12 TED talks that will change the way you think about your career

We all know the conventional career advice.

Confidence is important. Dress for the job you want. Be authentic (but not too authentic). Follow your dreams (but also make a living). Don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary, always use spell check, and once and for all, stop eating lunch at your desk. 

But some of the most valuable advice is the stuff doesn’t get repeated ad nauseam, which is why TED put together a playlist showcasing the best unconventional — and counterintuitive — career wisdom ever discussed on their stages.

We watched them all. Here’s what we learned.

Susan Colantuono: There's a reason there aren't more women in the C-suite -- and it's not the one you think.

Nigel Marsh: Flexible hours and generous parental policies are NOT the keys to work-life balance.

Pretty much everyone is on board with the concept of work-life balance, but according Marsh, a writer and marketing expert, pretty much everyone is thinking about it wrong.

'Some job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged on a day-to-day basis with a young family,' he says, and no amount of 'flexitime,' is going to fundamentally change that.

'Corporations aren't going to solve this issue for us,' he says, pointing out that it's almost always in the company's interest to keep you at work (that's the dark side of employee perks: if they offer childcare, you can stay even longer.)

Instead, he uses his talk to advocate for an alternative solution: change the time frame for balance (a day is too short; after you retire is too long), and -- perhaps most importantly -- make the right investments in the right places.

Simon Sinek: People don't buy WHAT you do -- they buy WHY you do it.

Shawn Achor: You'll perform better if you're happy.

Amy Cuddy: Use your body to change your mind.

Larry Smith: You might fail. But if you don't follow your passion, you'll definitely fail.

Mellody Hobson: Pretending you don't see race doesn't serve anyone.

Margaret Heffernan: Don't avoid people who think you're wrong -- work with them.

Sarah Lewis: The 'near win' matters MORE than success.

Angela Lee Duckworth: Grit -- not talent, not intelligence -- is the key to success.

Stefan Sagmeister: Taking time off is good for you AND good for business.

Bel Pesce: Don't let your goals kill your dreams.

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