Often, whether we admit it or not, we measure a person by how successful they are... but what exactly is success?
It's not how much money someone has, is it?
It's not whether or not they have a family and friends... as good as all that may be, it's something else, it's something much more illusive. How do we decide? What leads us to this sort of judgement... to saying "oh, don't bother with him, he's a loser" or "Wow, that woman is so amazing, gifted, she's really made it to the top of her profession." Is it our own culture that defines this or do these assumptions, opinions, ideas transfer globally?
Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Anyway, here are my recommended TED videos for whenever the subjects of success and failure arise in your adult English classrooms. I've also stuck up a SimplyConversations lesson on Achievements and Ambitions into Google Docs. which you can use as a pre-task or follow-up activity.
A kinder, gentler philosophy of success
Alain de Botton examines our ideas of success and failure -- and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. Is success always earned? Is failure? He makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work.
Measuring what makes life worthwhile
When the dotcom bubble burst, hotelier Chip Conley went in search of a business model based on happiness. In an old friendship with an employee and in the wisdom of a Buddhist king, he learned that success comes from what you count. Fascinating!!
8 secrets of success
Why do people succeed? Is it because they're smart? Or are they just lucky? Neither. Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an unmissable 3-minute slideshow on the real secrets of success.
With profound simplicity, Coach John Wooden redefines success and urges us all to pursue the best in ourselves. In this inspiring talk he shares the advice he gave his players at UCLA, quotes poetry and remembers his father's wisdom.
Keep your goals to yourself
After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone, but Derek Sivers says it's better to keep goals secret. He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them.
Success is a continuous journey
In his typically candid style, Richard St. John reminds us that success is not a one-way street, but a constant journey. He uses the story of his business' rise and fall to illustrate a valuable lesson -- when we stop trying, we fail.
Don't eat the marshmallow yet
In this short talk from TED U, Joachim de Posada shares a landmark experiment on delayed gratification -- and how it can predict future success. With priceless video of kids trying their hardest not to eat the marshmallow.
Hope you enjoyed these as much as we did!
Which was your favourite?
Write a lesson plan based on using one of these videos (or any other that refers to the subject of success and failure) and post this up on your own website or blog. Alternatively, upload the LP into a document sharing site (e.g scribd/ slideshare/ google docs) and let us all know the URL in the comments below.
Other great videos on this theme, via YouTube
- J.K Rowlings, The fringe benefits of failure
- Jeff Bezos, What matters more than talents
- Gary Vaynerchuk, Do what you love (no excuses!)
- Steve Jobs, How to live before you die
Part I: TED videos + decision-making
Part III: TED videos + motivation
Speaking activities for teaching English with TED
Best video websites for teaching adult Business English learners