4 TED Talks That Will Make You Act Now

All good TED Talks leave you inspired that there’s hope for a better future. You feel part of a global community of people who really do care about each other and the world. But it seems that the most inspiring talks involve big ideas and their messages often feel beyond your own personal grasp. Here’s a roundup of four talks that are inspiring yet manageable enough to create small changes in your own life.

Graham Hill: Less stuff, more happiness

Feeling stressed and overwhelmed by everything in your life? It turns out your overflowing closet and garage full of Chinese-made lawn toys might be the problem. Graham Hill is a huge proponent of editing down your life. Contrary to Walmart ads, having more stuff actually decreases your happiness. Hill lives in a 420 square foot apartment and only owns a handful of possessions. His talk will inspire you to clean out your garage, send your old t- shirts to Goodwill and spend more time enjoying your simpler life.

 

Joe Smith: How to Use a Paper Towel

Millions of crumpled paper towels fill bathroom trashcans, devoid of purpose and never used to their full potential. Joe Smith is out to stop this. A fierce advocate for responsible paper towel use, he says his unique shake and fold technique will save roughly 571 million pounds of paper every year. This sequoia-sized number may not be scientifically supported but watching this video will ensure that you never waste a paper towel again.

 

Ron Finley: A Guerilla Gardener from South Central LA

South Central LA has long been defined by its fast food joints and vacant lots, but for the past few years Ron Finley has worked to fill cracks in the sidewalks with Swiss chard and plum trees. What started out of a desire for an apple that wasn’t filled with toxic chemicals has blossomed into a global movement towards urban gardening. His organized groups of shovel wielding volunteers turn metropolitan areas into miniature Eden’s. His talk demonstrates both gardening’s hipness and the powerful ability of fresh food to cure urban squalor.

 

Andy Puddicombe: All it takes is 10 mindful minutes

 

When was the last time you did nothing? Actually nothing. No texting or emailing or even thinking about what’s for dinner. For most people, the answer is never. Andy Puddicombe is considered the “international poster boy for the modern mindfulness movement.” He spent years living as a monk and developed the ability to keep his mind undistracted. This talk won’t make you a yogi, but it does act as a reminder that our own behaviors matter as much as our surroundings.

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