Learning From The Best: How TED Talks Will Change Your Life

There was once a story about two lumberjacks. The first lumberjack was a five-time world champion. He was big, strong, hard working, and most importantly, he had years and years of experience. The second lumberjack was smaller, scrappier and had only a few years of experience.

The two lumberjacks faced off in a duel. The rules were simple. They both had the same axes, the same sized trees, and the first person to chop down their tree, wins. The stakes were high. Winner of the duel gets the championship belt.

The duel began and they started swinging away. After the first hour, the scrappy lumberjack threw his axe over his shoulder, walked away, took a ten-minute break and returned. After another hour, he took another ten-minute break. When he walked away, the experienced lumberjack laughed to himself, “Kids these days don’t understand the value of consistent hard work. There are no breaks in life. You’ve got to pay your dues. That’s what experience teaches you!”

But still, they both kept chopping away at their trees. All of a sudden, they heard a cracking noise and the first tree fell over. The young, scrappy lumberjack…won.

The experienced lumberjack was shocked. “What’s your secret?” he asked. “How did you win even after taking all those breaks?”

“There is no secret,” the scrappy lumberjack admitted. “And I wasn’t taking breaks. I was sharpening my axe.”

TED Talks have become one of the axe sharpeners of choice for our generation. The two videos below will teach you how to inspire others to do what you want, how to engineer your own happiness, and how to bring out the happiness in others. If you learn how to master those skills, you win…at life.

Watch and learn.

How To Inspire Anyone To Do Anything

Remember: You don't do business with companies; you do business with people.

So the best start-up pitch, the best product sale, the best way to inspire any kind of action, all comes down to one surprising word: WHY.

If you're more of the "I'd rather read the book than watch the movie" type, Simon Sinek also has a book called Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, which fleshes out his idea in full.

How To Engineer Your Own Happiness

Happiness has always been such a fluffy, unattainable word to me -- until I watched this talk.

Now, every time I see the word "happiness," I just remember the five simple steps Shawn Achor teaches us in order to obtain it. Click on Shawn's face below to watch the video.

Again, if you're the "I'd rather read the book than watch the movie" type, Shawn Achor also has a book called The Happiness Advantage that goes into his happiness steps in full force.

Your Turn…

Did either of these TED Talks teach you something worthwhile? If so, share this and spread the knowledge to your friends.

Do you have any TED Talks that are your personal favorites? Share them in the comments below.

Alex Banayan is an associate at San Francisco-based venture capital firm Alsop Louie Partners and the author of a highly anticipated business book being released by Crown Publishers (Penguin Random House). For more, sign up for Alex Banayan’s newsletter here.