TED Conversations

Kate Torgovnick May

writer, TED


This conversation is closed.

How has a TED Talk affected your life?

TED Talks are often inspiring, moving, and downright motivating. We want to know: has watching a specific TED Talk ever led to a big change in your life? If so, we'd love to hear your story!

Has a TED Talk inspired you to change career paths or go back to school? Has a talk ever lead you on a new journey? Has a TED Talk sparked a new idea for how you could think about your work, or ushered in a noticeable change in your community? Has a TED Talk ever lead to a new collaboration, or a new hobby? Share here.

  • thumb

    Alex Ho

    • +4
    Jan 13 2014: I'm Chinese, and I have no chance to go outside China, with the help of internet, we know what happened outside China everyday.But we haven't connected the world, because we don't what are the people thinking in different parts of the world. After I watched some ted talks,I feel likeTED is the door which connected the different parts of the world,once the door has opened, we can better understand what the really like outside.
  • Jan 11 2014: I've left the mainstream social media because of various TED resources, not only videos, and now I feel like I'm free to live a better life. As a consequence, I'm having better real social experiences because I don't feel anymore the urge to share each single aspect of my life with people who don't care at all with me. I care less about irrelevant things people think about me and more about things they might have a good point. I've been learning how to be more self-reliant, and not being so hard on myself. That's how TED has affected my life.
  • thumb
    Jan 27 2014: For me, TED means an open window, not only to the best ideas, projects and studies, but also an invitation to know and respect the opinions of others, though not always share.
    It helps me a lot to maintain and improve my English.
    And, as always, a fascinating window to the open, great, fun and extraordinary issues.
    Thanks very much, TED
  • Jan 12 2014: I work with men and women incarcerated in a county jail. While I teach practical subjects in the hope that these concepts will aid them in "making it" on the "outs", I've found that mostly what these people respond to is empathy, compassion, and inspiration. There are several TED talks that I regularly show my classes, including Brene Brown on vulnerability and shame, Shane Koyczan on bullying, and Fr. Greg Boyle on compassion- to name a few. Keep up the great and important work, TED!
  • Jan 11 2014: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html?quote=83
    This talk by Ken affected me in very personal ways and prompted me to place promoting education reform at the top of my list. Those of you who know me also know you will not get a minute of my time because of titles no matter how much information you can pass over your lips. However I will listen for hours to anyone, of any age or resources if they speak the truth. I find the truth intoxicating.
    • thumb
      Feb 10 2014: Fantastic mention Keith! Ken's talk is amazing. I love Ken quoting Picasso about every child is born an artist, the problem is remaining an artist as we grow up. There's another talk by him where he mentions how as a society we judge people based on their "date of manufacture". Have you heard his talk given at UCLA? Absolutely fantastic. Not only do schools squander people but I know a lot of workplaces that do the same. We need more creativity than conformity.
  • thumb
    Feb 10 2014: Time and time again I go back to Alain de Botton's talk "A kinder, gentler philosophy of success". I know everyone has their setbacks in life, but unfortunately mine never seem to end. His talk really helps me to stay calm and find inner peace. I've always dabbled a little bit in philosophy since I was young, but Alain has inspired me to go more in depth into philosophy. Going along with setbacks, Jane McGonigal's talk "The game that can give you 10 extra years of life" puts things in perspective. When she mentions the top five regrets of the dying, it's a good reminder to me to get over myself and to remember what truly matters in life.
  • thumb
    Feb 9 2014: I think TED is absolutely brilliant.

    When people describe personal heroes and people of great inspiration in their lives, it is often difficult to truly perceive such people. Yet TED is full of people like this, remarkable people with amazing experiences to share.

    Watching TED talks has profoundly changed my views and perspectives of life, and massively contributed towards my self-understanding, and the understanding of others. It has influenced my interests far beyond what I could possibly even comprehend ten years ago, and as such in this sense it has been pivotal to my own life.

    I often try to share an awareness of TED with my friends and close associates, yet it is sometimes hard to describe what it is that specifically makes TED stand out. With such a diverse range of eminent talks and speakers it really is a revolutionary form of education.

