Job hunt, TED Talks, workplace, communication skills, soft skills
WORKPLACE SUCCESS / 14 December 2016
Success In Life and Work: 5 Speeches To Get You There
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Victoria Khau

So you’re about to begin your job hunt and all of a sudden, all these questions start to pervade your mind: What am I good at? What do I love to do? Am I good enough? What if I actually suck at everything and learned nothing in college?!

(^ Same, Spongebob...same)

Socially, we are pressured and conditioned to see life as a linear route. We start tunnel-visioning what it means to be happy and successful. Our journey to excellence becomes simplified into: 

  1. Get a job
  2. Make money
  3. Be happy

But when was the last time someone told you that uncertainty and failure and discomfort were just as important, and are necessary precursors, to achievement? That success in the workplace expands beyond what you’re “good at”?

The following 5 speeches will grant you some serious career wisdom by addressing issues that you may not think are conventional measures of success. 


In a world full of social categories, it seems that we just can’t escape labels. Especially in this day and age, we might even feel unaccomplished for not having that one thing we’re good at. “I’m still trying to figure it out” has become almost routine. 

But Trespicio says that “passion is not a’s a feeling.”

Passion should be used to describe a love of craft, and not as a barrier that we place upon ourselves. Trespicio explains that many refuse to seek unfamiliar experiences out of fear with doubt that it might not be their true passion. But doing that denies ourselves any and all opportunities to grow.

“You don’t create your life and then live it,” Trespicio says. “You create it by living it.”


Naturally, we want to be around people that validate us. That’s why we find it easier to open up and hang out with people that share the same interests or values that we do. But according to Heffernan, conflict and disagreement isn’t always a bad thing!


But wait, isn’t conflict something we typically try to avoid?Heffernan insists that while conflict is uncomfortable, it is always a powerful tool for thinking and creativity because it places us in situations in which we are forced to use and develop our problem-solving perspective, especially in a work environment.Validation feels great, but we should also seek people that are different from us. Having friends that act as an “echo chamber” will deter us from the many great, unique perspectives out there.


How many times have you avoided doing something because you told yourself that you simply were just not good at it? Have you ever blamed your failures on your lack of natural ability?

It’s not uncommon to place limitations on ourselves, whether it be with our intelligence, looks, ability, or social skills. But Duckworth explains that success has nothing to do with any of those things.What actually matters is GRIT. Grit is described as having the stamina and ongoing perseverance for long-term goals. In other words, it is hard work with a purpose. Once we understand that failure is not permanent and grit CAN be practiced, we can then begin our growth mindset.


Typically we refer to two groups of people: those that are creative, and those that are not. More often than not, we find ourselves identifying with one or the other. But David Kelley urges us to rid that limiting mindset.For a lot of people, creativity is a scary word. People that describe themselves as “analytical” might be uncomfortable with it, but maybe because their creative confidence has been shattered at some point in their lives. But who’s to say that an engineer can’t also love to do fine art? 

Kelley urges us to reach for self-efficacy and ingrain in ourselves that you can always do what you set out to do, even if we tell ourselves that we can’t. Finally, let’s finish with a great bonus speech:


WongFu Production’s founder Philip Wang keeps it 100% real in his commencement speech for 2016 UCSD grads.There’s seriously too much wisdom in this one, so let’s sum up with a TL;DR You will not have one job forever.“You will be constantly questioning, shifting, and building your career.”“It’s ok to not be sure yet.”Don’t chase your passion….become passionate about what you chase.“Take your time, but don’t waste your time.”

Wang reminds us that ultimately, we are all human. Our “passions”, careers, and jobs cease to have meaning when we forget to live and experience. So go ahead and do it: apply for that job, even if you’re scared. Explore your interests, even if it might not end up being your passion. Persevere, even if you’re “not good at it”. Every failure is a success in itself. 

Check out more posts like these 
here on ProSky's blog!