Four TED Talks take four more steps to happiness

In this month’s Weekly Happiness Challenges, we are continuing to count down Jurgen Appelo’s 12 Ways to Happiness. Each week, we are zeroing in on a different, small way to do a whole lot of good, at your work, at your home, and for your life in general. Happiness is often found when you make small changes — that often seem really obvious, so much so that we often forget them — that result in big, positive changes.

In honor of February’s four themes — eating well, exercising, helping others and resting — and in honor of our stellar members that are leading us in these experimental weeks, we thought we’d offer you a TED Talk of inspiration — because we do love our TED Talks here — for each week. Hopefully their words can help lead you to more health and happiness at work.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Why lunch ladies are heroes


Perhaps nothing is more exciting than a children’s book. Except perhaps lunch. In fact, eating well at work sees its roots in eating well at school. In the U.S. alone, 30 million kids participate in school lunch programs every day, accumulating to more than a billion lunches served annually. That’s why Jarrett spotted lunch ladies as the heroes in our schools and in our hearts. In fact, I don’t think any of us have negative memories of the cafeteria staff now, do we?

This surprisingly emotional, extremely endearing TED Talk is just over five minutes long. It’s a pure joy. It doesn’t necessarily directly connect with the theme of eating well at work, but it truly gets to three essential points that are sure to lead us to happiness:

  • Feeding people is an opportunity to show you care.
  • Any job has the opportunity to create an impact on someone’s life forever.
  • A thank you can change two lives: the person who receives it and the person who expresses it.

Fill up on this!

Also read “Eating Well at Work” by member Sarah Baca.

Emily Balcetis: Why some people find exercise harder than others

What you see is what you get, right? Is it possible to see eye-to-eye? Emily’s TED Talk is an interesting one because it really gets into how we perceive things, especially how we literally see ambiguity in everything. And this is why those of us who are motivated to exercise, see it as less challenging to exercise — just as people who are motivated to do good work then find it easier to actually do it. Yes, how in shape someone is affected how motivated they were, but, in Emily’s research, motivation is more powerful than pounds.

What can we learn from this TED Talk about exercise and work?

  • It’s important to set manageable goals that can be accomplished in the near future.
  • It’s also important that we believe we are capable of meeting our goals before they are set.

Emily then uses vision science to offer us ways to combine what we see and what we concentrate on to help us to better achieve our goals, something that can be applied to any team management.

Also read “Nine Ways to Exercise for Happiness at Work or at Home” by member Marjan Venema.

Adam Grant: Are you a giver or a receiver?

Organizational psychologist Adam does a lot of research into paranoia in the workplace — who he calls the Takers. How do we know if we fall under the Taker or Giver column? Well, right now, are you thinking about what I can do for you or what you could do for me? Or maybe we’re a Matcher, living a life of quid pro quo.

You’d think this Ted Talk goes into the importance of being a Giver. But at work, that may be just what’s holding you back. This talk is more about how to help all Givers excel because, despite their importance to the success of an organization, they are often the ones left behind.

Adam delves into the following steps to lift those givers up:

  1. Protect givers from burnout.
  2. Pursue a culture where asking for help is the norm.
  3. Effective team-building is about wedding out the Takers.

Hopefully this talk will help you develop “pronoia.”

Also read “The Power of Helping Others” by member Tomas Kejzlar.

Arianna Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep

There’s nothing we procrastinate with more than sleep. Arianna as one of the most successful women in media has realized that “The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep.” Yes perhaps this isn’t the best thing to do at work  — unless you have a forward-thinking office that embraces the power of power naps — but it’s essential to success in everything we do.

This very short TED Talk reminds us that this competition of who had less sleep is just making us literally dumber. Instead, get more sleep in order to bring more joy, gratitude and effectiveness into our lives.

Also read “Rest to Be More Productive and Happy” by member Nikoletta Tatár.

What TED Talks inspire you toward happiness? What TED has inspired you to take those steps? Tell us below!Blog Footer

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This article is written by Jennifer Riggins on February 23rd 2017.

You can connect with Jennifer Riggins in Google+.