One primary concern I had following graduating college was this: how will I continue to learn and expand my knowledge without going to class, listening to lectures and writing papers? I knew I wasn’t going to graduate school, but instead heading straight into the workforce. So how would I be able to learn anything new outside of my career without education there to help? One of the most convenient ways to make sure your knowledge doesn’t become stagnant is to watch TED Talks! And we have 8 TED Talks we think all women should watch in their 20's.
They range from seven to eighteen minutes, each one on topics from exploring underwater caves to stories of human trafficking and everything in between. TED Talks are a perfect source of entertainment and education for millennials with a few minutes of spare time a day to learn something new, hear an inspirational story or laugh till you cry. Here is a list of eight must-see TED talks every woman should watch in her 20's.
1. “Why 30 is not the new 20” by Meg Jay
“Claiming your 20's is one of the simplest, yet most transformative, things you can do for work, for your happiness; maybe even for the world.”
The first on the list of TED Talks every woman should watch in her 20's is by Meg Jay. She provides a bold and empowering message in this talk that all twentysomethings need to hear.
Despite what society may say about your 30’s being the point in your life where you start to settle into your career, get married and have children; Meg begs to differ. Rather than cruise through your 20’s on autopilot and then take hold of the wheel when you blow out 30 candles, Meg suggests that we should take advantage of these formative years that have such a giant impact on the rest of our lives.
She offers three valuable pieces of advice to make the most of our 20’s. Get some identity capital; AKA does something that adds value to who you are. Whether that be volunteering or taking that fantastic cross-country job. Second, utilize your weak ties, which are our friends of friends of friends. Most of the time the new person you date or the job opportunity you pursue comes from outside your inner circle.
Lastly, pick your family. Meg makes a powerful statement when she says, “Picking your family is about consciously choosing who and what you want rather than just making it work or killing time with whoever happens to be choosing you.” Check out Meg's book the defining decade below.
2. “Why we have too few women leaders” by Sheryl Sandberg
“I think a world where half of our countries and our companies were run by women, would be a better world.”
In her first TED Talk appearance, Sheryl Sandberg made the bold decision to talk about her experience as one of the few women at the C-level of business. And it is definitely a TED talk every woman in her 20's should watch. She points out that while women have come a long way regarding career choices, rights, and equality; we still have a long way to go. The statistics for women in leadership positions globally is saddening. It is a must on our list of TED Talks every woman should watch in her 20's.
The primary way Sheryl suggests fixing this problem? Making sure women stay in the workforce. And also so that they don’t drop out before they have the opportunity to make it to the top tier of corporations. The three messages she emphasizes during her talk are to sit at the table, make your partner a real partner and don’t leave before you leave. If you love this talk as much as I did, you can also check out Sheryl’s other talks or read her book, Lean In.
3. “How to find work you love” by Scott Dinsmore
“The first part of this three-step passionate work framework is becoming a self-expert and understanding yourself. Because if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’re never going to find it.”
While Scott, is the only guy on our list of TED talks every woman should watch in her 20's, his message is for everyone. Do you ever feel unhappy in your current job? Scott Dinsmore was in a similar situation but rather than sticking with a job that made him miserable, he quit and dedicated the next four years on discovering how to find work that was personally fulfilling and meaningful.
Don’t feel too alone if you are unsatisfied with your job. Did you know that 80% of people don’t enjoy their work according to research conducted by Deloitte? Scott emphasizes that you don’t have to strive to change the world like Gandhi or Steve Jobs. But instead just do something that matters to you and makes the impact that only you are capable of producing.
4. “How to stop screwing yourself over” by Mel Robbins
“If you have one of those impulses that are pulling you; if you don’t marry it with an action within 5 seconds, you pull the emergency break and kill the idea.”
I had never heard of Mel Robbins before watching this talk; however, I don’t believe I will soon forget her. Her brash and honest style of talking is refreshing and is kinda the kick in the butt we need sometimes. The entire talk is centered on the fact that a third of Americans feel dissatisfied with their lives right now. And Mel’s solution is being a little selfish. And digging deep to think about what you want and motivating yourself to get it.
If you ever think to yourself, “I’d love to get healthier” or “I would love to have a better relationship with my parents,” Mel might just be that extra push you need to get what you want. During her talk, she fills you in on the chances of you being born at the exact moment in time you were; which is one in four trillion! Why waste those incredible odds by not making our lives everything we want them to be? Check out Mel's book below.
