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How to Be a Better Human

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Join How to Be a Better Human as we take a look within and beyond ourselves.

How to Be a Better Human isn’t your average self improvement podcast. Each week join comedian Chris Duffy in conversation with guests and past speakers as they uncover sharp insights and give clear takeaways on how YOU can be a better human.

From your work to your home and your head to your heart, How to Be a Better Human looks in unexpected places for new ways to improve and show up for one another. Inspired by the popular series of the same name on TED’s Ideas blog, How to Be a Better Human will help you become a better person from the comfort of your own headphones.
138 Episodes
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We all have habits - the good and not-so good kind. But can we use them to our advantage? In this week’s episode, Chris is joined by James Clear, entrepreneur and author of #1 New York Times bestseller, “Atomic Habits”, for a conversation about the power of habitual behavior. They discuss the science of habit formation, how to understand the forces that motivate you, and why the sum of many little habits can add up to a better life. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
Some people are born knowing exactly what they want to do with their life – and because of that, they’re able to get to the top of their field. But most of us have multiple passions and identities, making it difficult to visualize our own unique paths.. So, how do we explore who we are and what we love to do in our careers and in our lives? This week, guest & TED Fellow Constance Hockaday helps us navigate and voice our deepest hopes and desires. She walks us through her perspective as an artist, what she’s learned from immersing herself into small and sometimes very isolated communities, and gives tips on how to find liberation by pursuing your passion. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
Keeping hope and courage alive before the many pains and promises of the world can be tough. So how do you do it? Journalist and host of podcast On Being, Krista Tippett, has spent a career interviewing some of the world's wisest people in search of answers to that question. Krista shares with Chris her thoughts on how to coexist with life’s existential questions, dives into the state of spirituality in modern life — and makes a case for finding the fundamental goodness that we all have to offer. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
There are more opportunities for women in the workplace today than there ever have been. But with stagnant wage gaps, limited parental leave, and enduring bias in recruitment, have modern businesses changed THAT much?? Gender equity expert Sara Sanford says there's work to do–and in this episode, she shares how she developed a certified playbook that helps companies use data-backed standards to fight gender bias. Tune in to hear why inclusive work requires that we change not just how people think, but also how the workplace operates.
Stories are such a powerful human invention that even the fictional ones can feel completely true. Dina Nayeri is a writer of fiction and nonfiction whose work highlights just how influential the stories we tell can be – and what is at risk when the truth isn’t valued. Dina speaks from her experience as a storyteller and former refugee about the importance of shaping a society that is thoughtful about language, history, culture, and truth. Then, she suggests frameworks anyone can use to think critically about what they think they know -- and questions why certain stories are more likely to be believed. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
If you’ve ever felt apprehensive about trying something seemingly woo-woo to improve your mental health (like meditation, mindfulness, or simply touching grass) you're not alone. Dan Harris was a mindfulness skeptic anchoring on ABC News when an on-air panic attack sent him into a journey that had him searching for what constitutes well-being. Dan hosts the Ten Percent Happier podcast, and authored a book of the same name. This March, he celebrates the book's 10th anniversary. With a skeptic’s sense of humor and a curious, philosophizing mind, Dan talks about what he's learned in his exploration of meditation, mindfulness, and happiness. You’ll hear about the scientific data that could sway even the toughest cynic – and learn the tools and tricks that can help you build the skills that can make life (and you) a little bit better. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
Romantic love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – at least that’s one way positive psychologist Barbara Fredrickson puts it. Barbara’s decades of research suggest that emotions outside of our narrow definition of love are just as important to our well-being. In this episode, Barbara shares what to look for when we want to broaden our experience of positive emotions, and suggests ways to build the consistent connection and care at the heart of our best relationships. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
In her critically acclaimed Showtime docuseries, Couples Therapy, clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Dr. Orna Guralnik thinks deeply about relationships, emotions, and connection. In this episode, Dr. Guralnik explains why she believes psychoanalysis helps us love better, dispels myths about the right time to go to therapy, and gives tips on how to unblock our relationship with the world around us. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
If there's one thing this show believes in, it's that finding joy and comedy in life is essential when being human gets tough. Wajahat Ali is a writer who knows this well. His charming and powerful stories bring to light the funny -- and difficult truth-- of life outside of the mainstream. Chris hears from Wajahat about his experiences as a brown Muslim in America and as a father whose young daughter had a complicated health diagnosis. Wajahat's heartwarming wisdom on the importance of letting go (and celebrating the good with the bad, even in the bleakest times) will have you reassessing everything -- from your worst self-destructive tendencies to what you value most. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts Wajahat's latest book, "Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American" is out now.
Wanting to “find yourself” isn’t something that only happens in coming-of-age movies – anyone, at any age, can wonder what it’d be like to have a different life. Bevy Smith knows this. A self-described late bloomer, Bevy shares what she’s learned from changing careers at the age of 38, and retells the story of how she completely uprooted her life to pursue her wildest dreams. Bevy also gives tips on how to stop second-guessing your desires – and names the one quality everyone needs to be their happiest selves. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
