TIME Careers & Workplace

Watch the 5 Most Popular TED Talks of All Time

Whether you’re looking for outstanding orators to emulate for an upcoming speaking engagement, or whether you’re in the mood for Crossfit crunches for your brain

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

Happiness, vulnerability and orgasms. These are few of the TED Talks themes that people love most.

Add to that viral mix soul-stirring speeches about education, inspiration, and revelation, and you have the stuff of the most-watched TED speeches of all time, the cream of the presentation crop with millions upon millions of views and growing.

Related: 5 TED Talks That May Change Your View on Life

Whether you’re looking for outstanding orators to emulate for an upcoming speaking engagement, or whether you’re in the mood for Crossfit crunches for your brain just because, here are the top five TED Talks of all time. Feast your mind.


1. Ken Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity

Children are naturally creative, right up until we educate the raw spark of wonder out of them. In his witty, 18-minute takedown of the talent-squandering treadmill that is the traditional public education system, Sir Kenneth Robinson challenges us to “radically rethink” the way we teach our children. He invites educators to encourage kids to dance, experiment and make mistakes.

Related: 7 Public Speaking Tips From One of the Most-Watched TED Speakers

Business leaders can apply Robinson’s outlier theories to inspire their teams in much the same way. Start by allowing your employees to make mistakes. They’re not bad. They’re gateways to innovation.


2. Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

If you’re a habitual arm crosser, watching Amy Cuddy’s body language 101 might convince you to drop the habit — and your arms — right away. The social scientist, who kicks off her speech with a “free no-tech life hack” that will probably turn your frown upside down, says our body language speaks loud and clear to those around us. And it might just have a lot to do with our success. One thing’s for sure: You’ll walk a little taller and sit up a little straighter after you take Cuddy’s 20-minute “power posing” crash course. Remember, “Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes.”

Related: Inspiring TED Talks Every Entrepreneur Should Watch


3. Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Extolling the trailblazing, renegade spirit of iconic historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Wright brothers, ethnographer Simon Sinek dares people be rebels, to “think, act and communicate” in ways that are “the complete opposite of everyone else.” In his talk, the author of the motivational classic Start With Why (Portfolio Trade, 2011) describes what he calls the “golden circle.” It’s a means of communicating “from the outside in,” a way to passionately talk about what you care about and believe. He says Apple does it — obviously to great success — and your company can, too.

Related: Why TED Talks Are Impossible to Resist


4. Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Humiliation, embarrassment and shame are the fields of study that Brené Brown specializes in. Not many people talk openly about thosekinds of feelings, let alone in front of thousands. In her touching, often funny speech, the University of Houston research professor and author of five bestselling self-empowerment books, reminds us to be true to ourselves. How? By embracing our imperfections, something society pressures us not to do, at home and at work. Instead, Brown asks you to be you, to be real and really vulnerable. When you are, you’re kinder to yourself and to others. It’s not easy, but once you accept who you are — not who you think should be — flaws and all, Brown says you’ll connect with others in deeper, more meaningful ways. And P.S. — Stop beating yourself up already. You are enough.

Related: An Oft Unspoken Key to Success: Put Aside Your Ego and Be Vulnerable


5. Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight

When Harvard-trained brain researcher Dr. Jill Bolte says she had a stroke of insight, she means it literally. One morning, at the age of 37, she suffered a devastating cerebrovascular accident. A blood vessel in her brain suddenly burst. She could only speak “like a Golden Retriever” when calling for help. Her right arm “went totally paralyzed” and her world came crashing down.

You won’t believe Taylor’s first thoughts upon realizing she was suffering a stroke: “Wow! This is so cool! How many brain scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain from the inside out?” Amazing, right?

Related: 4 Motivating TED Talks to Help You Bounce Back From Failure

In her deeply personal talk, Taylor pulls us into her eight-year recovery journey. She describes learning to walk, talk and think again — from scratch. And, of course, she also reveals her biggest “stroke of insight” as a brain hemorrhage survivor. It’s simple but so complex: our right minds can be gateways to nirvana, but only if we choose to step out of them.

