In times of crisis, I always turn to TED. No, not my weird uncle with the drinking problem, but the TED conference, a nonprofit that endeavors to spread important ideas via short-form conversations i.e. TED Talks. You’ve likely come across a few in your day, especially when you needed a little inspiration or hope. And lord knows we need some hope right now.
So, I decided to round up some TED Talks that address the things many folks are feeling these days. In this guide, you’ll find talks about fear, emotion, loneliness, creativity, and the resilience of the human spirit. It’s an incomplete list, but one designed to help us all make sense of and get through this difficult time.
What Fear Can Teach Us by Karen Thompson Walker
In this conversation, writer Karen Thompson Walker poses a deceptively simple question: Is there something to be learned from fear? Her answer is a resounding yes, that there’s actually quite a lot to glean from acknowledging and sitting with our worst fears. At a moment in which many of us are scared, like, all the time, I found this talk to be refreshing and surprisingly comforting.
The Gift and Power of Emotional Courage by Susan David
I don’t know about y’all, but I have been majorly in my feels recently. I’m up, I’m down, I’m all around, and the emotional roller coaster doesn’t seem like it’s going to end anytime soon. Thankfully, Dr. Susan David says that’s a good thing. In this talk, she ruminates on the courage it takes to feel things fully and how powerful it can be to accept one’s emotions wholeheartedly. An inspirational talk that could do wonders for folks who don’t always give themselves permission to “go there” emotionally.
Go Ahead and Dream About the Future by Charlie Jane Anders
For many of us, it seems impossible to imagine a future outside this current moment. The pandemic is so intense and omnipresent that it becomes difficult to conceptualize what life could look like after it. If you’re in that boat, I recommend watching this joyful talk from writer Charlie Jane Anders. In it, they give us permission to daydream about the future in all its unknown splendor.
How a Team of Chefs Fed Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria by José Andrés
If you need a little reminder of just how powerful the human spirit is, look no further than this amazing TEDx Talk from chef José Andrés. In it, he talks about how he and a team of cooks, restaurateurs, and volunteers worked together to feed the storm-ravaged island of Puerto Rico when government officials turned a blind eye. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, and felt my spirit lift with this story of community and resilience.
You Are Not Alone in Your Loneliness by Jonny Sun
Feeling lonely in this time of self-isolation and social distancing? Then you may want to give this TED Talk a listen. Here, Jonny Sun shares his story of overcoming loneliness by opening up to strangers on the Internet. It’s a sweet and charming conversation that encourages its listeners to remember that they’re not nearly as alone as they might think they are.
Where Does Creative Hide? by Amy Tan
If you’re looking to use your time at home to be a little more creative, you’ll definitely want to check out this talk. Author Amy Tan delves into the subject of creativity with immense humor and grace, drawing on her personal history to comment on how frustrating and nebulous and amazing the creative process can be. Artists and lay folks alike are sure to find this conversation an utter delight.
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