12 Amazing Personal Growth TED Talks You Must See

These are my 12 all-time favorite personal growth TED Talks that you must see if you are seeking to rediscover or redefine yourself in 2022. They have all been watched more than a million times. And the best part — most of them last 15 minutes or less because none of us can focus much longer than that, right?

I’ve been watching TED Talks for as long as they have been around. We often used them for professional development in education. But I use them for my own personal growth and development, as well.

These personal growth speakers will help you become your best self! Enjoy them!

a professionally dressed woman stands on a stage looking out into the darkness of an audience to give one of her most amazing personal growth TED Talks
12 Amazing Personal Growth TED Talks You Must See

9 Amazing Personal Growth TED Talks (2022)

You most likely know about TED Talks, but let me share a little background. TED Talks is an online non-profit organization committed to sharing ideas, knowledge, and encouragement via short talks and presentations by leaders in a variety of arenas.

From the TED Talks website: “Scientists, researchers, technologists, business leaders, artists, designers and other world experts take the TED stage to present “Ideas Worth Spreading”: valuable new knowledge and innovative research in their fields.

So let’s move on to the good stuff — 12 of the BEST personal growth TED Talks to trigger your motivation and personal development!


1. How to Discover Your Authentic Self — at Any Age

This talk from Bevy Smith, author and queen of pop culture, is both inspirational and humorous as she articulates why life gets better as you get older! (I love this way of thinking:)

Bev shares lessons about authenticity, maturity, confidence, and success to help explain her “Bevelations” in this great TED Talk. Check out her new book, “Bevelations: Lessons from a Mutha, Auntie, Bestie.”

How to Discover Your Authentic Self — at Any Age by Bevy Smith

2. The Beautiful Balance Between Courage and Fear

This talk by Cara E. Yar Khan will help you find your courage and live with your fears to become the person you are meant to be. Cara was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition that deteriorates muscles and was told she’d have to limit her activities and ambitions in life.

Clearly, as she sits on this TED Talk stage in her wheelchair, you realize she has not limited herself in any way. She shares how she has grown and worked on her passions in spite of what her doctors told her — and in spite of her fears.

Cara is an international human rights advocate who promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities across all settings.

The Beautiful Balance Between Courage and Fear by Care E. Yar Khan

3. What Makes a Good Life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness

Robert Waldinger, Psychiatrist and Zen Priest, is the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development. He has conducted one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history.

This presentation is one of the Top 20 Most Popular TED Talks of all time. I’ve watched it many times over the years because it’s a good reminder about the true meaning of happiness. What makes you truly happy in life?

What Makes a Good Life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness by Robert Waldinger

4. How to Make Stress Your Friend

Almost everyone will be able to relate to this inspirational talk about stress management. Kelly McGonigal is a Health Psychologist who translates academic research into practical strategies for health, happiness and personal success.

Do you think it’s possible to make stress your friend? You will after hearing Kelly’s answer to the problem of stress. And if you want more information after watching her presentation, you can read her book, “The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It.”

How to Make Stress Your Friend by Kelly McGonigal

Related Article: 23 Easy Ways to Help Rewire Your Anxious Brain


5. Looks Aren’t Everything. Believe me, I’m a Model

Watch Cameron Russell, a model since she was 16, transform right before your eyes on the TED stage. (Really!) In this fearless talk about her experiences as a young model in a career that sensationalizes appearance, she talks about marginalized voices.

You will learn that she is much more than a pretty face and surely be inspired by her story!

Looks Aren’t Everything. Believe me, I’m a Model by Cameron Russell

6. All It Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes

Andy Puddicombe is a mindfulness expert who wants to make meditation accessible to everybody: for a happier, healthier you. He makes a powerful argument for the importance of mindful meditation — and how it can change your life!

Andy suggests, “Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment.” Such a simple and refreshing concept that can lead to great personal growth!

