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9 TED Talks That High-Achievers Should Watch

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Ask yourself this, would you wake up at 4am every morning and do a 2-hour workout three times a day for 20 years? Or bike ride for 40 miles before the sun came up? Kobe Bryant would.

A few words come to mind when discussing how high-achievers get to where they want to be. Determination, drive and persistence. To break those down:

1. Determination: the quality of being determined; firmness of purpose
2. Drive: an innate, biologically determined urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need
3. Persistence: the fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action despite difficulty or opposition.

According to the author and activist Bangambiki Habyarimana, “Success in life is not for those who run fast, but for those who keep running and are always on the move.” 

The high-achievers of society will always push for more and will seek a higher euphoric experience – be it with a hobby, lifestyle or career choice. It is important to them to obtain the best version of themselves and achieve the ultimate goal that has been set out for them; by them. 

 So what makes you a high achiever? According to Ruth Gotian, author of The Success Factor: Developing the Mindset and Skillset for Peak Business Performance, “high achievers share the same four attributes: an intrinsic motivation, perseverance, a strong foundation, and constantly being open to learning, especially through informal means.”

Throughout her work, Gotain has interviewed many high achievers, from Olympians to astronauts, who all applaud the notion that practice makes perfect. 

“Ask an NBA star. Kobe Bryant was notorious for practicing his lay-ups and his free throws before sunrise. That’s what you have to do. He doesn’t say, ‘Oh, I’ve played for so long, I don’t need to practice anymore.’ Any musician, the first thing they do is they practice their skills, they do their warmup. And it’s the same thing in every single field.”

Building that solid foundation is imperative when wanting to succeed. You will constantly work towards something unachievable if your foundation is weak or cracked. Take a house, for example; if your foundation is damp or cracked when you build, the infrastructure will forever be fragmented. The walls may become damp, and the house may be lopsided – foundation issues will affect everything from the bottom to the top. This metaphor is the same for people. If our foundation is cracked, we will become the equivalent of damp and lopsided. 

After spending some time online researching top achievers, I decided to make a one-stop shop wiki or my top 10 TED talks I recommend everyone to watch if they want to get into the mindset of a high achiever. I have also added three extras as a bonus!

9 TED Talks That High-Achievers Should Watch

How great leaders inspire action by Simon Sinek [17 minutes]

The power of vulnerability by Brené Brown [20 minutes]

Inside the mind of a master procrastinator by Tim Urban [14 minutes]

How to speak so that people want to listen by  Julian Treasure [10 minutes]

The puzzle of motivation – by Dan Pink [18 minutes]

The happy secret to better work by Shawn Achor [12 minutes]

Grit: The power of passion and perseverance by Angela Lee Duckworth [6 minutes]

Your elusive creative genius by Elizabeth Gilbert [19 minutes] 

The surprising science of happiness by Dan Gilbert [21 minutes]

10 ways to have a better conversation by Celeste Headlee [11 minutes]


How to make stress your friend by Kelly McGonigal [14 minutes]

Everyday leadership by Drew Dudley [6 minutes]

What adults can learn from kids by Adora Svitak [8 minutes]

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9 TED Talks That High-Achievers Should Watch - Just Jaz

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