Many people have a passion to succeed but are still looking for their individual purpose, the thing that will give the highest meaning to their life and work.
If you are still looking, still curious, still seeking, TED has complied some great meaningful talks that can help you find your purpose.
Here are seven of the best.
1. Larry Smith: Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career
Passion is your greatest love. Passion is the thing that will help you create the highest expression of your talent.
In this funny and blunt talk, Larry Smith pulls no punches when he calls out the absurd excuses people invent when they fail to pursue their passions. A professor of economics at the University of Waterloo in Canada, Smith coaches his students to find careers that they will truly love.
2. Emilie Wapnick: Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling
Embrace your many passions. Follow your curiosity down those rabbit holes. Explore your intersections. Embracing our inner wiring leads to a happier, more authentic life. And perhaps more importantly–multipotentialites, the world needs us.
If you feel like you don’t want to commit to one thing for the rest of your life, there’s a place for you. Writer and artist Emilie Wapnick offers advice for the people she calls “multipotentialites”–those who end up pursuing multiple interests and jobs over the course of their lives.
3. Boniface Mwangi: The Day I Stood Up Alone
In spite of being arrested, beaten up, threatened, the moment I discovered my voice, that I could actually stand up for what I really believed in, I’m no longer afraid. I used to be called softy, but I’m no longer softy, because I discovered who I really am, as in, that’s what I want to do, and there’s such beauty in doing that. There’s nothing as powerful as that, knowing that I’m meant to do this, because you don’t get scared, you just continue living your life.
Faced with corruption in his native Kenya, photographer and activist Boniface Mwangi joined with friends in planning a public demonstration. But when the moment came, he found himself standing alone–with profound results. In Mwangi’s words, “There are two most powerful days in your life. The day you are born, and the day you discover why.”
Everything was impossible until somebody did it. You can either hang around the people who tell you it can’t be done and tell you you’re stupid for trying, or surround yourself with the people who inspire possibility.
Scott Dinsmore quit a misery-inducing job and dedicated himself to finding joy and meaning in his work. Eventually Dinsmore founded Live Your Legend, a career and connection platform to inspire people to find their passion. He shares insights from his path here.
5. Amy Purdy: Living Beyond Limits
It’s believing in those dreams and facing our fears head-on that allows us to live our lives beyond our limits. And although today is about innovation without borders, I have to say that in my life, innovation has only been possible because of my borders. I’ve learned that borders are where the actual ends, but also where the imagination and the story begins.
Amy Purdy became a professional snowboarder after losing both her legs to meningitis at age 19. The Dancing With the Stars competitor talks about turning obstacles into strengths–something she’s clearly had some experience with.
6. Candy Chang: Before I Die I Want to …
Two of the most valuable things we have are time and our relationships with other people. In our age of increasing distractions, it’s more important than ever to find ways to maintain perspective, and remember that life is brief and tender. Death is something that we’re often discouraged to talk about, or even think about, but I’ve realized that preparing for death is one of the most empowering things you can do. Thinking about death clarifies your life.
Candy Chang’s art prompts people to think about what’s inside them and bring it to light. Here she discusses a project that posed the question: “Before I die I want to ___.” What’s your answer?
7. David Brooks: Should You Live for Your Résumé or Your Eulogy?
Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by that final form of love, which is forgiveness.
New York Times columnist David Brooks discusses the balance between our two sides: the self that builds a résumé in search of success, and the self that seeks connection and community, the values that make for a great eulogy.
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.