Inspirational TED talks that could change your life

Sometimes when you're feeling down, lost or unfocused, it can be helpful to sit back and gain some perspective.

Next time you're in need of some extra drive and motivation or are just looking for something interesting to keep you occupied on your bus journey to work, try out one of these brilliant TED talks.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and each TED talk promises to feature "ideas worth spreading." TED's speaker events launched in 1984, and there are currently thousands of talks from official and independent (TEDx) events available online.

Here are five we love to listen back to again and again…

1. Panti Bliss – All The Little Things (TEDxDublin)
A very timely talk, given that the Marriage Equality referendum is just weeks away. Draq queen Panti (a.k.a. Rory O' Neill) has been one of the most high profile faces of the Yes campaign, and in this TEDx talk she describes the frustration of living in a society where being homosexual is still not widely accepted.


2. Lizzie Velasquez – How YOU Define Yourself (TEDxAustin)
As just one of three people in the world who suffers from a rare syndrome preventing her from gaining any weight, Lizzie has endured a lifetime of bullying and ignorance. She says her turning point came when she found a YouTube video of herself titled "World's Ugliest Woman," with millions of views. Now Lizzie is using her own situation to inspire others to define themselves on their own terms, and to rise above negative comments.


3. Meg Jay – Why 30 Is Not The New 20 (TED 2013)
Many of us twenty-somethings are led to believe we have a whole decade to do what we want with, to make mistakes galore. We'll work it all out in our thirties, right? Not according to clinical psychologist Meg Jay, who says our twenties are the defining years of our lives and that we should do our best to make them count.


4. Cameron Russell – Looks Aren't Everything. Believe Me, I'm a Model (TEDxMidAtlantic)
Model Cameron Russell admits she won the "genetic lottery," with looks that allowed her to become a successful model from an early age. However she agrees that the commercial idea of beauty is superficial, and is doing everything in her power to be admired for more than her looks.


5. Susan Cain – The Power of Introverts (TED 2012)
At least one third of people in the world are introverts, meaning they thrive in quieter and more intimate environments, and can often feel drained by being in large groups of people for extended lengths of time. Author (and self-confessed introvert) Susan Cain says our schools and workplaces are designed to allow only one group of people to succeed – the extroverts.