Everyone wants to be successful—we’re programmed to enjoy achievement and fear failure. But sometimes, when we focus too much on the idea of success, we forget about what it is we’re actually trying to achieve.

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Whether you’re a seasoned businessperson or fresh to the entrepreneurial game, take a look at these five inspiring TED talks to change how you look at success.

Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career


Larry Smith is a Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo. The Canadian academic gives a passionate talk about fighting mediocrity and the hurdles that prevent most of us from incredible achievement—namely, fear. This is great for those just getting started in their careers.

 Susan Cain: The power of introverts


Leading the “Quiet Revolution”, former lawyer Susan Cain talks up those who prefer to keep quiet. She lends a new understanding to what type of person you are and how that affects your career and creativity. Hint: it’s not always those who talk the loudest who achieve the most.

 Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work


In this funny and fast-paced talk, Cambridge graduate and psychologist Shawn Achor looks at the false assumptions we have about success and happiness. He explains different ways of managing stress to make you not only successful, but also happy.

 Adam Grant: The surprising habits of original thinkers


Professor and organisational psychologist Adam Grant looks at how to maximise creativity, and the relationship between procrastination and original thinking. Surprisingly, it’s not always the first to finish who wins.

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius


If you’ve ever doubted your own ability, you need to listen to Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat Pray Love, as she discusses the pressures of “genius”. A natural storyteller, her humorous approach is both relatable and enlightening as she examines societal expectations of achievement and how to avoid creative blocks to success.

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Tags: Business, Entrepreneur, Generation T, Entrepreneurship, Career, Ted Talks