8 motivational and life-changing tips inspired by TED Talks

Consider this valuable daily rou­tine: waking up before 7 a.m., making yourself some coffee and watching the TED Talk of your choosing. By beginning a routine such as this, you have the opportunity to learn new interesting and thought-provoking things from the countless TED Talks floating around the internet.

These short 20 minute talks are chock full of valuable information and tips. Listening to these motivational talks can give you the boost of motiva­tion and inspiration that you may desperately need to get your day started. The TED Talk speakers are always full of energy and passion, and their attitudes and positivity are high­ly contagious.

With that being said, check out our top eight tips inspired by TED Talks that are sure to be motivational in your everyday life:

WATCH A TED TALK EVERY MORNING ON A TOPIC REGARDING COMMUNICATION

Communication is a valuable life skill. Every day you communicate with at least one person — a parent, friend, significant other, acquain­tance — and the best thing you can do for yourself is to figure out the most efficient and effective way to communicate with them. If you take a look at any job application, effective communication is always one of the top criteria. It’s an asset that will help improve both your personal and work life. You’ll also work in different teams with a variety of individuals that require adapting to different styles of communication. Make sure people who walk away from a con­versation with you feel heard and understood. Practicing effective com­munication will make you more con­fident — and confidence is the key to succeeding.

START JOURNALING

Write down everything: thoughts, schedule, and daily tasks. You may not fully process what you’re thinking until you actually write it down. How many of your great ideas have become a lost train of thought because you didn’t write it down? Probably a lot. Take it from British author and TED Talker Ken Robinson, who says that “creativity is as important as literacy.” It’s easier to keep organized by using a journal — like they say, clarity breeds mastery. Don’t know where to start? Write down your daily schedule and plan out your days in advance. Don’t just wake up and tackle your day aim­lessly. Manage your time effectively to complete all the tasks you need to. If you tend to procrastinate, you can plan that in as well.

SEND OUT AT LEAST ONE COLD EMAIL A WEEK

Find a CEO of a company or some­one that you admire and send them a cold email — a form of contact with a previously unknown person, similar to cold calls. You can likely find their email address online on their website or LinkedIn. Simply ask them for ad­vice on what to do after college, how to get your foot into an industry or to hear their success story. While this may be nerve-racking for some stu­dents, Korean author and TED Talker Hyeonseo Lee says, “if you encounter an obstacle on the road, don’t think of it as an obstacle at all … think of it as a challenge to find a new path on the road less traveled.” Make sure to send this from your UW email because that “.edu” email gives you an advan­tage. People often empathize with col­lege students because they were once a struggling college student as well. Start your email off with a simple greeting such as, “Hi, my name is ___ and I am a college student at the Uni­versity of Washington,” then ask them how they started their company or got into the industry. It’s also totally OK and nothing personal if you don’t get a response back — find someone else and try again.

BEFRIEND FIVE EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE YOU THINK WILL CHANGE THE WORLD

On a college campus like UW Ta­coma, we are surrounded by indi­viduals of all kinds: future business leaders, politicians, social activists, film directors, journalists. Find at least five people you think will become suc­cessful and get to know them. Sherry Turkle, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and TED Talker, says that “human relationships are rich,” but we currently “sacrifice conversation for mere connection.” Instead of being glued to your phone like other generations expect, work on building relationships while you’re in college and stay connected with them on social media even after you graduate to create a strong — and mutually beneficial — network.

FIND A PROFESSOR WHOM YOU RESPECT AND CAN GO TO FOR ADVICE

It’s nice to have a knowledgeable mentor who can guide you through the hardships of college and graduation. College professors make fantastic men­tors as they have been through similar experiences as you. They also have ample connections and may be able to refer you to someone for your first post college job or assist you on your re­sume. Deepen your relationships with your professors by attending their office hours and asking questions.

START SOMETHING YOU CAN CALL YOURS

You’re in college — take the op­portunity to start something, wheth­er it be a blog, club, movement or website. When you apply for a future job, you don’t want to only have that part-time barista position on your resume, you need as much experience as possible. Employers will be im­pressed if they see you were passion­ate and dedicated enough to start a club or blog during your college years. You will also learn valuable and re­sume worthy skills along the way, like project management and execution. Daniel Dennett, American philoso­pher and TED Talker, says that the secret to happiness is finding some­thing “more important than you are and dedicat[ing] your life to it.” If you aren’t able to create something, join a school club — or better yet, get onto the board of officers. Are there no positions open? Easy, just establish one! Email the president of the club about creating a position they don’t currently have and they may be sur­prisingly open to the idea.

WAKE UP AT 5:30 A.M. EVERY DAY

It may sound awful to get up be­fore the sun, but this technique will most likely change your life, and there are more pros than cons — cons be­ing you have to get up early and adjust your sleep schedule. By waking up early, you get an extra time boost that everyone else is missing out on by sleeping in. By beginning your day a couple hours earlier, you also free up time before your daily obligations like work and class to catch up on homework or projects without any distractions. You can also utilize this time to go to the gym or make a healthy breakfast. To reap the most benefits, don’t check your phone un­til the 8 a.m. mark; give yourself time to focus on yourself uninterrupted. For further motivation, check out American author Dan Pink’s TED Talk “The Puzzle of Motivation” to learn how to more effectively moti­vate yourself and others.

USE LEADERSHIP LANGUAGE

Don’t carry around a “victim vo­cabulary,” full of phrases like “I can’t” and “I won’t” — it can be toxic. Choose your words carefully, they can be ei­ther empowering or self-sabotaging. Martin Luther King Jr. is a prime ex­ample of using empowering language; he was able to encourage and inspire a whole movement using words. Tell yourself that you are excited, you are amazing and you will have a good day. Every day, turn your complaints into compliments. It actually works be­cause your brain goes from a negative perspective to a more positive one, where you instead focus on all the good things that occurred. Plus, telling yourself you’re happy and excited trig­gers a mechanism inside your brain that releases a bit of the neurotrans­mitter serotonin, which is associated with happiness. Make sure to also practice the tone of your voice, as dif­ferent tones illicit different qualities and emotions. For example, people tend to vote for politicians who have a deeper voice because they associate a deep voice with depth and power. Notice how all of our past presidents have been male?

COURTESY OF TEDX