Really enjoyable talk.

Fill in the blanks

If I could watch any podcast right now it would be ______

It would have to be the Joe Rogan podcast with Kanye West. I have been waiting for this to come out so it will have to be this one.

What would yours be?

Ted Talks – Why some of us don’t have one true calling – Emilie Wapnick

Emilie Wapnick is a writer and artist who discusses what she calls “multipotentialties”.

In society as we grow up, we are often asked what we would like to be when we are older and often as we get older this becomes harder to answer unless you are one of those people who know exactly what you want to do with your life.

Emilie talks about how she would become interested in something and it was all consuming and this would be the career she would be working towards when she would suddenly become bored or unfulfilled. Once the challenge of learning all she could about this area she would get bored and then move onto another career choice.

After this happening a few times it starts to cause a lot of anxiety as she wasn’t sure if she could turn any of her interests into a career. She also worried that something might be wrong with her as she couldn’t stick to one career choice and even though maybe she was self-sabotaging herself.

Emilie called this type of person “multipotentialities” – This is where a person has multiple potentials and not just one career choice.

Even the question what do you want to be when you grow up is limiting us to one choice and not 10 choices, so we start to believe that we have one true calling and one destiny to perform in our life. For those who have many ideas this can feel quite limiting and they often feel alone and become anxious about what they are supposed to be doing with their life.

I think I am personally a multipotenialite as I have always struggled to narrow myself down to one career path. I often go off in one direction and then I will start to change my mind and go off in a different direction. To others it seems that I cannot make my mind up, but I am just trying different things to see if I like them or not. I would much rather try different ideas/ career options that be suck in a job for the next 20 years that I disliked. We are taught that we need to have a career sorted by the time we have finished university but actually quite often even people in their 40’s have not yet figured out what they want to do. We need to take the pressure of ourselves to find the right job for us because we may never actually find it, but we can enjoy the process of trying to get there if we make sure we enjoy what we do.

We have to embrace our own life choices regardless of what other’s opinions may be as all that really matters I that we are enjoying the lives we lead.