All It Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes by Andy Puddicombe

Related Article: 12 Benefits of Mindfulness: Mind, Body, and Soul


7. The Hidden Power of Sad Songs and Rainy Days

Author Susan Cain has been writing and speaking about creativity, connection and love since 2012. She says, “people play happy songs on their playlists about 175, on average, but they play the sad songs 800 times.” She explains how people use sad songs, gloomy days, and heartache to bring them closer to the beauty of life.

Susan is accompanied by the splendid sounds of violinist Min Kym during this presentation.

The Hidden Power of Sad Songs and Rainy Days by Susan Cain and Min Kym

Related Article: 34 BEST Songs that Empower Women


8. My Year of Saying YES to Everything

Shonda Rhimes is highly influential and inspirational on any TED Talk stage. This presentation is a bit over 18 minutes, but you will be enthralled to hear her tell her story. It will help motivate and inspire you to say YES to less work and more play in life — because your life will go on and you will be happier.

This is one of my very favorite personal growth TED Talks that I watch often because of the powerful message Shonda delivers about growing through life and finding balance.

Shonda is a screenwriter, producer, and one of the most powerful icons in Hollywood today. Some of the shows she has created are Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19, How to Get Away with Murder, and Bridgerton.

My Year of Saying YES to Everything by Shonda Rhimes

9. In Praise of Slowness

Journalist Carl Honoré believes the world’s emphasis on speed erodes our health, productivity and quality of life. He speaks about slowing down and making changes in our lives so we can find our peace.

This is a slightly longer presentation (19 minutes) but it’s well worth the extra few minutes — especially when you hear him talk about speed reading The Cat in the Hat to his son. He develops great wisdom about time and slow living from his speed reading experiences.

This presentation has become one of my very favorite personal growth TED Talks because it’s something I am trying to do in my life.

In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore

Related Post: Slow Living Movement: The 7 Principles of this Popular Lifestyle


10. The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong

Amy Morin is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist. Her presentation about destructive beliefs is authentic and relatable.

Amy opens her presentation with a discussion about Facebook friends who always look like their lives are perfect. We can all relate to this, right? Then she shares her personal story about learning to become mentally strong and why it’s important.

Amy explains how three destructive beliefs interfere with the energy you will need to do more important things in life.

What bad mental habits are holding you back?

The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong by Amy Morin

11. Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are

Amy Cuddy, social psychologist, talks about how your body language influences other people’s perceptions of you. But it can also influence the way you see yourself.

Simply by changing the way you carry yourself and present yourself to the world, you can even start thinking differently about yourself and what you are capable of doing in life.

Amy talks about how to stand with a posture of confidence (even if you are not feeling confident in the moment) because this will automatically boost feelings of confidence. In other words, by changing your body language, you may be able to change your success and happiness in life.

Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are by Amy Cuddy

12. Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling

Emilie Wapnick celebrates the “multipotentialite.” Admittedly, this is me! In her humorous and thought-provoking style, she explains that the multipotentialite has many interests, many jobs over a lifetime, and potential in many arenas.

Emilie also shares how you can become very conflicted and stressed about your multipotentialite personality in a world that doesn’t traditionally recognize your super powers as a multipotentialite. Enjoy the wisdom of this writer and community builder.

Emilie begins her presentation with a discussion about the question: What do you want to be when you grow up? If you are like me, and still don’t know the answer to this question, you may want to read her book, How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up.

Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling by Emilie Wapnick

Final Thoughts: Personal Growth TED Talks

These captivating conversations certainly include incredible ideas worth spreading, wouldn’t you agree? Over time, I’ve curated this collection of the best TED Talks for personal growth to share with you — because I’m on a journey of personal growth, too!

Many of the videos in this collection of personal growth TED Talks are more current than other collections of similar content so I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

I suggest you save this article for future reference since personal growth is an ongoing process. You will likely want to return to it to review great ideas for self improvement.

Love to ALL! ~ Susan

Which Are Your Favorite Personal Growth TED Talks?

Share your thoughts in the comments:)

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