Have five minutes to kill? What better way to spend that time than to watch an fascinating or informative TED Talks video. There’s a lot of great content available to watch on TED but sometimes you have just a few minutes – and rather than waste that time playing a game or checking your email for the 20th time in two minutes, watch a TED video instead.
We’ve put together a list of eight videos. Just bookmark this post on your phone and you’ll have a short playlist ready to come back to every time that you need a quick distraction, a moment of inspiration or simply want to take a short break from your work.
If you have more than 5 minutes on your hands, be sure to check out our other recommended TED videos – we’ve got something in there for everyone: 4 must-see talks on creativity, inspiration and passion, 5 fascinating TED talks that explore the edge of technology and 6 mind-blowing TED talks about psychology and human behaviour.
Counselor and life coach Laura Trice talks about the importance of two very simple little words – “Thank you.” Too often, people don’t feel that they can’t ask for praise, and won’t ask for a ‘thank you.’ In under 5 minutes, she manages to explain why we resist asking the people around us to thank us, to praise us, and why it’s so important that we have to be honest about the praise that we need to hear, and important to ask the people around us – what they want to hear.
The Best Gift I Ever Survived
In under 4 minutes Stacey Kramer will give you goosebumps, inspire you, and make you want to live your life to the fullest. Rather than give away what Stacey has to say, why not just watch the video for yourselves? She describes a ‘gift’ in exquisite detail – and after what seems like 3 very long minutes – she reveals what that gift is. Watch the video to find out what it was.
How To Tie Your Shoes
Did you know that the chances are you’re tying your shoelaces incorrectly? That’s what Terry Moore discovered a few years ago. As he says in the video, “I would have thought that by age 50, one of the life skills I had really nailed was tying my shoes.” It turns out that there’s two ways to tie your shoes (and no it doesn’t involve bunny ears).
Watch the TED talk video, which happens to be TED’s first ever 3-minute talk, to discover the weak and strong forms of tying your shoelaces and how to find out if you did it right.
Why Is ‘x’ The Unknown?
We couldn’t resist adding another Terry Moore video. In this one, he explains how ‘x’ came to be the symbol for the ‘unknown’. As it turns out, its all thanks to a bunch of Spaniards who decided to transliterate a word from Arabic into Latin, by way of Greek.
Confused? Watch the video and Moore does a great job of explaining the idea.
A Story Of Mixed Emoticons
You probably wouldn’t imagine that poetry and emoticons can really mix. After all, poetry is a beautiful form of expression, while emoticons are pretty much the complete opposite. Ask any writer and they’ll probably tell you that texting has ruined the art of communication.
And yet Rives, the 2.0 poet, manages to create a touching and sweet story, illustrated with none other than, typographical emoticons.
How To Start a Movement
In just over 3 minutes, entrepreneur Derek Sivers is able to break down how to start a movement. His short talk is accompanied by an amusing, illustrative video, that proves that all it really takes is two people to get the ball rolling. As Sivers put it – while it takes a lot of courage to be a leader, it takes even more courage to be the first person who stands up, and takes a risk, by choosing to follow.
Print Your Own Medicine
Lee Cronin is doing what sounds like the impossible. The chemistry professor is working on a 3D printer that could potentially be used to print your medicine. Using a unique combination of printing objects and molecules (yes you read that right), you could print chemical components.
While you won’t be able to stop going to the pharmacy just yet, the very fact that your kids could download medicine and print it out, without ever leaving their homes.
Bobby McFerrin Plays The….Audience
As a bonus, here’s a video we discovered through the TED talks website, but that is actually part of the World Science Festival. Bobby McFerrin is best known for his upbeat optimistic song, Don’t Worry Be Happy. While we’re sure that song can bring a smile to just about anyone’s face, this video can to.
With a deceptively simple method, McFerrin reveals how the human brain is wired to do certain things at the drop of a hat – and that includes turning an auditorium full of people into a single instrument.
Looking for more tips and tricks on how to find and watch the best that TED has to offer? Check out our guide here, and don’t forget to share your favourite short TED talks videos with us in the comments.