If you’ve ever opened up social media in the hopes that it would cheer you up only for it to leave you upset, angry, or tired, you are not alone. So what if we could turn that special power the internet has to change our emotions – and use it for good? The head of TED, Chris Anderson, joins Chris Duffy to talk about why he believes in what he calls infectious generosity. Join the two Chrises as they discuss how we can turn outrage back into optimism by tapping into one of the most fundamental human virtues. Chris Anderson’s book, Infectious Generosity, is out now. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
There’s a saying about two things that are inevitable in this world, and Alua Arthur wants to help you think about one of them with less fear. No, she’s not a tax professional – she’s a death doula, a person who supports dying people and their loved ones. A former lawyer, Alua shares what we can all learn when we purposefully think about the end of life, whether that is our own or someone else’s. From finding joy in our everyday lives to navigating the emotional, legal, and spiritual decisions that arise around, Alua’s wisdom will inspire you pursue to live, and “go”, with grace. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
Have you ever recalled a story only to have someone point out "that's not how it went"? Well, what happens when what we misrepresent are our historical narratives? David Ikard is a Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University. In this episode, he talks about the societal and personal dangers of inaccurate history knowledge, and uncovers the real story of one of history’s most iconic figures. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
What makes YOU happy? Dr. Robert Waldinger is the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, an 83-year-old project that tracks how life experience across decades affects health and wellbeing in middle age and beyond. Robert shares the surprising things he’s learned about what makes a meaningful life and what to do --or avoid-- in order to have a long, fulfilling existence. To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman
What’s your favorite dish — and what culture originated that recipe? Whether you’re thinking about grilled cheese, burritos, curry, pho… (we would go on but we are getting too hungry) trying something delicious opens you up to new experiences and conversations. Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, is a chef and food educator who focuses on revitalizing and reclaiming indigenous food systems in a modern culinary context. In today’s episode, he shares how increasing access to indigenous food practices can liberate more than just your taste buds. Sean, also known as The Sioux Chef, uses Native American recipes as well as farming, harvesting, wild food usage, salt and sugar making, food preservation, and land stewardship techniques to feed and educate communities in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. His vision of modern indigenous foods have garnered him many accolades, including the 2018 Bush Foundation Fellowship and the 2018 James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook, and a 2019 James Beard Leadership Award. You can follow Sean at https://sioux-chef.com/ To learn more about "How to Be a Better Human," host Chris Duffy, or find footnotes and additional resources, please visit: go.ted.com/betterhuman
Maurine “Mighty Mo'' Kornfeld will soon turn 102 years old, and most days, you can catch her doing laps in a Los Angeles public swimming pool. And that’s not just because she regularly competes in – and wins – world swimming championships! It’s because she loves being in the water, despite only picking up swimming as a hobby well into her sixties. In this special episode, Maurine shares what she’s learned from doing something she loves almost every day, why it’s never too late to start something new, and the three things anyone can do to improve their life, no matter their age. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
This show is all about growth – and it’s always inspiring to know that the amazing guests we bring on still see room in their own lives to become better humans. This season TED Audio Collective+ subscribers on Apple Podcasts received bonus content, where guests shared the ideas that inspire them and the issues they are passionate about working on. We picked our favorites as a thank you to all listeners – but if you WANT to support this show, you can learn more about TED Audio Collective+ at podcasts.apple.com/ted-audio-collective
Keyboard and mouse clicks, the song of an ice cream truck, a neighbor’s yapping dog – what kind of noises soundtrack your life? Today’s guest, Dallas Taylor, is the host and creator of the Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast, a show about the world's most recognizable and interesting sounds. In this episode, he shares why sounds can tell deeper stories – and how tuning IN to the noise of the world can help us tap into the wild depths of our imagination. For the full text transcript, visit go.ted.com/BHTranscripts
There’s a saying that comedy is tragedy plus time. Perhaps that’s why some of our biggest problems feel easiest to manage with a dose of humor. Comedian, journalist, and actor Roy Wood Jr. has spent his career finding silly in the serious and using this tactic to influence real change. Listen in to learn how you can tap into the powers of humor in your own life. This episode was edited from a live conversation as part of TED’s Membership programming. TED Membership is the best way to support and engage with the big ideas you love from TED. To learn more visit ted.com/membership
Liana Finck’s cartoons explore life’s big predicaments: what to make for dinner, how to leave a party without being rude, how to feel like more than a snack machine once you have a child. In today’s episode, Liana shares how drawing has become a practice for her to answer questions, solve problems, and why creating art helps humans understand ourselves better. Liana also discusses why she’s not bothered by impostor syndrome (okay maybe it helps that she regularly contributes to The New Yorker) and how she navigates the feelings of doubt we all experience with honesty and humor.
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Comments (54)

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Mar 20th
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Feb 25th
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Feb 16th
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Feb 13th
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Sep 6th
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Aug 21st
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Aug 16th
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Jul 13th
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Feb 10th
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