Stop trying so hard. Achieve more by doing less. | Bethany Butzer | TEDxUNYP

  • Published on Feb 21, 2018
  • Bethany Butzer, Author, Speaker, Researcher & Lecturer at the University of New York in Prague explains the concept of "down stream effort" and how to live life and achieve goals effectively and efficiently without over exertion. The majority of Bethany’s professional work involves teaching, writing, and doing research in the field of positive psychology, which emphasizes the development of human strength and potential. She received her PhD in psychology from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.
    Bethany has worked in the corporate world and in academia, and she has also spent several years as an entrepreneur. From 2013 to 2015 she was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School, where she studied the effects of yoga in school settings.
    Bethany currently lives in Prague, where she is teaching an undergraduate positive psychology course at the University of New York in Prague and continuing to study yoga and mindfulness for youth. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Comments • 439

  • Sulaiman Huang
    Sulaiman Huang 11 hours ago

    Downstream effort is less unheard now, Jeffrey Allen in mindvalley likes to talk about it. But i'm so impressed in this talk that it concludes many things i've heard in very simple way. Law of attraction (that authentic feeling is what matters), psychology flow (there's a section of it in Focus, Daniel Goleman), true meaning of success, etc. Good ideas well spreaded 👍

  • Marley - ite
    Marley - ite Day ago

    I wish I could show this to the office robots that I have to do interface with on Monday morning.

  • Barney Longacre
    Barney Longacre Day ago

    Pure babbling

  • DIY Everything
    DIY Everything Day ago

    I am just trying to apply what I learned from this video to my current difficult situation. Before I got into nursing school, I used to love reading health articles,books, watch health videos, and work out. Now I see it very difficult to study nursing and it's very boring. Teachers are rude and arrogant, this made my learning experience very difficult. About 60% of what we learn in Nursing doesn't apply in the real world. Now I stopped working out as a result of the stress nursing education has caused me. I feel like I am trying hard definitely in the upstream direction. My values didn't change. I still enjoy to read about health however my goal has changed as I don't want to study nursing anymore.

    Success to me right now is to be debt free from all the loans I took for university education. I don't care about being rich.I don't care about achieving anything. I believe the real achievement anyone can reach is to free themselves from enslavement. We live in a time where people can't find jobs easily, and if they ever find a job they have to enslave themselves to the job, work long hours, and probably hold two jobs just to pay off bills. I just want to be debt free, and I want to be free from enslavement. Likely I have to enslave myself to a work that I don't like just to pay off my school loans, and this is why I feel forced to continue working upstream to graduate and get a nursing job that pays well just to pay off my school loans. Otherwise I wish I can quit nursing right now and get any job even if it pays less than a nursing job. Going downstream right now is not an option, easy to say than done.

  • Beknazar Suranchiyev
    Beknazar Suranchiyev 2 days ago +1

    Great! Thanks! I learned from this video that we need to make sure our inner environment should support we do in daily basis

    FREAKOUT TENT 2 days ago +2

    Don't ever grow up. It's a trap.

  • Joe Anderson
    Joe Anderson 3 days ago

    I'm successful. I love the attention.

  • Damian Volk
    Damian Volk 4 days ago

    Downstream effort seems to mean, use your parents’ upstream effort to support you while you achieve emotional well being. Good thing she doesn’t have to pay a mortgage. First world nonsense.

  • TheGolden Hour
    TheGolden Hour 5 days ago

    Very good, thank you

  • Andrea Cook
    Andrea Cook 6 days ago

    A mixture of obvious stuff with a bit of made up nonsense. Thanks for that. I can't believe she got away with this bobbins.

  • 6 days ago

    Check Out: The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason audio book (4:53.40) on RU-clip. Slow and steady growth, inch by inch it's a sinch, baby steps count too.

  • Zahid H Khan
    Zahid H Khan 7 days ago


  • Zsófia Tóth
    Zsófia Tóth 9 days ago

    Really great talk, I loved it.

