Why TED talks do not change your life

With over 4 million subscribers on YouTube we can conclude that TED talks are quite popular.
The speakers touch upon many different fascinating phenomena in the world.
Many talks cover topics surrounding personal growth. Apparently we like hearing about how we can become happier, how we can change our life and how we become our most fulfilled selves.

Yet, how many of us actually put this in to practice?
“Very few, if any” says Tom Asacker in his fascinating talk. “I don’t get enough sleep, I still use too many paper towels and I still buy bottled water” he says.

Why is that? Why don’t we do what we know we should do? Are we incapable?
Most of the time we are perfectly capable. We are even willing. And sometimes we even know how we can achieve it. Yet, our motivation will not sustain long enough to actually accomplish it.
Our minds are dynamic systems, which are influenced by our changing perceptions and desires.
We are fully motivated during and after the speeches we hear. But that paper towel seems quite handy when you want to dry your hands and buying a bottle of water sure is convenient.

You could conclude that humans are a bit lazy. But intrinsic motivation is the key word to explain our behavior. Behavior will not change without intrinsic motivation that matches the message of the speech. Motivation will melt away quickly when it is extrinsically imposed on us through any kind of motivational talk.

So, can a motivational talk never incite a behavioral change?
It can. When our desire matches the one of the speaker and when our perception of this desire is the same across different situations.

Go watch the whole talk here!