Got twenty minutes and fancy a dash of inspiration? Here are the best videos on TED for makers.

Simone Giertz’s Why you should make useless things

YouTuber, inventor, roboteer, and tinkerer Giertz has a talk full of wonderful inspiration, enthusiasm, and mayhem. A lot of it is about learning. She set herself up for success by having the goal of failure. And it allowed her to explore much more freely. Those of us who are learning new skills know we need to keep perfectionism at bay long enough to fail through the early stages of learning. Plus it will inspire you to go build a useless robot, and we always need more of those.

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Simon Sinek’s How great leaders inspire action

It’s funny to think there was a time when Simon Sinek was doing TEDx talks with bad audio to a tiny audience. Not so tiny now: his talk has racked up 43 million views and counting. Armed only with a pen and a flipchart he lays down the foundation for his bestselling books – that you start with why.

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Ingrid Fetell Lee’s Where joy hides and how to find it

Designer and author Ingrid Fetell Lee takes us on a journey through joy and the little design changes we can all make, so our lives and our projects are more joyful. It’s a smart take on design – what is it for if not to inspire people joy? Sparking joy leads to happy associations for users and all sorts of health benefits so it’s definitely something we could use more of.

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Alain de Botton’s A kinder, gentler philosophy of success

In this fast-paced talk philosopher Alain de Botton takes on envy, comparison, meritocracy, and personal failures. Makers who compare themselves unfavourable to others, or agonise about not yet becoming their billionaire heroes, can reconfigure their concepts of success.

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Emilie Wapnick’s Why some of us don’t have one true calling

Wapnick introduces us to the term multipotentialite – also known as Renaissance people, polymaths, or generalists. Maker Mag has covered becoming a multi-expert and it’s a learning style and identity that seems to chime with lots of makers. Given society’s model on career progression and specialisation it can feel like multi-experts are broken or wrong. But Wapnick shows the amazing results that can come out of embracing it.

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Vittorio Loreto’s Need a new idea? Start at the edge of what is known

Loreto is a mathematician who came up with the mathematical basis for the adjacent possible, a formula for innovation and new discoveries. His talk is about the questions and the tools we need to probe the future and to make leaps forward.

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Manoush Zomorodi’s How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas

An ode to the state of boredom. Focussing mostly on freeing up time from our phones she ran a “Bored and Brilliant”challenge. Most people could stand to cut down their phone use but not necessarily fill that time with “productivity”. Instead we can allow our minds to wander.

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Steven Johnson’s Where good ideas come from

Challenging the prevalent lone-genius-having-an-epiphany-when-his-bath-overflows theory of innovation and creativity Johnson describes the ecosystem of good ideas. It starts with Britain’s first coffee house in 1650 and ends at the Sputnik launch. Concepts like the “liquid network” and creating the necessary environment for the “slow hunch” will inspire you to think about your own process of creativity.

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Elizabeth Gilbert’s Success, failure, and the drive to keep creating

Elizabeth Gilbert finds the similarities between her years of success and failure and argues they are very alike. If you have struggled with failure, or success, or both, she has a simple solution to the problem: to go back to the work, to what you love, and keep going. Pair with her earlier Your elusive creative genius.

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Shonda Rhimes’ My year of saying yes to everything

TV Titan (if she won’t say it, I will) Shonda Rhimes committed to saying yes to things that pushed her out of her comfort zone. But facing burnout challenged her whole identity. In this poetic talk she explores how she got back on track by saying yes to playing with her children and how play reconnected her to “the hum” and shaped a new understanding of herself.

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Shonda Rhimes speaks at TED2016 – Dream, Session 1 – Our Tomorrow, February 15-19, 2016, Vancouver Convention Center, Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED

Zain Asher’s Trust your Struggle

Zain Asher has four pieces of advice that apply as much to makers as they do in her profession of TV news: trust your struggle, creation rather than competition, to give, and that we should prepare for the opportunity to succeed. These are values the maker community has really embraced with such support and enthusiasm for each other.

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Cam Adair’s The surprising truth about rejection

Adair talks about rejections from his life that are familiar to many of us. Instead of allowing them to define him he took them as directions, as opportunities for something new. Adair is the founder of Game Quitters, helping tens of thousands of people tackle video game addiction and has been interviewed by Maker Mag.

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Celeste Headlee’s How to have a good conversation

Conversations and connections are important and Celeste Headlee has the pointers we need. With none of the usual fluff about active listening. A more solitary life as a solo maker might be your preference, but we all have to talk to people so we might as well get good at it. Plus, find out where to network as an indie maker.

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Felicia Ricci’s How to change careers when you are lost

Ricci’s talk is about your life being a work in progress, to keep revising your life to create your reality. Whether that’s quitting your job to work on your own projects, or, like Ricci, walking away from the dream job of performing on Broadway. Her biggest, final tip is that sometimes you just have to take the action and find out what happens.

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Got your own favourite, inspiring TED Talks? Share them on Twitter and tag @MakerMag and @letsmakehey so we can all check them out!

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