    Many of the speakers at TED make me feel as though humanity is more connected and co-operative. It offers positive and attainable aspects of progress, unprecedented innovations and incredibly insightful views into subjects which were previously believed to be well known, or those which have long been neglected of thought.
  • Feb 4 2014: There are a couple of conversation going on now which have enriched my understanding of issues and I am grateful for the opportunity to interact with other here.
  • thumb
    Jan 30 2014: Great ideas and suggestions, Estaban! Definitely something to think about. Made my day...thanks!!
  • Jan 28 2014: ted has given opportunity to talk on serious/technical topics other than just wasting time on social sites.
  • DY D

    • +1
    Jan 27 2014: I am an English learner. I can learn English with TED talk, and also I can absorb various knowledge. My horizon has been broadened a lot.

    Thanks and I will go on with ted.
  • thumb
    Jan 26 2014: Before I saw my first TED talk I always wondered what it would be like to hear the ideas of this planet's greatest minds. Now I know what it is like to hear inspiration every day from these minds! TED has opened my mind to so many possibilities, and I can probably blame TED for giving me the idea of becoming a teacher. I never realized the importance of a great teacher until now. I am now, and will be forever, a TED addict, and I have no clue of weather that is a bad thing or a good thing. By the way, my first TED experience was a talk by Sugata Mitra, he really opened my mind to the fact that our school system in America needs to be updated.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my comment!
  • Jan 25 2014: Before I know TED ,
    I was SOMETHING !
    But Now ,
    after knowing TED,
    " I'm SOMEBODY ! "
  • Jan 25 2014: TED has opened my eyes to motivation, different knowledges, different ideas and it has given my life a different meaning. It has given me a broader look on the world, the community and the structure of systems, and given me hope to believe in human equality.

    I think all knowledge, studies, education should be available like this, so that all, young and old can benefit and learn more about their interests if they want to - to increase their understanding of the world, not for compulsory, but because it is fun and appealing to them.

    For me, it has changed my way of spending my spare time. Instead of watching TV I watch TED talks.

    Instead of "time wasting", I "time invest".
  • Jan 24 2014: Amy Cuddy. She inspired me to stand up in front of others and present with more confidence. her story was so powerful i couldn't ignore it and i am now doing things i would have never beleived possible.
  • Jan 24 2014: TED Talk, for me has acted as a gateway into a world which i didn't know existed. It has brought to light some of the most brilliant people and ideas into light which otherwise i/we wouldn't have come to know about. TED talks are highly inspiring and one of the most important aspect to it is that they can be consumed by anyone for free. Has TED Talk affected my life? Yes, most Definitely. This is only the beginning, there is a long path ahead.
  • thumb
    Jan 22 2014: I am addicted to TED.
    If I ever wished I should one time in my life find a treasure... I did. I am 67 and feel like a little kid that has been given a new toy... TED. I am at a loss in words to explain the numerous journeys in awe, knowledge, appreciation, humility, sheer joy, understanding, craving for more, and more and more that I have been able to experience watching, reading... I makes you feel great to be alive and grateful to be able to have it in this times...
  • thumb
    Jan 19 2014: immensely!!!! in a billion ways.

    from a 'wholesome education' point of view the talks, debates...coversation has done good to me more than any classroom or university University.

    first of all it brings people together whatever our calibre. i felt like a clay being shaped by TED.the viewpoints, discusions etc i think are much better and energetic than any United Nation conferences, G 8, 14.... summits etc.

    secondly, it helps me to unlearn what i learnt, healing the prejudices and pre-conceived notions and constructively shattering my deeply cherished beliefs.

