Insight

9 TED Talks to Help You to Conquer Your Quarter-Life Crisis

“Quarter-life crisis: a crisis that may be experienced in one’s twenties, involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life.”

Congrats! By the time you landed in this post, you’re already one step closer in conquering your fear of facing what future holds for you. By acknowledging that there’s something bothering you deep down in your heart, the faster you can adjust your life pace and head towards the (maybe) right direction.

Well, these past few weeks have been rough on me. With all so-called deep contemplations, I found it hard to be fully aware that now I’m responsible for my life choices. To define what matters for myself and pick which road to go.

Like what other millennials out there doing, I also compare my life to my friends’ life in daily basis (thanks to Instagram stories). “Oh, A has done that, B has gone to many wonderful places, C has married with my best friend, and D…oh that’s me (Dhila).”

Then, I ended up unfollowing half of my friends, in order to declutter my life noise. To reduce that constant feeling of insecurity.

One of my friends who noticed something strange happened to me, shared a link to a TED talk which talks about “Quarter-Life Crisis”. OH! So, that’s what this feeling is all about. People in my age are facing this too! I’m not alone!

*Michael Jackson’s You’re Not Alone starts to fade in*

I spent almost half of my day watching talks after talks, and spent the rest writing the lesson learnt from them.

Now, I want to share several of those interesting TED Talks that helped me going through the crisis. Hopefully, they may also help you go through yours. Get ready! Don’t forget to put your phone in airplane mode. Put away things that might become a distraction in the process of understanding your inner self. Yes, please lock that door behind you.


1. Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability
First thing first, it’s okay to let people know your that you’re vulnerable. Accepting who you really are will make you stronger, and help you to be a better person.

“In our culture, we associate vulnerability with emotions we want to avoid such as fear, shame, and uncertainty. Yet we too often lose sight of the fact that vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.”


2. Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do 
Then, try to understand the core needs that shape your behavior, which are: certainty, significance, variety, love/connection, growth and contribution. That way, you will be able to take back control over your life, and find what really matters to help you find the path to a lasting fulfillment.

“What is your motive for action? What is it that drives you in your life today? Not 10 years ago. Are you running the same pattern? Because I believe that the invisible force of internal drive, activated, is the most important thing.”


3. Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20  
Note that overnight success takes years. Often, the quarter-life crisis happens to people who are feeling impatient about not living up to their potential. Or feeling like they are falling behind their friends. Well, your life is not a race.

What matters is that you need to put the time and effort for developing yourself towards your future aspirational lifestyles, while simultaneously appreciating what you already have on your plate now.

“Thirty is not the new 20, so claim your adulthood, get some identity capital, use your weak ties, pick your family. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life right now.”


4. Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career
Next, identify the excuses you may have that won’t make you go anywhere. After all, life is about picking the choices that matter to you.

“…and that’s why you’re not going to have a great career, unless — unless, that most evocative of all English words — unless. But the unless word is also attached to that other, most terrifying phrase, ‘If only I had … ‘. If you ever have that thought ricocheting in your brain, it will hurt a lot.”


5. Adam “Smiley” Poswolsky: Refusing to settle, the quarter-life crisis

You’re not the only one who deal with the quarter-life crisis. Discover how others conquer theirs and turn their life to become more meaningful.

“… if you find believers now, if you stop comparing yourself to others now, and if you hustle to pursue what is meaningful to you now, you will change your life, you will change the lives of others, and you will change the world.”


6. Kio Stark: Why you should talk to strangers 
Hit the pause button. Observe your surroundings and try to connect with strangers. Magically, you’ll feel better and more grateful.

“Researchers have found that people often feel more comfortable being honest and open about their inner selves with strangers than they do with their friends and their families, that they often feel more understood by strangers.”


7. Kathryn Schulz: Don’t regret regret

You may had taken the wrong path or had the worst day in your life. Instead of trying to erase the memories of your downs or live life without regret, why don’t you try to embrace your regrets instead?

“We need to learn to love the flawed, imperfect things that we create and to forgive ourselves for creating them. Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly. It reminds us that we know we can do better.”


8. Emilie Wapnick: Why some of us don’t have one true calling
You’re ready to move on and make meaningful progress. However, you’re confused in finding the particular one thing you want to focus on for the rest of your life. The good news is, well you may not have to pick just one. Maybe you’re a “multipotentialite”.

“In fact, some of the best teams are comprised of a specialist and multipotentialite paired together. The specialist can dive in deep and implement ideas, while the multipotentialite brings a breadth of knowledge to the project. It’s a beautiful partnership.”


9. Diana Nyad: Never, ever give up  
Feeling like you’re already late in making a significant change in your life? Well, listen to a story from Nyad who accomplished her lifetime dream of becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida in the age of 64. Yes, you read it right. 64 not 24.

“…the truth is, I’m walking around tall because I am that bold, fearless person, and I will be, every day, until it’s time for these days to be done.”


Finally, you might find that a quarter-life crisis is actually not a crisis. It’s a process of catalysing your personal growth.

Challenging the personal status quo by going through experiences that you think you can’t do. Taking options you never had before. Knowing what’s important and start prioritizing on what matters in the world full of endless opportunities.

All you have to do, is just believe that after all this hell of a ride, you’ll find that you are capable of doing so much more. So, don’t be afraid to be the best and the most authentic version of you.

Yes, you are now okay to open that door.


This article was originally published in Fadhila Hasna Athaya’s personal blog.