Related: 3 TED Talks That Will Convince You to Get More Sleep

TIME Careers & Workplace

How to Turn Life’s Disappointments Into Success Stories

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In work and in life, disappointment is often inevitable. Turn life’s curveballs into your success stories

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This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

Life is full of surprises that aren’t always the kind we would wish for. What makes these unwanted surprises even harder to accept is our attachment to the way we expected things to go. This particular brand of discomfort — the kind fueled by a life drunk with expectations and the resulting crash from failing to meet them — is profoundly sobering and uncomfortable. I call it an Expectation Hangover®, which I define in my latest book, “Expectation Hangover: Overcoming Disappointment in Work, Love and Life,” as:

The myriad undesirable feelings or thoughts present when one or a combination of the following things occurs:

  • A desired outcome does not occur.
  • A desired outcome does occur but does not produce the feelings or results we expected.
  • Our personal and/or professional expectations are unmet by ourselves or another.
  • An undesired, unexpected event occurs that is in conflict with what we wanted or planned.

The symptoms are similar, but far more miserable and lasting, to those caused by a hangover from alcohol: lethargy, depression, lack of motivation, confusion, denial, anger, poor work performance, diminished creativity, strained relationships, social withdrawal, low self-esteem, regret and a disconnection from a higher power. But when our expectations are met, we feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. Often risking little, we feel safe, in control and on-track. Achieving our goals is intoxicating. We are compelled toward them, sometimes disregarding the underlying motivations that come from our ego. While striving for goals has value, holding expectations and attachment to the way life “should” go sets the stage for disappointment.

Most of us don’t like it when our life seems to miss the memo on how we think things should be. But the truth is that the universe doesn’t miss anything. When we keep fighting for what we think we want, never slowing down enough to actually learn the lesson that our expectation hangover is attempting to teach, we’re too drunk with expectations to notice when we are headed in the wrong direction. The result? We continue to wake up with expectation hangovers.

So how do you treat them? It takes a lot more than two aspirin, some greasy food and staying inside with the lights low. Because we don’t like not feeling good, and so we look for an external way to ease the discomfort: rebound relationships, abrupt career changes or miscalculated risks, and addictions (drinking, gambling, sex, drugs, work, shopping) are common. We lose faith and sink into the quicksand of victim-hood and hopelessness.

Instead of thinking about how to rid yourself of an expectation hangover, consider how you can leverage it. Ask, “What am I learning?” rather than “Why is this happening?” Keep your mind out of judgment, regret and shoulda-coulda-woulda thinking. Think about some of the most inspirational people you know. I guarantee that part of what makes them so inspirational is how they leveraged their hangovers for growth and learning. Instead of perceiving something as a failure, they used what they learned to to create their next success. Your expectation hangovers are gifts. Each one has been an opportunity to let go of something external that you have clung to for worth, safety or love. If you learn how to respond to expectation hangovers from the perspective of a student rather than a victim, I guarantee you will walk through doorways of transformation.

TIME Careers & Workplace

You’ll Never Guess the Most Affordable City for Young People

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Mexico City, Mumbai and Rome are all contenders

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

You’re a young person with big entrepreneurial dreams and plans to change the world. Good for you! But you need to pay the rent while you build up your skills or get your fledgling enterprise off the ground. So where should you move?

There’s no shortage of advice for young people on which cities make the best launching pads for post-collegiate life. One recent study looked at which metro areas were more popular with mobile well-educated young people to indicate the best destination for your U-Haul, for example. Other sources of advice have crowdsourced community opinion to rank the best locales for digital nomads.

But another recent index of possible new homes for recent grads takes a different approach. Rather than just solicit the opinions of the group or look at standard cost of living measures, the Youthful Cities Index from consultancy Decode takes into account not only how much you spend on essentials like rent and food (though that’s weighed too) but also how much entry-level workers will bring home if they make minimum wage, as well as other less-often-used but more youth-relevant indicators of a city’s costs like the price of attending a live gig, going to a movie, and taking public transit.

So what was the result of the global ranking after all these unusual numbers were crunched. Here are the results (bet you didn’t see number one coming):

  1. Paris
  2. Toronto
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Chicago
  5. Berlin
  6. Dallas
  7. Rome
  8. New York
  9. Tokyo
  10. London
  11. Seoul
  12. Buenos Aires
  13. Istanbul
  14. Cairo
  15. Johannesburg
  16. Bogota
  17. Lima
  18. Mumbai
  19. Lagos
  20. Sao Paulo
  21. Manila
  22. Shanghai
  23. Mexico City
  24. Nairobi
  25. Kinshasa

Of course, as Quartz writer Zainab Mudallal points out in her writeup of the index, affordability and opportunity are two totally separate things. “France has also recently been called a “sick” economy by its own economy minister, with its high unemployment rate and reputation for worker inefficiency. The high cost of doing business in France means that some employers consider it a risk to take on young people. So it may not be easy to find a job,” she notes.