    finally, TED is humongously a great intellectual stimulant and motivator.
  • thumb
    Jan 18 2014: The first TED talk that I saw was shown to me by my fiance. I was really nervous about a speech that I had to give in front of my class about a subject that I had been researching. He showed me a video about how your body language can effect your level of testosterone, or cortisone, and if you have the body language of someone who is confident, you will be more confident. That talk helped me out a lot during my speech, and I got an A. After that I got more and more into TED, and I think that it has helped my brain to function a lot more efficiently. Most of the talks on TED are very inspiring, and educational. You guys have helped my collage experience become better! :)
  • Jan 18 2014: There are many, but one of the vids that had the most profound effect on me was the one featuring Jack Andraka. I couldn't believe at first how a high school student could contribute in the medical industry at such a young age, but then I realised, why not? He inspired me as a student to challenge the impossible and to believe in the power of dreams by being persistent and brave.
  • Jan 12 2014: Ted talks has inspired me to tell my own story of adoption, abuse, depression, relationships, goals, medications, and life in general. It may now give me a voice.
  • Jan 12 2014: It is just one of windows to look different culture and knowledge system,it widens my sight.
  • Jan 11 2014: It helped me kill a little time instead of taking a nap.
  • thumb
    Jan 11 2014: Good question, I think anyone who is involved in TED conversations or watches the talks is affected in some ways. For me, I get inspiration at times, viewpointsI might not have thought about, I learn new things, the list goes on and on.

    Although I travel internationally a fair bit I have seen viewpoints on TED from around the globe that have been very meaningful and which I have never thought of. TED is open-minded and reminds me to live up to this.

    I hope TED is at the tip of the iceberg stage - it can grow exponentially if people want it to.
  • thumb
    Jan 11 2014: hi there
    I've been following TED talks for the past 3 years. Honestly, I find them great help since
    1. they give me insight into cutting edge scientific findings
    2. they make me aware of a wide range of topics, which I could never manage to follow myself, yet essential or at least helpful in life
    3. they are so fun to watch
    4. they have made me really humble against the complexity yet systematicity of life
    5. all those true stories by people have been so so inspirational
    6. they give me a sense of belonging, to a community, a family, a group of likeminded people
  • thumb
    Feb 9 2014: I learned a few personal things through TED talks.

    1) It is really hard to get me moving. A lot of the talks are interesting, inspiring or even thought provoking but I almost never take immediate action on the ideas that are presented in a TED talk.

    2) The only exception is the video of Amy Cuddy, I use my body differently. But it isn't her video that helped me so much, I was researching this claim on my own (through literature). I was hesitating if this was true or false, and then when I saw her video I knew it was through. Her video was the last bit of plausible evidence that I needed in order to believe it.

    3) Some kind of aggregate of the amount of information that I learned through the TED talks *is* influencing my behavior directly. I notice sometimes that when I'm making life decissions that I think about the 2 different modes of happiness (the experience self vs the remembering self) from Daniel Kahneman, for example. I notice that I then ask the question "which self is relevant for this situation?" So TED talks are influencing me a lot later when I need the knowledge and remember it vaguely.

    Now that I think of it, this looks a lot like the impact that education in general has on me.

    4) I learned a lot by writing this post, which now proves to me that organizing my thoughts facilitates new learning. I was leaning towards that side already, but I learned so much from typing this answer (see the sentence between 3 and 4 for example) that I now believe it.

    Awesome question :)
    • Feb 9 2014: Melvin,

      The notion of 'How has a TED Talk affected your life' can be extended to include this talk and talks about talks... so one could say that a ted talk has made some think and consider the impact that education in general has on each one.

      From reading your word I would recommend :

      If you can take a look into... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

      Also when you have the time consider The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think In Action by Donald A. Schon - and then expand on it a bit more.

      Also look into cognitive illusions ... what individuals think before during and after a process may well change what the individual think at each stage of the process ... This presents an interesting self-containment paradox, where 'prisoners' freely choose to remain in their cells (physical, ideological, emotive) mesmerized by the fiery shadows on the walls; rather than venture about the cave or even outside and experience whats there. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave .

      Please consider that for some the whole of the universe past present and future be the cave , for others it be the world, for yet others it be their country or city or 'the house' they live in for the time being.

