8 Seriously Inspirational TED Talks for Twentysomething Women | Her Life in Ruins

8 Seriously Inspirational TED Talks for Twentysomething Women

If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for new sources of inspiration. One of the best places I find inspiration is the TED platform. TED is a media organization that emphasizes spreading original ideas that are rooted in a variety of categories. These categories range from the sciences to business to self-help and everything in-between. There have even been a number of independently organized TED talks that focus on specific topics, like women’s issues, youth issues, leadership, etc. Below, I’ve compiled my eight favorite TED talks for when I need some inspiration, motivation, or a reminder of who I can be, all delivered by some pretty amazing women.

Dr. Meg Jay – Why 30 is Not the New 20

Who is Dr. Megan Jay?

Meg Jay is a clinical psychologist and author based out of Virginia. In her work, she specializes in development, pointing out the common misconception that your twenties don’t matter. In her work, Dr. Jay discusses why your twenties are the time to take major steps and how to get through childhood adversities.

When to Watch

In this 15 minute TED talk, Dr. Jay discusses how she feels that your twenties aren’t a throwaway decade. While many people are getting married, having children, and getting more permanent jobs later in life, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start planning for your future in your twenties. This TED talk emphasizes that the best time to work on your future is before it happens and will motivate you to get thinking about where you want to be in the future. Dr. Meg Jay argues that your twenties are the time to make the changes you want to make about yourself and encourages the twentysomethings in the audience to make changes that will define their future.

Tracy McMillan – The Person You Really Need to Marry

Who is Tracy McMillan?

Tracy McMillan is a writer, relationship expert, and matchmaker on the NBC series Ready for Love. McMillan has been married multiple times, written for major television shows, wrote the most viewed article on Huffington Post ever (seriously, read it), and has written a successful memoir and book. Tracy McMillan is blunt, relatable, and gives some great advice on how to make relationships worthwhile.

When to Watch

Literally any day, any time – especially if you’re going through a time where you’re upset that you’re single or struggling with relationships. McMillan discusses how you need to have a great relationship with yourself before you can have successful relationships with anyone else.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – We Should All Be Feminists

Who is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian novelist, feminist writer, and has achieved what we have all dreamed of: being featured in a Beyoncé song. Most of all, Chimamanda is a storyteller. Her various TED talks include at least one personal story, why it’s relevant, and the various things we can learn from that story. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an amazing woman who has published multiple books exploring the challenges women face and the paths that we should take to eliminate those issues for future generations.

When to Watch

I watch this TED talk anytime I am frustrated with being a woman. In this talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells the audience about several times in her life when she has been portrayed in a negative light for trying to do anything that is traditional male – such as seeking out leadership roles, trying to be fiscally independent, or even arguing for basic equality. After laying out relevant stores, Chimamanda outlines ways we as society should resolve common women’s issues. This TED talk was so incredibly powerful that it was adapted into a book. In fact, Chimamanda’s part in the above mentioned Beyoncé song was pulled from this talk. Trust me, watch it.

Sarah Knight – The Magic of Not Giving a F*ck

Who is Sarah Knight?

Sarah Knight is a publisher and best-selling author. Her books focus on “mentally decluttering” your life. Sarah Knight urges her readers to get their priorities in order so that they can get their lives in order. Her works have been dubbed as “self-help books for people who don’t like self-help books”. Sarah Knight’s bluntness paired with humor lead to people viewing her as hilariously inspirational.

When to Watch

Watch this TED talk when you’re unhappy with where you are at life. If you hate your job, find yourself doing tasks that don’t make you happy, or are generally annoyed, watch this talk! Sarah Knight discusses how you can fill your life with joy by figuring out where to place your f*cks. Maybe don’t watch this TED talk in public/without headphones, though, as it contains a ton of foul language.

Shonda Rhimes – My Year to Saying Yes to Everything

Who is Shonda Rhimes?

Shonda Rhimes is probably one of the most successful female writers in Hollywood ever. Shonda Rhimes is responsible for amazing TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder and movies like Crossroads and The Princess Diaries 2. She spends around 70 hours per week writing for TV for her Shondaland shows, as well as raising multiple children and being an all around boss.

When to Watch

Watch this TED talk when you feel like you’re stuck in a rut or losing passion in things. In this talk, Shonda Rhimes discusses how she spent an entire year saying yes to everything, especially the things that she was afraid of. Shonda Rhimes is iconic, and this TED talk solidifies that, as she tells viewers how she has managed rediscover her passion by saying yes.

Mel Robbins – How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over

Who is Mel Robbins?

Mel Robbins is an attorney turned internet-retail tech creator turned life-coach. She’s also an on-air commentator for CNN and often contributes to their online platforms. Other than CNN, you’ve seen Mel Robbins on Good Morning America, FOX News, and even Oprah, just to name a few. Mel Robbins does all that while raising three kids. Mel Robbins is seriously a superstar.

When to Watch

Watch this talk when you’re in need of some tough-love, because that’s something Mel Robbins will definitely give you. Her specific brand of “verbal assassination” will make you want to get off the couch and get everything you want out of life.

Elizabeth Gilbert – Your Elusive Creative Genius

Who is Elizabeth Gilbert?

Elizabeth Gilbert is the reason why we saw Julia Roberts in one of her best roles – Liz Gilbert. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love, which is an incredibly moving memoir that follows Elizabeth from her comfortable life in the US to discovering three different passions against three different cultural backgrounds: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and a balance between worldly joy and divine transcendence in Bali. If you’ve read the book, I shouldn’t even have to tell you to watch this talk because you know how amazing Elizabeth Gilbert is. If you haven’t read the book, you should, right after you watch this talk.

When to Watch

If you’ve just come off a huge success and are struggling with what to do next or how to live up to that success, watch this talk. This TED Talk has over 3.1 million views, and I’m probably responsible for about a third of them. Each time I watch it, I always finding my “genius” in a new place. This talk is so personal that it is sure to move you, so maybe have some tissues handy. If you enjoy this talk, be sure to watch her followup talk!

Stacey Ferreira – Millennials are Screwed

Who is Stacey Ferreira?

When she gave this talk, Stacey Ferreira was a college junior, had started her own business with a $1.2 million grant, had contributed to a large number of magazines (including a shout-out by Forbes!!!), and had published a best-selling book. Now, Stacey Ferreira is 24 years old and is still crushing the game. Stacey Ferreira is seriously one amazing millennial woman.

When to Watch

Watch this talk anytime anyone (very likely someone older) complains about the millennial generation. Stacey Ferreira rejects this common conception that millennials are a hopeless generation and will make you feel so so so much better about where you’re at in life now and what your future holds. 

What are your favorite TED Talks? Let me know in the comments below!



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