It’s a valid point. No matter how affordable a city is theoretically, if you can’t get even one of those relatively well-paid minimum wage gigs, a promising budget on paper isn’t going to mean a thing. So take the results with a grain of salt before you rush off to brush up on your French. The rankings, however, do serve as a reminder that a lot more goes into making a city attractive to young people than sensible-sounding basics and cheap housing.

TIME psychology

5 Things Your Clothes Are Saying About You

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Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Some findings about clothes from psychological research:

  1. Different color clothing says different things about you. Most interesting is that studies show red has some pretty unique effects. For the most part, red seems to mean sex. Research shows it makes men more attractive to women. It makes women more attractive to men. It helps hitchikers get picked up. (More on the odd and interesting effects of red here.)
  2. Dressing young can make you healthier. Glasses make you look smarter but less attractive. How a female celebrity dresses can tell you how short her marriage will be.
  3. You like brand name clothes because they make you seem high status and (hopefully) this will cause people to treat you better.
  4. Dark clothes = neurotic. Formal dress = conscientious. Messy and unconventional clothing = open to new things. Cleavage and expensive clothes = narcissism in women.
  5. You trust doctors more when they wear the white coat. You like musicians’ music more when they dress the way you expect them to. By the same token, what you wear affects how you act: when research subjects wore lab coats they acted more attentive and careful. So choose your clothes wisely when you need to perform at your best.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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An easy way for women to be more attractive to men and men to be more attractive to women

10 things science can teach us about being sexy as hell

10 ways science explains why James Bond is so irresistible to women

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Food & Drink

Here’s a Stress-Free Guide to Hosting Your First Thanksgiving

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So you decided to have everyone at your home this year. It’s a big undertaking, but we’re here to help

This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.

Thanksgiving is one of the biggest family holidays of the year—and maybe the most delicious. There’s nothing like the after-dinner food coma that evening, and knowing you have leftovers to get you through breakfast, lunch, and dinner practically until Christmas. If the hosting baton has been passed to you this year, we know your first instinct is to panic.

“It always feels overwhelming and very stressful,” says Debi Lilly, owner and chief planner at A Perfect Event. “There are a lot of details that have to be fairly synchronized.”

Not to worry: We’ve mapped it out. Here, a foolproof timeline and checklist so no detail goes forgotten.

TWO TO THREE WEEKS BEFORE:

Make a plan.
“Start planning out simple things, like event flow,” says Lilly. Think about where you want guests to sit, and where you want to set your food (if you’re doing buffet style). With more than eight guests, buffet is the easiest way to go—especially if you’re short on space.

“You can do a beautiful party in a small space by utilizing all of your sitting areas,” says Lilly. This means you may want to purchase cheap lap trays for older guests or young children who might have trouble balancing dinner on their knees.

Create a menu:
When creating a menu, go for recipes that are simple and trusted—like these easy stuffings, or these colorful sides. While it’s fun to have one unique item at your meal, go for a signature cocktail, not a stuffing recipe that requires bizarre ingredients and three days of prep. Once your menu is set, write out grocery lists. You should divide the list into perishables and nonperishables to make shopping and storing easier. Need menu inspiration? Find it here.

Pro organizing tip: “Print out a blank November calendar, and then fill in with when you will shop, when you will make certain dishes ahead, and any pick-ups you may need to make or deliveries coming to the house,” says Diane Phillips, James Beard Award nominee cookbook author and cooking teacher.

Order your turkey.
“For the turkey, you will need three-quarters to a pound of turkey per person,” says Phillips. This will still leave you with a day’s worth of leftovers. Buy the bird as early as possible and freeze it. Just remember: You need one day of thawing for every four pounds of turkey.

While you’re at it, consider ordering prepared h’ors doerves trays from the grocery store or desserts from the bakery that you’ll also want to serve. One more thing checked off your list!

Confirm your guest list.
Take note of how many people are coming to your house, and in that list, how many are children. From there, ask people to help. It’s not unreasonable to ask guests to bring a dish—and often, they will offer!

“There’s a time and a place for doing it all, but I don’t think Thanksgiving is the place,” says Lilly. When you ask guests to bring a dish, be very specific, so you know exactly what is heading to your home. Phillips takes it one step further:

“If you are having people bring a dish, give them the recipe,” she says. “They will appreciate having something they can easily put together.”

