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I love TED Talks. Their slogan, “ideas worth spreading” really rings true after you click around their site for a while. Sure, the talks are about 15-20 minutes in length, but they’re worth watching. The three talks that I have listed below are ones that I keep on hearing in my head. They challenge me to question my routine, and force me to find solid reasons for something as typical as going to school. I urge you to click that “play” button and listen.

Larry Smith: Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career

He made me angry at first. There’s no possible way that I am already doomed to have a terrible career, hate my life, and be sad until I die. I listened anyway. He makes a powerful distinction between good careers (which, as he explains, are dying out) and great careers. Then, as the title promises, he explains why you will fail to have a great career.

In this somewhat scattered talk, Larry Smith challenges us to question what we are working so damn hard for in school. How are we so sure that our hard work will pay off? What kind of career are we hoping to build at the end of our studies? And most importantly, why don’t we pursue our passion when we’re lucky enough to find one?

Meg Jay: Why 30 is Not the New 20

We hear it all the time – 30 is the new 20. People are starting their careers later, delaying marriage, and starting a family in their thirties. So somehow, the conclusion has been drawn that our 20s are a throwaway decade. We’re supposed to have fun and relax; not take life too seriously. After all, we’re still young.

In this relatively new TED talk, Meg Jay points out that science tells us otherwise. She recognizes that this process of delaying our lives for an entire (important) decade in favor of having fun and being careless is actually harmful in the future. What happens when we hit 30 and we can’t just hang out anymore?

Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

This has been the most-watched TED Talk for as long as I can remember. That’s what made me watch it at first, and then I realized why people love it so much. Isn’t it a scary thought – that schools are squashing creativity? Especially in today’s world of work where creativity is praised and cherished?

In this humorous talk, Sir Ken Robinson asks us to question if our academic hierarchy is really the best one. Why do we associate intelligence with math and science, but not the performing arts? Are university professors really the hallmark of achievement?

Comment below with your favorite TED Talk!

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Image courtesy of urban_data via Flick (CC BY-SA 2.0).