20 TED Talks Every Wellness Entrepreneur Needs to Watch


Those of us in the health and wellness world are a pretty upbeat bunch. We love our jobs, our clients, and the flexibility we gain by teaching our classes online. We know that spending our time and energy helping people gain strength and stamina, heal from injuries, and lead more grounded lives is rewarding and life-changing work.

But it can also be exhausting, draining, challenging work. Sometimes we become so focused on helping others that we forget to practice self-care. Sometimes we feel unmotivated and stuck. Support, inspiration, and insight are all around us, but it can be tough to filter through them to find exactly what we need.

Which is why we’ve curated this list of essential TED Talks, and organized it by topic so you can watch what you need most! (Be sure to bookmark the rest for later.)

Best TED Talks for Productivity

When you do most of your work virtually, the line between “promoting” and “wasting three hours staging the perfect Instagram shot” can get blurry. Let these stellar talks help you hone your focus. 

Shawn Achor : The happy secret to better work

Many of us cling to the belief that we absolutely must work hard in order to be happy. Nights, weekends, the works. Shawn Achor—the CEO of Good Think Inc., who researches and teaches about positive psychology—is convinced we’ve got it backwards. In this fast-paced and marvelously amusing talk, Achor argues that happiness can inspire us to be more productive. 

Scott Belsky: Is it urgent, or is it important?

In an age when hundreds of distractions are at our fingertips, prioritization has become a constant challenge. We could easily spend all day just reacting to requests, unable to move the needle on our big, long-term goals. Scott Belsky, founder and CEO of online portfolio site Behance, discusses the need to distinguish between what’s urgent and what’s important.

 Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

“Wait But Why” blogger Tim Urban knows firsthand that procrastination doesn't make sense. Yet, like many of us, he can’t seem to shake the habit of waiting until the last minute to get stuff done. In this hilarious and energetic talk, Urban encourages us to think harder about what we're really procrastinating on, and why.

 Paolo Cardini : Forget multitasking, try monotasking

Can you remember the last time you gave a single task your entire attention? Minus documenting it for social media, chatting with someone about it on the phone, or texting a friend about it? Product designer Paolo Cardini questions the efficiency of our multitasking world and makes the case for focusing on one activity at at time.

Best TED Talks for Success

Success can be defined in a thousand ways. If you’re hard on yourself or hitting a wall in your business progress, reminding yourself of those alternate definitions can be incredibly encouraging and liberating! 

Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend

Stress is pretty darned close to being labelled Public Health Enemy Number One. Yet new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you are convinced it’s harming you. Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal trains us to see stress as a positive, and offers key tips for coping when our stress levels run high.

 Leah Busque: Have big, hairy, audacious goals and take baby steps

Busque shares five lessons she learned while building her crowd-sourced errand service, TaskRabbit, from the ground up. She delves into the importance of sharing your ideas liberally, methods for building a network of supporters, and (as the title implies) the importance of setting a B.H.A.G. (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal). 

Richard St. John: 8 Secrets of Success

Are all successful people smart? Are they just lucky? Both? Neither? Analyst and author Richard St. John—who spent more than a decade researching the lessons of success for his book 8 To Be Great—condenses his extensive work into an unmissable 3-minute slideshow on the real secrets of success. 

Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, failure and the drive to keep creating

International best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert was once an "unpublished diner waitress," devastated by endless rejection letters. And yet, even after Eat, Pray, Love gained critical acclaim and sold millions, she found herself identifying strongly with her pre-success self. In this talk, she reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers advice for how to carry on, regardless of outcomes.

Best TED Talks for Entrepreneurship and Business

For many of us, the business side of our businesses is the most challenging. These experts share insights and advice from their own wealth of experiences. 

Harish Manwani: Profit’s not always the point

The COO of global behemoth Unilever is an unlikely champion for looking beyond the balance sheet or the bottom line. But Harish Manwani makes a passionate argument for folding value, purpose, and sustainability into top-level decision-making. He believes this isn’t just savvy, it's the only way to run a modern business responsibly.

 Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!

Although this talk uses examples from the international aid community, it imparts lessons that can benefit for-profit endeavors. In it, sustainable economic development expert Ernesto Sirolli explains why before you can truly help, your essential first step is to listen to the people you're trying to support. His advice on what works will help any entrepreneur.

 Tina Roth Eisenberg: Don’t complain, create

Designer and serial entrepreneur Tina Roth Eisenberg has a rule. “If I keep complaining about something, I either do something about it or let it go,” she says. The group of projects that sprang from this philosophy use diverse business models to positively impact the lives of others. The creator of Creative Mornings, Tattly, and Studiomates, Eisenberg urges us all to judge our success by the happiness and personal growth of those around us. 

Seth Godin: How to get your ideas to spread

In a world packed with options and devoid of extra time, we tend to gloss over anything that doesn’t jump out as being truly extraordinary. Right away. And memorably. Our favorite marketing guru, Seth Godin, explains why, when it comes to grabbing our attention, bad or bizarre ideas can become more successful than good-but-boring ones.

Best TED Talks for Wellness

Need a reminder that the work you do changes lives? Or some tips on how to convey that concept to your potential clients? These talks can help you do both. 

Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days

It’s true, Cutts is a Google engineer, not a wellness practitioner. But his talk gets to the heart of forming healthy habits, and also offers guidance on setting and achieving goals. Both invaluable practices for yogis and coaches!

 Emily Balcetis: Why some people find exercise harder than others

This talk will be especially helpful if you have clients who resist sticking to routines or trying new regimens; It’s guaranteed to give you a dose of clarity and empathy. Social psychologist Emily Balcetis’ research addresses a key reason why some people struggle more than others to keep weight off. She illustrates how when it comes to fitness, some people quite literally see the world differently from others, then offers a surprisingly simple solution to overcome these differences.

 Dean Ornish: Healing through diet

As a clinical professor at UCSF and founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, Dean Ornish has access to high-tech techniques and equipment that can help and heal bodies. But in this talk, he outlines simple, low-tech, and low-cost ways to take advantage of the body's natural desire to heal itself. Potentially helpful for anyone who does food, weight loss, or Ayurvedic work.

 Chip Conley: Measuring what makes life worthwhile

A little less specific and technical than the other talks in this category, this one will be helpful if you or your clients are feeling like wellness is a luxury, not an essential component of a fulfilling life. Speaker Chip Conley is a hotelier who went in search of a business model based on happiness, and whose journey taught him that success is tethered to the things you choose to focus on.

Best TED Talks for Creativity

From describing our services articulately to unraveling tricky business conundrums, we need creativity every day of our working lives. Delve into these talks to supercharge your imagination and ingenuity. 

David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence

In so many settings, we seem to divide people two pools: "creatives" and practicals. This dichotomy has some benefits for the naturally imaginative, but convinces everyone that creativity is innate and cannot be learned. David Kelley, founder of legendary design firm IDEO, posits that creativity is not the domain of a chosen few, and offers methods for anyone to build the confidence to create. 

Julie Burstein: 4 lessons in creativity

As a radio host and author, Julie Burstein talks with artistic people for a living, so she’s heard about creative processes from some of the most prolific and innovative minds on earth. In this talk, she generously shares four lessons about how to create in the face of self-doubt, adversity, and loss.

 Adam Grant: The surprising habits of original thinkers

How are great ideas born? And just how do truly creative people come up with them? As an organizational psychologist, Adam Grant focuses his studies on innovators who conceive new ideas and put them out into the world. He’s found that this group typically exhibits three unexpected habits, including a willingness to embrace failure.

 Tim Harford: How frustration can make us more creative

We love TED Talks that turn negatives into positives! In this one, economist and journalist Tim Harford explores the advantages of having to work with a little mess. He maintains that challenges and problems have the potential to derail your creative process, but channeled in the right way they can make you more creative than ever.

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