(MORE: 5 DIY Place Cards to Dress Up Your Thanksgiving Table)

ONE WEEK BEFORE:

Set the table.
Taking care of this task in advance saves you a little bit of stress on the day-of. If you can’t set it an entire week in advance, shoot for a few days ahead. Have place cards ready if you’ll all be sitting at one table to avoid any confusion.

Place yourself closest to the kitchen, and not necessarily at the head. It’s best to split up couples for a livelier dynamic, but keep small children between their parents. Bonus tip: Seat lefties at corners, where they’ll have room to eat without banging elbows.

Grocery shop.
Consult your grocery lists and get your shopping out of the way. Does anything sound worse than a last-minute trip to the local grocery store on Thanksgiving Day? If you shop about five to six days in advance, you should have little-to-no issue with your perishable items.

To ease your burden, consider passing off dessert to a guest or a local bakery, says Lilly. Offer up recipe suggestions to the family member who can bake up a storm, or visit the grocer to order ahead.

Prepare for overnight guests.
Make sure you have fresh towels and linens on hand for overnight guests, and their room is ready to go. If you have a small home and no guest room, there are plenty of ways to make guests feel comfortable without their own space.

(MORE: Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes That Are Way Better Than Your Standard Roasted Bird)

THE WEEK OF:

Take inventory.
Do you have a thermometer? Enough casserole dishes? What about plates and silverware? Ensure that you have all of the essential turkey tools before diving into cooking.

Start cooking on Sunday.
Here lies Phillips’ secret to a stress-free holiday:make-ahead dishes. Gravy bases can be frozen, and casseroles and vegetables can often be cooked ahead and refrigerated for up to two days. If it can’t be cooked in advance, maybe it can at least be prepared. For example: your potatoes can be washed and ready to peel and mash.

(MORE: How Long to Cook a Turkey, in One Easy Chart)

THE DAY OF:

Wake up early.
On this holiday, there is no sleeping in. Make a schedule, and stick to it. Most importantly: You want to be ready up to an hour before guests are scheduled to arrive.

“Someone always arrives very early,” says Lilly. “There’s nothing worse than the doorbell ringing while you’re in the shower.”

What does this mean? The table or buffet should be set, and more importantly, the drinks should be chilled. If you give yourself an hour-long buffer, you’ll save yourself a lot of scrambling.

Keep food warm.
Use the microwave—it’s insulated, so it will keep dishes warm for up to half an hour—just don’t turn it on. Pour gravy into a thermos to keep it steaming. Spoon mashed potatoes or rice into an insulated ice bucket or Crock-Pot.

Prepare every room in the house.
Start your holiday with a clean kitchen—this means empty dishwashers and trashcans. Line your bins with more than one bag so that you have a fresh bag ready to go when one becomes full. Remove precious objects from the living room to save them from hyper nieces and nephews. If coats and bags are going on your bed, cover your duvet and pillows with a sheet to protect them from the elements. Finally, light a candle in the bathroom—it’s just a nice touch.

(MORE: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes Even Meat-Eaters Will Love)

Roast the perfect turkey
To know it’s done, use a meat thermometer in three spots: breast, thigh, and stuffing. Place the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, without touching the bone, and in the center of both the breast and the stuffing. If your turkey is unstuffed, cooking times are different—see this handy chartfor answers to all of your turkey cooking questions. Brining your turkey will make it even juicier, and it’s an easy skill to master.

If something goes wrong, don’t panic. Call mom, consult these turkey tips, or phone one of these helpful Thanksgiving hotlines.

Get your stain-removing arsenal ready.
When you crowd family members into a home, and couple that with delicious dinner, food will fly. White cotton cloths can sop up spills; white vinegar can handle coffee splatters; white wine can overpower its evil twin, red wine; a pre-treat stick like Tide to Go will handle major food slips.

Have fun!
This holiday is all about being grateful for what you have—even if the turkey is burnt and the tablecloth is a mosaic of stains, enjoy the time you have with family and friends, and take note of funny stories to tell at next year’s dinner.

(MORE: The History of Thanksgiving Foods Will Totally Change the Way You Look at Your Holiday Table)

TIME psychology

Here’s How to Know Who Your Real Friends Are

Fackbook Acquires WhatsApp For $16 Billion
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Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Look at your phone texting and calling patterns. Scientists are realizing they give powerful insights about relationships.