      What facilitates new learning involves wondering about .... you described it as " hesitating if this was true or false, and then when I saw ... I knew it was ..." Just keep in mind that 'wondering in the form of a 'doubt' can open the door and lead to all sort of possibilities' some which ought to remain unexplored and closed forevermore ... sort of like pandora's box. Now that I think of it... if someone wants to open and see what inside the jar, and let the gene out, they ought make sure to first get into a confining hermetic enclosure so that the jar remains confined and close within a bigger space ; In other words get into the jar without ever opening it.
  • thumb
    Feb 7 2014: Yes a specific TED talk had a big effect in my life, because it helped me to change some of my ideas for a better future..
    i tried to fellow the advises giving on that talk and do exactly what the guy said. Also due to to that talk i have new ideas and vision for my work which i didn't think about at all before.. in last i can only think TED about what it gives to us :)
  • thumb
    Feb 6 2014: I've known TED since a view years ago, but just as a passive viewer. Through TED, I learned all sorts of knowledge that I would otherwise might never know. I've only started to become a more active "participant" and become part of TED community last year, through becoming a volunteer translator and also joining TED conversation.

    Becoming TED translator has allowed me to better understand the talks, and actually gets the point the speaker wants to send. And there's also a sense of gratification that I can give back to the community, if only just to enable people who can't speak English to also enjoy and learn from TED videos. Joining the conversation has given me the opportunity to share views with other people all around the world, and learn about their various views as well. I bump into an unfamiliar term every other click and start googling them, and learn a bunch of new stuff. So it's done a great deal to increasing my knowledge bank.

    TED is like a community that I've missed ever since leaving school and university. Work is challenging, yes, but there isn't as many things that sparks me intellectually as it used to be when I was a student. Being involved in TED discussion keeps my mind sharp and running, and stay challenged.
  • thumb
    Feb 5 2014: As bold as it may sound, many TED talks has inspired me to become a humanitarian, a patriot, a leader, and much more. I am on a journey to raise awareness that my friends, families and citizens of my native country can help make our society a better one, through innovation in various field; politics, education, healthcare among others. My idea is to change the lives of 1.3 million persons and their future generation by stirring their curiosity to seek ideologies that are deemed worthy for a successful society. It is a new hobby for me, I am constantly involved in with meeting new persons that wants to share their side of story on what they believe are the issues that are needing to be fixed in our society. I am finding some common sources and ideas that may bring people together. My goal is to make those people who are willing to come together and show them that their are organizations and professionals that can help us make us find feasible solutions to our issues whether it is corruption, infrastructural, or educational system, we can be trained to innovate. Overall I want to create a movement that share the same ideologies and use or skills together with various collaboration to make our nation a platform where TED ideas can be implemented successfully. Social networks are the keys to start the movement through effective messages and trusting our circles of friends and the friends of friends that we affect may be a good way to start this movement, the key is to gain popularity and trust. I will be the change that I want to see in the world, and make it a better place, I have everything that I ever dreamed of; a wife, two daughters and friends that loves me and to top it all, I have baby boy along the way. I realized that I can use my spare time to start this movement and see where it takes us, I have nothing to lose as I would be satisfied that I am trying.
    • Feb 5 2014: Elvin,

      I applaud what you just stated. If you allow me to make one slight change to it...

      rather than focus on the issues that are needing to be fixed in our society...
      focus on the issues that are needing to be attended to and cultivated in our society...

      When we seek to fix something we look for problems ...
      when we seek to attend to something we look for where our attention is most needed

      its a subtle difference that makes a big difference...

      Even-though of (____acknowledge what happens to be__________) lets promote and work on (___whatever ought to be_______) by doing ( ______________ ).

      find feasible ways to our issues whether it is to create honesty, infrastructural, or educational system, we can learn to learn and help others do the same... be innovators
  • thumb
    Jan 30 2014: The ideas really make you think. It's great brain exercise. It's just too bad our ideas are boxed in by the ruling classes.
    • Feb 1 2014: Wade,

      Our ideas are boxed in by the thoughts/feelings/actions/dreams we choose to cultivate and hold...
      Some choose to think of themselves as boxed in by the ruling classes...
      some choose to think of themselves as artists by the artful classes...
      Some choose to think of themselves as visionaries who can create new ideas...
      Some can even integrate all the classes into a coherent enriching learning experience that produces a much deeper understanding than what results from the sum of the parts...

      We are bound to our ideas while free to conceive of the notions that changes it all... of course some do need to conceive the beneficial ideas that enable them and everyone a better experience... until some learn better ways they be confined in/by/through the other ways. It's actually rather good that this be so... imagine that only the good be allowed to go out and play... the games there would all be good and fun... even enriching learning experiences...