5 Inspiring TED Talks for Entrepreneurs

When it’s hard to keep the faith, let these help you out.

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BY Melanie Curtin - 01 Mar 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Entrepreneurship is hard. There's no getting around it.

But it's also worth it. It can be a way of getting wealthy, yes, but it's also a way of expressing what you're really about -- the best of who you are.

These five TED talks are 20-minute shots of inspiration. While they're bite-sized, they can have an outsized effect on your performance, because an inspired entrepreneur is an entrepreneur on fire:


1. Why We Do What We Do by Tony Robbins

If you're not clear on your WHY, you'll never make it through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship: the sudden changes in fortune, the endless emails, and the out-of-nowhere, soul-piercing rejection.

When you are clear on your why, you can weather anything. Your why grounds you in something greater than your small self, something no one can take away from you.

Here, Tony Robbins outlines the why behind all our choices, motivations, and decisions, so you don't just have a mission -- you're on a mission.


2. Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is a particularly important talk if you're burning out or are on the verge of burnout.

Part of the stress and strain of entrepreneurship comes with the pressure of constant creation. But what if the source of that creativity wasn't all on your shoulders? What if it came from a different, greater source -- one that never tired, never slouched, dejected at the keyboard, never got discouraged by the latest A/B test or Facebook ad failure?

Elizabeth Gilbert offers an entertaining yet strikingly profound take on what it takes to be a creative, and how to make the process feel easier ... with maybe even a little bit of grace.


3. The Single Biggest Reason Why Startups Succeed by Bill Gross

When it comes to learning from those more experienced, it's hard to top Bill Gross. He has deep experience in the world of startups as well as established companies, and has made it his business to measure and evaluate why certain ones succeed when others fail.

In this practical yet utterly fascinating talk, he shows how he measured different startups on several criteria: idea strength, launch timing, team, access to capital, and overall business model. The result? One factor leads success more than any other, and it's timing. You're going to want to see this.


4. How to Manage for Collective Creativity by Linda Hill

Once you've got your idea and team together (even if it's small), you're going to need to know how to motivate and inspire the very best in your crew.

This talk is a must-watch for entrepreneurs who want to actualize the potential of their top teams. Hill looks at the foundational elements of greatness, and outlines a set of simple tools and ways entrepreneurs can generate new great ideas from the whole group (not just certain vocal individuals).

Creative thinking is the basis of solid growth and success -- learn how to facilitate and encourage it.


5. Creative Problem-Solving in the Face of Extreme Limits by Navi Radjou

True to its title, this talk is all about how to make something extraordinary out of very little (or nothing, in some cases). It's a good one if you're running short on runway, or don't know how you're going to do this while keeping your day job.

Radjou outlines the challenges and unexpected advantages of extreme limitation when it comes to problem-solving. He convincingly shows that in fact, it is sometimes when resources are most constrained that the greatest and most profound innovations can take root.


Don't have time to watch the talks? Remember that you can download any talk as an audio file so you can listen in the car or on the train.

"Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence." - Abigail Adams