Via Sciencemag.org:

Just by analyzing the calling patterns, the researchers could accurately label two people as friends or nonfriends more than 95% of the time. But the results, published online today in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that the mobile phone data were better at predicting friendship than the subjects themselves. Thirty-two pairs of subjects switched from calling each other acquaintances to friends in the traditionally gathered survey data. These are most likely new relationships that formed during the course of the study, say the researchers, and they left a clear signal in the mobile phone data. Friends call each other far more often than acquaintances do when they are off-campus and during weekends. The pattern is so distinct that the researchers spotted budding friendships in the phone data months before the people themselves called themselves friends.

There’s another great article in the WSJ by Robert Lee Hotz about how scientists are using phone data to study our behavior — and learning more than they ever thought they could:

…at MIT, scientists who tracked student cellphones during the latest presidential election were able to deduce that two people were talking about politics, even though the researchers didn’t know the content of the conversation. By analyzing changes in movement and communication patterns, researchers could also detect flu symptoms before the students themselves realized they were getting sick.

“Phones can know,” said Dr. Pentland, director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory, who helped pioneer the research. “People can get this god’s-eye view of human behavior.”

Of course, companies are very interested in this data:

Cellphone providers are openly exploring other possibilities. By mining their calling records for social relationships among customers, several European telephone companies discovered that people were five times more likely to switch carriers if a friend had already switched, said Mr. Eagle, who works with the firms. The companies now selectively target people for special advertising based on friendships with people who dropped the service.

And some of the results are downright unnerving:

After analyzing more than 16 million records of call date, time and position, the researchers determined that, taken together, people’s movements appeared to follow a mathematical pattern. The scientists said that, with enough information about past movements, they could forecast someone’s future whereabouts with 93.6% accuracy.

The pattern held true whether people stayed close to home or traveled widely, and wasn’t affected by the phone user’s age or gender.

A few other interesting tidbits:

  1. Overall, our phones make us happier. (There’s even an app for that.)
  2. They may be making us more selfish, however. Our phones can fulfill our need for human contact, making us less inclined to go out of our way to help others.
  3. These devices can distract us so much we don’t notice the world around us — even if it contains unicycling clowns. (To be fair, people may actually like us better when we are distracted during a conversation.)
  4. We’ve become so addicted to our phones that two-thirds of users report hearing “phantom ringing.”
  5. We rely so much on these devices that a third of people under 30 can’t remember their home phone numbers — if they have one at all.
  6. 5% of relationships were ended by text message. People even get divorced via text. (iPhone users are more promiscuous, by the way.)
  7. By stripping away the emotional information in faces and intonation, text messaging might be simulating autism.
  8. That said, text message reminders have effectively encouraged saving, reduced smoking and increased voting.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Business

The Road Not Taken: How Getting Fired Boosted My Career

TV host Mika Brzezinski attends Children Roots of Resilience Gala on Sept. 9, 2014 in New York City.
TV host Mika Brzezinski attends Children Roots of Resilience Gala on Sept. 9, 2014 in New York City. Paul Morigi—2014 Getty Images

Mika Brzezinski is the Co-Host of MSNBC's Morning Joe.

"Each job interview set me deeper back; deeper into knowing it was over"

This Influencer post originally appeared on LinkedIn. In this series of posts, Influencers explain how their career paths might have changed. Read all the stories here and write your own (please include the hashtag #RoadNotTaken in the body of your post).

The road I took was set in stone for me at a very early age, influenced by two dynamic parents. My father exposed me to the medium of television — tagging me along on his interviews at “Nightline” and “Charlie Rose.” I got the TV bug immediately as a preteen. I loved how news stories were put together and presented on air.

My mother, a sculptor, tells stories as well — she has a 50-year career of using an axe and a chainsaw to reveal the “stories” inside massive tree trunks. Twelve pieces are on display right now at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C., including my all-time favorite, “Lament.”

So the road started early for me. Telling stories. Communicating a message. Developing my voice in this evolving medium over the course of more than two decades. Sometimes there is no way to take a different path when it is what you love — even when it doesn’t love you back.

I trudged through 10 years in local news, worked overnights at CBS News for four years, hosted a cable show for women for two years after that until finally settling into what I thought would be a life-long career as a correspondent for CBS News. My first week on the job was 9/11. I traveled America finding stories for “The CBS Evening News,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” even “60 Minutes.” Anchoring the CBS Evening News Sunday edition felt like a feather in my cap.

Just shy of my 40th birthday, the road ended. I was called down to the office of the President of CBS News and was told, “They were moving in a different direction.” I was being fired. I. Was. Fired. They liked my work… but didn’t like it anymore… or just had other people coming in… Whatever it was, my days at CBS News had abruptly come to an end.

