May 31, 2012

Top 8 TED talks to inspire the recovery journey

Have you heard of “Ideas Worth Spreading”? That’s what TED conferences do — they spread ideas. Starting in 1984 and standing for Technology, Entertainment and Design, every year conferences around the world gather people from each scope to share ideas and make them readily available to the World Wide Web.

Here at, we’ve compiled the top 8 TED talks that carry a theme or message that can inspire, motivate, move, enlighten and relate to those in the recovery community.

1.       Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability

Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research called Wholeheartedness, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

“We are the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history. … You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”

2.       Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days

Is there something you've always meant to do, wanted to do, but just … haven't? Matt Cutts, a Google engineer, suggests: Try it for 30 days. This short, lighthearted talk offers a neat way to think about setting and achieving goals.

“The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not, so why not think about something you have always wanted to try and give it a shot for the next 30 days?”

3.       Helen Fisher studies the brain in love

What do love addiction and drug addiction have in common? Why do we crave love so much, even to the point that we would die for it? To learn more about our very real, very physical need for romantic love, Helen Fisher, an anthropologist who studies the evolution of human emotions, and her research team took MRIs of people in love – and people who had just been dumped.

“Romantic love is an addiction: a perfectly wonderful addiction when it’s going well, and a perfectly horrible addiction when it’s going poorly.”

4.       Richard St. John: “Success is a continuous journey”

Richard St. John reminds us that success is not a one-way street, but a constant journey. He uses the story of his business' rise and fall to illustrate a valuable lesson — when we stop trying, we fail. When you work hard, you see results; this is also true of recovery.

“You gotta persist through failure. You gotta persist through crap! Which of course means ‘Criticism, Rejection, Assholes and Pressure.’”

5.       Viktor Frankl: Why to believe in others

In this rare 1972 clip, from TED’s “Best of the Web” section, legendary psychiatrist and Holocaust-survivor Viktor Frankl delivers a powerful message about the human search for meaning – and the most important gift we can give others.

“Challenging the meaning of life is the truest expression of the state of being human.”

6.       Martin Seligman on positive psychology

Martin Seligman is the founder of positive psychology, a field of study that examines healthy states, such as happiness, strength of character and optimism. Here, Seligman talks about psychology — as a field of study and as it works one-on-one with each patient and each practitioner. As it moves beyond a focus on disease, what can modern psychology help us to become?

“[Psychology] should be just as concerned with building strength as with repairing damage.”

7.       Tony Robbins asks why we do what we do

Tony Robbins discusses the “invisible forces” that motivate everyone's and questions how to make life fulfilling. He makes it his business to know why we do the things we do. The pioneering life coach has spoken to millions of people through his best-selling books and three-day seminars.

“Connection and love: … We all want it. Most people settle for connection because love’s too scary.”

8.       Brené Brown: Listening to shame

Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.

“Vulnerability is not weakness. And that myth is profoundly dangerous.”

For more with Brene Brown:

I Thought It Was Just Me But It Isn't

I Thought It Was Just Me But It Isn't

Softcover, 336 pp.

In this groundbreaking book, I thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't), Dr. Brené Brown helps us take shame that permeates our lives and reclaim the gifts of imperfection: The courage to be real, the compassion to love ourselves and others, and the connection that gives true purpose and meaning in life.

Online Price: $16.00 Each

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