“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” ~ Isaac Asimov

What Should You Study For Your Life’s Work?

Martin Luther King clearly wondered most about civil rights, inequality and injustice.  And what most don’t realize is that he impacted the world by sharing his epiphanies, discoveries and wisdom with the world, related to his most profound and passionate curiosity.    

What about you?  What do you most wonder about?  Are you studying something because others believe it’s important or are you studying something because you can’t help but wonder about it?  What’s your major in college and how important is it to you?  Is it the most important thing in the world to you?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What would you most love to learn about for the rest of your life?
  • What would you most love to talk to people about for the rest of your life?
  • What new ideas/answers/discoveries/solutions would you most love to bring to the world?

If you can’t answer these questions and would like come help, contact me here and let me know how I can help.

Think outside the box and don’t think about the “basic” subjects our schools teach in high school and college.  Like Isaac Asimov, the people changing the world are chasing down answers to their own most profound questions and passionate curiosities – subjects that our current education system doesn’t directly teach.  Therefore, you will often have to find subject and majors that provide the foundation of understanding for your curiosity, while you search for answers high and low, online and off!  

“Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” ~ Richard P. Feynman

Take a look at some of the most watched TED Talks below, and notice that none of the subjects of these talks are majors or even areas of study in any college.  And yet, they still chased and researched their most profound and passionate curiosities, and they’re impacting the world with their discoveries.  And you can too!

Every TED Talk is a great example of someone who chased their most profound and passionate curiosity, and every one of them are sharing their discoveries with the world.

Here are the Top 20 TED Talks of all time, as of December 2013.

1. Sir Ken Robinson’s How schools kill creativity (2006): 23,510,221 views

[ted id=66]
Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

2. Jill Bolte Taylor‘s My stroke of insight (2008): 14,343,197 views

[ted id=229]
Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

3. Simon Sinek’s How great leaders inspire action (2010): 14,228,854

[ted id=848]
Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers … 

4. Brene Brown’s The power of vulnerability (2010): 12,703,623

[ted id=1042]
Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.

5. Amy Cuddy’s Your body language shapes who you are (2012): 12,682,694

[ted id=1569]
Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

6. Pranav Mistry’s The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology (2009): 12,068,105

[ted id=685]
At TEDIndia, Pranav Mistry demos several tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data — including a deep look at his SixthSense device and a new, paradigm-shifting paper “laptop.” In an onstage Q&A, Mistry says he’ll open-source the software behind SixthSense, to open its possibilities to all.

7. Tony Robbins’ Why we do what we do (2006): 10,425,014

[ted id=96]
Tony Robbins discusses the “invisible forces” that motivate everyone’s actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.

8. David Gallo‘s Underwater astonishments (2007): 10,266,221

[ted id=206]
David Gallo shows jaw-dropping footage of amazing sea creatures, including a color-shifting cuttlefish, a perfectly camouflaged octopus, and a Times Square’s worth of neon light displays from fish who live in the blackest depths of the ocean.

9. Mary Roach’s 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm (2009): 9,435,954

[ted id=549]
“Bonk” author Mary Roach delves into obscure scientific research, some of it centuries old, to make 10 surprising claims about sexual climax, ranging from the bizarre to the hilarious. (This talk is aimed at adults. Viewer discretion advised.)

10. Daniel Pink’s The surprising science of motivation (2009): 9.176,053

[ted id=618]
Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

11. Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry Demo the SixthSense (2009): 8, 363,339

[ted id=481]
This demo — from Pattie Maes’ lab at MIT, spearheaded by Pranav Mistry — was the buzz of TED. It’s a wearable device with a projector that paves the way for profound interaction with our environment. Imagine “Minority Report” and then some.

12. Dan Gilbert’s The surprising science of happiness (2004): 7,788,151

[ted id=97]
Dan Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.

13. Hans Rosling’s The best stats you’ve ever seen (2006): 7,685,726

[ted id=92]
You’ve never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called “developing world.”

14. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Your elusive creative genius (2009): 7,593,076

[ted id=453]
Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

15. Steve Jobs’ How to live before you die (2005): 7,223,258

At his Stanford University commencement speech, Steve Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple and Pixar, urges us to pursue our dreams and see the opportunities in life’s setbacks — including death itself.

16. Susan Cain’s The power of introverts (2012): 6,807,240

[ted id=1377]
In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

17. Keith Barry’s Brain magic (2004): 6,371,778

[ted id=310]
First, Keith Barry shows us how our brains can fool our bodies — in a trick that works via podcast too. Then he involves the audience in some jaw-dropping (and even a bit dangerous) feats of brain magic.

18. David Blaine’s How I held my breath for 17 minutes (2010): 6,359,084

[ted id=741]
In this highly personal talk from TEDMED, magician and stuntman David Blaine describes what it took to hold his breath underwater for 17 minutes — a world record (only two minutes shorter than this entire talk!) — and what his often death-defying work means to him. Warning: do NOT try this at home.

19. Pamela Meyer’s How to spot a liar (2010): 6,256,589

[ted id=1246]
On any given day we’re lied to from 10 to 200 times, and the clues to detect those lie can be subtle and counter-intuitive. Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, shows the manners and “hotspots” used by those trained to recognize deception — and she argues honesty is a value worth preserving.

20. Arthur Benjamin’s A performance of “Mathemagic” (2005): 4,951,918

[ted id=199]
In a lively show, mathemagician Arthur Benjamin races a team of calculators to figure out 3-digit squares, solves another massive mental equation and guesses a few birthdays. How does he do it? He’ll tell you.