TED Talks: Confidence Boost

4th May 2017

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Confidence can go a long way in the office. It can be the difference between a good day and a bad day. It can make the difference between good work and bad work. It can make the difference between a good manager and a bad manager. No matter how confident you are day in day out, everyone could use a confidence boost once in awhile.

To help you boost your confidence, here are four TED Talks by the most motivational, inspiring and—yes—confidence-boosting of speakers.

1. Boniface Mwangi – The day I stood up alone

Boniface Mwangi is a renowned political activist in Kenya, known as the voice of a generation. But it wasn’t always that way: He lived most of his life as what he calls a “smart coward”. By this he means he did what he could to get by under Kenya’s violent and oppressive regime without challenging injustice.

Then, one day, he stood up at a rally and heckled the President. He was brutally beaten for what he did, but he now realised that he had to stand up for what he believed in — that, he felt, was his mission on earth.

Though you are unlikely to be facing as brutal a regime at work, Boniface Mwangi’s confidence in the face of adversity is enough to inspire anyone to be just that little bit more confident in whatever they are doing.

Standout quote: “There are two most powerful days in your life: the day you’re born, and the day you discover why.”

2. Janet McGonigal – The game that can give you 10 extra years of life

Game developer Janet McGonigal’s talk is genuinely about lengthening your lifespan. She’s read research that suggests doing things that make you happy for one hour can increase your lifespan by seven and a half minutes. Conveniently for her, it helps to think of your life like a videogame, “powering up” your happiness levels.

The key takeaway for those seeking confidence, though, is that playing video games in itself can actually boost your confidence. So perhaps all you need to do to increase your confidence and live longer is play video games more often than you already are.

Standout quote: “Playing a game with an idealised avatar changes how we think and act in real life, making us more courageous, more ambitious, more committed to our goals.”

3. Joe Kowan – How I beat stage fright

Overcoming stage fright is one of the ultimate displays of confidence. Joe Kowan has stage fright. But if you watch this TED Talk, you will see that he is very much on stage, and doesn’t appear too frightened. So how does he do it?

When Kowan was 27, he started writing songs. He was far too scared to perform them in front of anyone, but he really wanted to. Kowan eventually overcame his fears by turning stage fright to his advantage.

In this laugh-out-loud talk, Kowan embraces his vulnerability — even going as far as to admit how nervous he is to be standing giving a TED Talk — and shows you how you can do the same to, perhaps counterintuitively, become more confident.

Standout quote: “By thinking about my audience, by embracing and exploiting my problem, I was able to take something that was blocking my progress, and turn it into something that was essential for my success.”

4. David Kelley – How to build your creative confidence

Legendary designer David Kelley believes more people would pursue creative work if they just had the confidence to do it. He talks about a process he developed with the world’s fourth best psychologist that takes people who don’t see themselves as creative and teaches them to see themselves in a different way.

Because this is possible, Kelley believes that everyone should be more confident in their ability to be creative. His talk might just convince you to live a more creative life.

Standout quote: “People from all different kinds of disciplines, they think of themselves as only analytical. And they come in and they go through the process, our process, they build confidence and now they think of themselves differently. And they’re totally emotionally excited about the fact that they walk around thinking of themselves as a creative person.”