Being fired is an out-of-body experience. I remember it like it was yesterday. A mixture of anger, feeling victimized, feeling exhilarated and free, and feeling scared shitless all at once. But then the time starts to pass, and if you are like I was, the NEXT job couldn’t come soon enough.

I sent my work to other networks and the response was… crickets. I went from everything to everyone to nothing to no one. If I did get an interview, the first question was: Why were you fired? I didn’t have an answer because I didn’t really know. Each job interview set me deeper back; deeper into knowing it was over. It’s hard to fight nothing. No phone ringing. No calls back. Just “No thank you,” from everywhere I applied. I would re-apply six months later. Nothing.

I did get an audition to anchor the local news at the ABC affiliate in Washington. I was told I was close… down to three. I went for the audition and was desperate for the job. So desperate it was written all over my face. They gave it to the talented Alison Starling who is still there to this day.

At about nine months of nothing, with severance running out, I knew I had to find another road. I began the task of applying for any job anywhere. I was overqualified for many jobs I applied for online, but still got no calls. Slowly… ever so slowly, I got responses from a few major PR firms. One, just one, called me in for an interview. I had the skills and the experience to do PR well.

It was at this time that a good friend — a talented producer at CBS News — was in the process of getter fired too (or “released from her contract”). The turnover was continuing there and this time, it was my friend’s turn. Since I had been through it, I was coaching her through the process — the hurt, the anger, the loss, the fear. I was reliving it all with her. Knowing the place and the players, it really was like my loss all over again. She was one of the best producers there and had taught me everything I know about voice control, studio tracking and storytelling.

My job interview turned into another one until it was down to a final round. A job as a VP at a major PR firm. Real money. It was the kind of money that would keep the family moving forward. We were at a dead stop with no hope in sight. This job was a potential lifeline… right there for the taking.

I was waiting for the call to line up the last round. I’ll never forget the moment. Driving my pickup up the hill near my house, the ’93 Ford 150 with roll-up windows just stopped… Stalled out and died. I knew that meant another $500 at the shop. $500 that I did not have. Then my cell phone rings. It’s the PR firm. Wanting to know if I can come in this week…

I put the truck in park in the middle of the road and listened to myself as I said, “I’d love to come in but I have to be honest; I know someone better for the job. Perfect actually.” I then began to sing the praises of my soon-to-be fired friend. It came out of my mouth as if I had been practicing it forever… So easy to say, because it was true. She was perfect for the job, and I was not. I knew this road, as much as I needed one, would not be taken by me.

I remember clunking my head on the steering wheel after I hung up asking myself: “Why, WHY?? You need a job so badly!” But I knew it even then. There was still only one road for me… and that this one wasn’t it. I knew even then I would have to find my way back to that road I chose at 13 years old. Somehow.

It took many more months, but I called every network known to man and begged for ANY job they had available. I found myself LEAPING at the opportunity to work a day rate, part-time, freelance job at MSNBC reading 30 second news cut-ins — a job I probably would have scoffed at 15 years prior.

Eight weeks into working the “cut-in shift” at MSNBC, Don Imus was knocked off the air for making unfortunate comments. MSNBC was on the hunt for a new morning show…

I was back on the road again.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME psychology

These Books Can Teach You to Be the Best at Anything

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Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

After my post What does it take to become an expert at anything? a number of people have written, curious about where to learn more on the subject.

A few of the best sources I pulled from are below, with links and descriptions:

Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success

“Backed by cutting-edge scientific research and case studies, Syed shatters long-held myths about meritocracy, talent, performance, and the mind. He explains why some people thrive under pressure and others choke, and weighs the value of innate ability against that of practice, hard work, and will.”

Check it out here.

Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To

“Dr. Sian Beilock, an expert on performance and brain science, reveals inChoke the astonishing new science of why we all too often blunder when the stakes are high. What happens in our brain and body when we experience the dreaded performance anxiety? And what are we doing differently when everything magically “clicks” into place and the perfect golf swing, tricky test problem, or high-pressure business pitch becomes easy?”

Check it out here.

Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

“Based on deep and extensive research, including more than 200 interviews with leading innovators, Sims discovered that productive, creative thinkers and doers—from Ludwig van Beethoven to Thomas Edison and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos—practice a key set of simple but ingenious experimental methods—such as failing quickly to learn fast, tapping into the genius of play, and engaging in highly immersed observation—that free their minds, opening them up to making unexpected connections and perceiving invaluable insights.”

Check it out here.

