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5 TED Talks with Advice for Graduates

Believe it or not, graduate, but college may not have prepared you for everything you’ll encounter in the next 50+ years of your life. As your professional life revs up, listen to some advice for graduates from older and wiser professionals who know a thing or two about achieving goals, overcoming adversity, how your personality traits affect you, and success. Learn how to better navigate the adult world and balance your professional and personal goals with these 5 TED talks.

1. Derek Sivers: Keep your goals to yourself

Psychologists say you shouldn’t tell other people your goals. When we are congratulated for having an ambitious and awesome goal, we feel this happy sense of satisfaction for announcing the goal, making us less likely to work hard to achieve it. Recent graduates can’t miss Derek Sivers’ short but important advice on achieving your goals.

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2. Leila Hoteit: 3 lessons on success from an Arab businesswoman

If you think you’ve got a busy day, check out Ms. Hoteit’s schedule. In her talk, Arab businessperson and women’s advocate Leila Hoteit shares her secrets to being a successful professional and mother in Abu Dhabi. Her advice is geared towards recent graduates, rising professionals or established business leader looking to realize their potential. 

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Row of people in an audience listening to a talk from a professional.


3. Brian Little: Who are you, really? The puzzle of personality

Personality psychologist Brian Little will help you understand why you are the way you are by shedding light on important components of human personalities and their role in our lives. Little’s advice for graduates is based on the argument that having a solid understanding of how you interact with the world helps you achieve both your personal and professional goals. Learn about what it means to be an introvert or extrovert and how that affects how you move through the world.

Click here to watch the video!


Professional on stage gives career advice to recent graduates in a TED Talk format.


4. David Brooks: Should you live for your résumé … or your eulogy?

As you work to boost your professional life, don’t lose sight of the other side of you that matters. New York Times columnist David Brooks offers some advice on the struggle to have great professional success and also live a fulfilling, thoughtful, compassionate and loving life. Borrowing from the philosophical essay The Lonely Man of Faith, Brooks talks about the importance of confronting our inner selves in a society that tends to value the resume over the eulogy. Recent graduates will benefit greatly from his unique insight.

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5. Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success

Living in a success-crazed meritocracy puts an unbelievable amount of pressure on us to achieve professional success. In his talk, Alain de Botton offers a counter offer to the cut-throat, competitive idea of success and begs you to not let societal ideals shape how you define success. According to de Botton, you shouldn’t be crushed by unattainable ideas of what you can achieve. There isn’t one definition of success, so you should live your life based on your unique definition of the concept.

Click here to watch the video!


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First photo based on IMG_0114, by Charlie Nguyen, CC-by-2.0

Second photo based on Ted Talks, by Phase2, CC-by-2.0

Third photo based on TED Talk, by urban_data, CC-by-SA 2.0

Photos and blog by Maeve Allsup

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!

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