5 TED Talks That Will Change The Way You View Success

Success can mean different things to different people: getting what you want; wanting what you get; “stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” (Winston Churchill); a life well lived and loved; a life that you can be proud to have lived. The important thing is to define what success means to you. If you can’t quite answer that question, if all you have is a rudimentary mass of ideas about what it will take for you to be successful, each of these five videos will have something to offer you.

Success is a Continuous Journey, by Richard St. John

In this video, bestselling author Richard St.John emphasises that success is a continuous journey: you have to continue being successful. He illustrates his premise by sharing the story of his business’s rise to success and then to failure to teach us that when we stop trying, we fail. As Winston Churchill famously opined, “success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” St John spent a decade researching the subject of success and wrote his seminal book: “The 8 Traits Successful People Have in Common" using the results of his research – you can also watch the video below.

The 8 Secrets of Success by, Richard St John

In this TED talk, Richard St John answers the question of why some people succeed, whereas others don’t.  Is it because they’re smarter than others? Is it to do with luck? St Johns compresses a decade’s worth of his research on success into this presentation.


The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding, by John Wooden

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming.”John Wooden

With attractive and engaging simplicity, Coach John Wooden  (he’s a high-profile basketball coach) calls for a redefining of success, calling on us to instead pursue the very best in ourselves. Packed with insight and wisdom, he also shares the advice he imparts to his players at UCLA and even quotes poetry.


Perspective is Everything, by Roy Sutherland

 “The power of reframing things cannot be overstated.” Roy Sutherland

British “advertising guru”, “wiki man” and vice chairman of Ogilvy Group, Roy Sutherland, believes that it isn’t the circumstances of our lives that matters most, but how we see them. In a witty and engaging talk (with the odd expletive thrown in), he makes a highly convincing, eloquent case for how reframing is the key to success. His talk is humorous too (“If you’re an upper middle class English person you call unemployment ‘a year off"), replete with insights about the power of reframing in changing the way we interpret success.


Embrace the near win, by Sarah Lewis

“The near win is inbuilt to mastery. Sarah Lewis

Art historian, curator and critic Sarah Lewis has served on Obama’s National Arts Policy Committee and is widely regarded as a powerful and influential voice on the relationships between culture, history and identity. Her first book, The Rise, looks at the idea of failure and its essential role in success.

In this TED talk, she puts forward a compelling case for “embracing the near win”, which she says can “propel us on our ongoing quest”.

Which are your favourite TED talks on success? Add them to the comments box below.