The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills

“It is an easy-to-use handbook of scientifically proven, field-tested methods to improve skills—your skills, your kids’ skills, your organization’s skills—in sports, music, art, math, and business. The product of five years of reporting from the world’s greatest talent hotbeds and interviews with successful master coaches, it distills the daunting complexity of skill development into 52 clear, concise directives.”

Check it out here.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

“World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea–the power of our mindset. Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success–but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset.”

Check it out here.

Nine Things Successful People Do Differently

“Decades of research on achievement suggests people at the top of their game tend to reach their goals because of what they do—not because of who they are. In this short, provocative, and useful HBR Single, motivational psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson translates the psychological secrets of these winning human beings for your use. ”

Check it out here.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

“Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects.”

Check it out here.

Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

“According to distinguished journalist Geoff Colvin, both the hard work and natural talent camps are wrong. What really makes the difference is a highly specific kind of effort-“deliberate practice”-that few of us pursue when we’re practicing golf or piano or stockpicking. Based on scientific research, Talent is Overrated shares the secrets of extraordinary performance and shows how to apply these principles.”

Check it out here.

The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How

“Drawing on cutting-edge neurology and firsthand research gathered on journeys to nine of the world’s talent hotbeds—from the baseball fields of the Caribbean to a classical-music academy in upstate New York—Coyle identifies the three key elements that will allow you to develop your gifts and optimize your performance in sports, art, music, math, or just about anything.”

Check it out here.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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You Don’t Get What You Don’t Ask For

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How simply asking for things in the right way can get you almost anything you want in life

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

90% of people are afraid to ask for things. Is that a real statistic? Nope. But I believe it to be a true statistic, if not higher than that.

We, as humans, are afraid to ask for things. We’re afraid to ask people to buy our products. We’re afraid to ask someone out on a date. We’re afraid to ask for more money at our jobs. We’re afraid to ask the tough questions in our relationships.

We’re afraid to ask because we fear rejection.

Rejection is this unbelievably strong thing that keeps us from getting so much in life. If you experience rejection one time, it is likely to derail you from ever asking for that thing again. Most of us have had the unpleasant experience of asking someone on a date and getting rejected. Unfortunately, that horrible empty feeling sticks with us for years to come (and for some people, the rest of their lives).

But why is rejection so strong? Why is it so hard to overcome the feeling that the tiny two-letter word “no” gives us?

Much like rejection, negativity is incredibly powerful. 100 people could tell you how freaking amazing you look today, but if one person says you look like crap, those 100 positive messages won’t matter.

See, on some level, we all just want to fit in. The reason we fixate on things like rejection and negativity is because they make us feel alienated from the rest of the world. Experiencing those things on any scale cuts us to our most basic human core.

Think about the last time you asked for something out of your comfort zone? Or even something in your comfort zone. You probably felt hesitation. You probably had 20 scenes play out in your mind, all disasters and worst-case scenarios. You might have even delayed your ask until you finally built up enough courage.

Over the years, I’ve had success in business for two reasons:

  1. I wasn’t afraid to ask for things most people wouldn’t dare ask for.
  2. I was willing to work my ass off to get the thing I wanted, because it was something I was really passionate about.

When people hear that I’ve made over $1,000,000 and worked with over 2,000 companies since 2009, I’m sure it comes off like a nice shiny success story. But what they don’t hear is that I sent more than 15,000 emails to make those deals happen (75% of those emails were most likely follow ups).

Writing that many emails wasn’t easy and on many occasions I was afraid to make “the ask.” One thing that always helped me overcome my own fear of asking was that I believed in myself and the thing I was asking for. If you don’t believe in what you’re asking for, you’re never going to overcome your initial fear.

Everyone wants to make good money, but most people are afraid to put in the hard work to make it happen. There were many times when I got discouraged when people said “no” to me. There were many times when I wanted to give up and thought my ideas weren’t good when I got negative criticism. But I believed in what I was selling and wanted it more than the feeling of rejection could dissuade me.

The simple magic to getting anything you want in life is just to ask.

The only caveat to simply asking for what you want is this: make sure you do it with creativity, confidence and effort.

When it comes to selling something online, your product or service most likely has competition. Someone else is already asking people to buy, so that alone should give you the validation and confidence to ask. But, you should also think about a unique or creative way you can package your ask so it stands out from the crowd.