5. “Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating” by Elizabeth Gilbert
“Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself.”
The brilliant mind behind the book Eat, Pray, Love strikes again with her vulnerable talk discussing success and failure and how to carry on regardless of the outcome. Elizabeth Gilbert explains that while Eat, Pray, Love was an incredible break in her otherwise underwhelming writing career. Because of this, she felt immense pressure for her next book because she knew it would be a disappointment in comparison. That is why this one made the list of TED talks every woman should watch in her 20's.
Due to her extreme passion and love for writing, however, Elizabeth pressed on and continued to create great books regardless of if they fail miserably or succeed beautifully. Writing is Elizabeth’s home, something that she loves more than she loves herself. The point she makes is we all have to find what our home is and always return to that place because it is the one thing you can devote all of your energy and passion toward and ultimately the outcome is inconsequential to your happiness. Check out Elizabeth's book below.
6. “One Life-Changing class you never took” by Alexa von Tobel
“Right now 84% of college graduates said that they need more help when it comes to personal finance but they’re not getting it.”
As much as we hate to admit it, money will be significant throughout our entire lives. Despite that fact, personal finance is rarely taught in high schools and colleges across the United States. Most of us will learn about money from our parents and loved ones. And we hope you learn something from this video because this is another one of our TED talks every woman should watch in her 20's.
Alexa von Tobel is the Founder of LearnVest. And she attributes this lack of education on finances during young people’s formative years is why many individuals develop harmful money habits that can have damaging implications for the rest of their lives. Alexa offers five critical financial principles that can benefit you and your money for years to come: live with a budget, prioritize debt repayment, build and maintain an emergency savings fund, negotiate your salary and start saving for retirement now. Check out Alexa's book below.
7. “Listening to Shame” by Brene’ Brown
“Vulnerability is not weakness. I define vulnerability as emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty. It fuels our daily lives. And I’ve come to the belief—this is my 12th year doing this research—that vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage—to be vulnerable, to let ourselves be seen, to be honest.”
Being vulnerable can be a terrifying thing. Brene’ Brown's first TED Talk on the power of vulnerability became a viral sensation. She says that “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” Brene’ brings up such a great point that explains why TED Talks are so popular and powerful. She identifies that TED is the failure conference.
Everyone that gets on stage to talk has failed in some form at some time. Despite how scary vulnerability is, great things can come from it. Shame will tell you that you aren’t good enough, to sit back down and be quiet. Brene’ says that our goal in life should be to dare greatly. One way to make sure that happens? Silence shame with empathy and watch those around you stand up, be vulnerable and dare greatly. Check out one of Brene's books below.
8. “Looks aren’t everything. Believe me; I’m a model” by Cameron Russell
“And if you ever are wondering, ‘If I have thinner thighs and shinier hair, will I be happier?’ You just need to meet a group of models, because they have the thinnest thighs, the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes; and they’re the most physically insecure women probably on the planet.”
The last video on our list of TED Talks every woman should watch in her 20's is by Cameron Russell. The first minute of this video will make you want to hear what Cameron has to say. She comes on stage wearing a tight-fitting, scoop neck black dress with 8-inch heels. She then changes into an ankle-length skirt, modest cardigan, and flats. Her point? She completely transformed what she looked like and thus what people thought of her in a matter of moments just based on her clothes.
She says, “image is powerful, but also, an image is superficial.” Cameron addresses both positive and negative experiences while modeling for the past ten years of her life. Appearances in society today are picked apart and judged in every way possible for both females and males. Cameron candidly acknowledges that she fits the mold for the “typical modern model.” But she is quick to admit it doesn’t always make her happy. And that the industry she benefits from only furthers unfair racial, gender and sexist stereotypes in our society.
All of these TED Talks have valuable lessons we can all learn from as we navigate through our 20’s. We welcome you to watch these 8 TED talks every woman should watch in her 20's. Next time you are tempted to click “play next episode” on Netflix or during your morning treadmill session, watch a TED Talk instead and I’m sure you’ll learn something new. Be sure to check out the other talks by some of the individuals above or explore the thousands of other TED Talks offered online.
Want more book recommendations from TED Talk speakers? Check out our list below:
What do you think of these TED Talks? Are there any other TED talks every woman should watch in her 20's? Let us know in the comments!