From science to business to global issues. Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) Talks share ideas with people around the world. Part of iConnectEngineers™’ mission is to also share information from influential voices in engineering and other industries. TED Talks are an important driving force behind inspiring engineers to become thought leaders in their respective fields, reach their true potential and innovate.
Here are five of the best TED Talks to inspire engineers:
The happy secret to better work
Many people believe that hard work is necessary in order to be happy. Psychologist Shawn Achor argues that in actuality, it is happiness that inspires us to be more productive. Author of “The Happiness Advantage,” Achor also founded Good Think Inc. where he researches and teaches about positive psychology and the science of happiness.
“What we’re finding is that it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality,” said Achor. “If we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.”
During his TED Talk, “The happy secret to better work,” Achor talked about the benefits of being more positive. Your brain reportedly performs better; intelligence, creativity and energy levels rise; and every business outcome improves. “Your brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than when negative, neutral or stressed,” he said.
Through his research, Achor found that 75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support and the ability to see stress as a challenge instead of a threat.
Achor’s points can certainly be applied to engineering professionals across all disciplines. Remaining positive and grateful for meaningful and productive relationships is essential to increase creativity and efficiency both in our professional and personal lives.
Know your worth, and then ask for it
Pricing consultant Casey Brown often tells people they should be paid well for their excellence. “No one will ever pay you for what you are worth,” said Brown, president of the pricing consulting firm Boost. “They’ll only pay you what they think you’re worth.”
During her informational TED Talk, “Know your worth, and then ask for it,” Brown shared inspirational stories and learnings to help listeners reshape their thinking and find their own voice to speak up. “You control your thinking,” she reminded the audience at TEDxColumbusWomen.
“Defining and communicating your value are the two elements to realize your full earning potential,” said Brown.
For engineering professionals, it is all about value proposition. If the hiring company believes your value to be in multiples of your cost, you will have negotiating room as a result. Therefore, the higher your perceived value, the stronger your negotiating position.
Why we have too few women leaders
As Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg has been said to juggle the tasks of monetizing the largest social networking website in the world while keeping its users engaged and happy. In Sandberg’s TED Talk, “Why we have too few women leaders,” the activist and author spoke about the problem of women facing harder choices between professional success and personal fulfillment. “No one gets to the corner office by sitting on the side, not at the table,” said Sandberg. “No one gets the promotion if they don’t think they deserve their success or they don’t even understand their own success.”
After looking at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions, Sandberg shared three powerful pieces of advice to women aiming for the C-suite. Sandberg advised, “One, sit at the table. Two, make your partner a real partner. And three, don’t leave before you leave.”
According to the technology executive, data has shown that success and likeability, above all else, are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. “I think a world that was run where half of our countries and half of our companies were run by women, would be a better world,” she said.
What can be done to close the gender gap for women engineers in leadership positions? iConnectEngineers™ supports initiatives that actively creating programs to help women reach the top, removing the gender bias out of the promotion process and encouraging more young female leaders to actively consider bigger roles early on in their careers.
What does it mean to be a citizen of the world?
Humanitarian Hugh Evans created an online community consisting of millions of people all driven to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. During his TED Talk, “What does it mean to be a citizen of the world?” Evans shared his story of co-founding Global Citizen, which focuses on finding, supporting and activating global citizens.
“A global citizen is someone who identifies first and foremost not as a member of a state, a tribe or a nation, but as a member of the human race and someone who is prepared to act on that belief to tackle our world’s greatest challenges,” he said.
During his uplifting TED Talk, Evans explained how global citizens have a unique opportunity to accelerate large-scale positive change around the world.
iConnectEngineers™ also shares a similar vantage point that we can build a better world through engineering projects that empower communities to meet their basic human needs and equip leaders to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.
“I’m convinced that if we had more global citizens active in our world, then every single one of the major challenges we face—poverty, climate change, gender and equality—become solvable,” said Evans. “They are ultimately global issues and they can only be solved by global citizens demanding global solutions from their leaders.”
How great leaders inspire action
Best-selling author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant Simon Sinek explored how leaders can inspire cooperation, trust and change in his compelling TED Talk, “How great leaders inspire action.” Speaking to an audience at TEDxPuget Sound, Sinek talked about a discovery that profoundly changed how he viewed the world.
“All of the great and inspiring leaders in the world think, act and communicate the exact same way—opposite of everyone else,” said Sinek, who referred to this as the “golden circle.” Sinek is the author of four books, including the 2009 bestseller “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.”
He said all organizations know what they do and some know how they do it; however, few know why they do it. Sinek stressed the importance of being driven by a cause—a belief. The goal: to hire people who believe in the same principles as your company. “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money but if you hire people who believe what you believe, they will work for you for blood and sweat and tears.”
Similarly, engineers need to take steps to understand their “why.” Since it’s the why behind things that drives engagement and employee performance to a greater degree than technical know-how.
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Stacey Phillips is a writer and editor at iConnectEngineers™. At iConnectEngineers™, we use engaging content, creative design, and smart campaigns to bridge the worlds of business, marketing and social innovation with a primary focus on the engineering and technology industries.