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The TED Talk Rollercoaster

A good TED Talk is an emotional rollercoaster. The highs include feeling that you can take on the world, feeling good about humanity and feeling like yeah, sure, you could do a TED Talk one of these days.

And then there's the lows. You start doubting whether you'll achieve anything. Even more paralysing is the realisation that you have no idea what your own TED Talk would be about.

It’s okay – when they ask, you’ll know.

Here's 3 talks (and a bonus) on some of our favourite topics. Enjoy!

Unlock the intelligence, passion, greatness of girls

Who: Leymah Gbowee

Will you shed a tear? Perhaps. Out of pity? Absolutely not. Gbowee blends her personal experiences with a larger narrative that calls for the need to create spaces for girls to unlock their potential. Her talk was given in 2012, after she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism fighting for women’s rights. You’ll feel empowered by a global community of girls who fight for their dreams.

Quote: All they're asking us to do is create that space to unlock the intelligence, unlock the passion, unlock all of the great things that they hold within themselves.

Dare to educate Afghan girls

Who: Shabana Basij-Rasikh

Basij-Rasikh will leave you with a series of images to ponder. A small living room packed with 100 children studying in secret. Fathers willing to sell their blood so their daughters could attend school. Men are often positioned as oppressors in stories of female empowerment, but Basij-Rasikh speaks with pride about her family’s generation of men who fight for the education of Afghan girls.

Quote: What I’ve come to realise about Afghanistan, and this is something that is often dismissed in the West, that behind most of us who succeed is a father who recognises the value in his daughter and who sees that her success is his success.

The danger of a single story

Who: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ever read a book about a person, place or time and thought it was the definitive representation of that thing? It’s a dangerous habit that we’re all guilty of doing. Adichie sums it up perfectly: “I told him that I had just read a novel called "American Psycho" and that it was such a shame that young Americans were serial murderers.” Adichie’s stories will make you laugh and enlighten you in equal measure.

Quote: It is impossible to engage properly with a place or a person without engaging with all of the stories of that place and that person.

Bonus talk because we’re all feeling empowered now:

How to start a movement

Who: Derek Sivers

Being a follower is hugely underrated. Don’t believe it? Watch Sivers give a super quick, light-hearted take on how being a follower takes just as much courage as being the leader of a movement. If you’ve been watching the talks in the order they’re listed, this is the perfect conclusion. Join a movement you believe in.