When it comes to relationships, confidence is key. No one wants to talk to, let alone go on a date with, someone who has zero confidence. But just like asking for things, the more you work to build your confidence and the more practice you put in, the more results you’ll see. No one becomes confident overnight or by reading a few self-help books. You have to put in the work and not give up at the first sign of rejection.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens put it perfectly: “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”

Effort is truly a secret to success. No one has ever put in an insane amount of effort for something and not gotten some value out of it. The more you ask for things, in the right ways, the better you’ll get at it. And the better you get at asking, the amount of times you hear “yes” will increase.

You’re going to hear “no.” You’re going to feel rejected. You’re going to encounter negativity. But if you truly want whatever you’re asking for, you won’t and shouldn’t give up at the first sign or thought of adversity.

Start repeating these words to yourself every time you’re feeling hesitation: You don’t get what you don’t ask for.

If you enjoyed this article and want to read more of my writing, subscribe to my weekly newsletter (feel free to say “no” I certainly won’t mind).

TIME Careers & Workplace

11 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Failure

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Business failure won’t determine your future. Your response to it will

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This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

Question: What’s one piece of advice you have for other entrepreneurs struggling with the fear of failure?

Know That You Can Bounce Back

“Donald Trump famously filed for bankruptcy four separate times. By no means am I saying this should be part of your business plan, but as a worst-case scenario, it’s affirming to know that you can bounce back. In any business venture, the key is to ensure the business is structured such that your personal assets are insulated from the company so that you can always live to fight another day.” — Matt Ehrlichman, Porch

Don’t Waste Your Energy

“Let’s be straight: nobody wants to fail. But not wanting to fail and fearing failure are not the same. One is an attitude, the other is a mindset. If you are truly fearful of failure, you are wasting needed energy on something that has no benefit. Take that energy and redirect it toward iterating your current processes or diversifying your revenue stream so that failure is less of an option.” — Adam Callinan, Beachwood Ventures

Don’t Allow It to Stop You

“It’s been said that success is only a few steps after failure, but most people give up after they “fail” and never get there. If you can see failure through that lens and not allow the judgment of others or yourself to stop you, then you can make it to success!” — Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40 / Finance Whiz Kids

Don’t Be Afraid to Reach out for Help

“Entrepreneurship can be a struggle, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Knowing who to turn to when you need advice will help make the lows more bearable. When co-founders and investors may be unable to help, try to seek out an experienced entrepreneur distant enough from the business to offer the advice you need (whether it’s personal or professional).” — Tyler Arnold, SimplySocial Inc.

Consider the Worst-Case Scenario

“When I left my job to start my company, I evaluated the absolute worst-case scenario that could result from making this move. When you stop and think about the worst that could happen, it’s usually much less scary than when it was unknown. The fear of a business failing is an issue for your ego, but failing as a person can only happen if you don’t try in the first place.” — Chris Hunter, Phusion Projects

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

“Being an entrepreneur is all about feeling uncomfortable but moving forward anyway. Learn to appreciate your discomfort, and wear it like a badge of courage. Celebrate your fear of failure, and you will eventually disempower it.” — Corey Blake, Round Table Companies

Learn From Your Mistakes to Prevent Failure

“The only time you fail is when you don’t learn from your mistake. If you’ve learned a lesson in defeat, then go back out and apply your new knowledge. I’ve made tons of mistakes, but I’ve had very few “failures” because I make those missteps valuable experiences.” — Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk

Be Afraid

“If you aren’t afraid anymore, then you aren’t pushing your boundaries anymore either. That little twinge of fear of failure means you just might be onto something, or you’re at least heading in the right direction. Embrace that fear, and use it as fuel to take the next big steps.” — James Simpson, GoldFire Studios

Fail Fast

“There are two big benefits from trying and failing quickly. Number one is that you can quickly figure out what isn’t working and iterate to find a new solution that is better. Number two is that each failure lessens the sting a bit, so the quicker you can get acclimated to the idea that not everything will work, the better.” — Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes

Talk About It

“Too often, entrepreneurs feel they must be eternally optimistic, particularly in front of employees, customers and investors. It’s essential to have trusted confidantes with whom you can be completely honest — for better or worst — and talk through some of your biggest challenges and deepest fears.” — Martina Welke, Zealyst

Be Humble

“An entrepreneur’s success is laced with failure. A first failure teaches us the humility we need to be successful. The sooner you fail, the sooner you realize you don’t have all of the answers. You get hungry, and you work harder. You seek advice, you share stories, and you connect with people. It helps you control your emotions because you’ve been there befor. And ultimately, it keeps you humble.” — Jonathan Boyle, Guns & Oil Beer Co.

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