  • Mohamed Alfaris
    Mohamed Alfaris 9 days ago

    This so important and many adults discover really late in their life. Especially the part of how you want to feel every day, we stopped following our hearts and follow what’s trending in society for so long until we discover really late that we are not into it and that’s the reason we feel terrible every day. There no way we would feel good when we go against what we value in our hearts, we have to experiment but always use our feelings as compass and that requires a daily or weekly reflection.

  • Lee Murray
    Lee Murray 9 days ago

    "I was addicted to achieving success."
    *Gives a TEDx talk*

    • Lee Murray
      Lee Murray 9 days ago

      Yeah she's super academic. Identify this .. identify that ... Academic speak. Nothing really new here. Too much reading and not enough reality.

  • Ralph Sandy
    Ralph Sandy 10 days ago

    in short, IDGAF to anyone's opinion. I am my own master!

  • Jaime Alonzo
    Jaime Alonzo 11 days ago

    King solomon says in the book of Ecclesiastes: vanity, vanity, vanity of vanities!how does a man prosper? with all of his labor in which he toils under the sun? If generations go, and generations come, yet the only thing that remains is the earth.

  • Quebec Sucks
    Quebec Sucks 11 days ago

    very good, thank you...and breathe

  • Cindy Lou
    Cindy Lou 13 days ago

    I am not a go go Type A type of person at all. In a perfect world everything I want would show up at my doorstep and fall right into my lap.

  • Human
    Human 14 days ago

    Funny but sad that this poor girl went as far as to get a psychology PHD and yet she never learned or figured out the basics. Lol. 🙄 Sad 😢. And is insecure. Typical PHd person. And it appears she thinks we are all like her. She needs more education. 🤣. Educated but not intelligent. Doing well accedemically means she was avoiding the real world. She never let go of the school system apron strings. Like most teachers.

  • 현정범
    현정범 15 days ago

    You studied hard , thats why You are telling your story in TED. 😊😊

  • EK Lim
    EK Lim 15 days ago

    outsiders would call this mid life crisis, mistake, out of your mind, wasted potentials etc

  • Avdhoot Bane
    Avdhoot Bane 15 days ago


  • Darren Starr
    Darren Starr 16 days ago

    These ideas come from Abraham Hicks and she is passing them off as her own.

  • Lazer G
    Lazer G 18 days ago

    So long and boring..

  • Web Surfer
    Web Surfer 18 days ago +1

    Being is way more important than doing, being more results in having more, whereas doing more often doesn't.

  • Nick G
    Nick G 18 days ago +6

    Xcellent. Very strait forward and to the point!-) Thank you 🙏

  • Adolfo Passamani
    Adolfo Passamani 19 days ago

    Best TEDx ever! Thank you :-)

  • Ali haj yehia
    Ali haj yehia 20 days ago

    Thank you ⚘

  • Mohamed Bourmad
    Mohamed Bourmad 23 days ago

    Definitely, this one of the greatest talk on goals and achievement. The authentic goals change depending on our current passion in life, My deeper understanding of downstream efforts is to stay aware of what is currently passionate about at the moment and align your goals in an authentic way.

  • Radiculously Rawthentic

    Yes, the ease is in flowing with life!

  • Radiculously Rawthentic
    Radiculously Rawthentic 27 days ago +4

    Yes, wearing our busyness as a badge of honor while it burns us out and we lack joy & fulfillment in life.

  • Radiculously Rawthentic

    I can totally relate to this!!!

  • CaptainKarma1972
    CaptainKarma1972 28 days ago

    Truth ! Well Said Madam !

  • Katherine George
    Katherine George 28 days ago


  • Mohammad Sabour
    Mohammad Sabour Month ago

    Unfortunately in young ages it's difficult to understand such subjects and values. It seems without upstream it's kind of impossible to achieve downstream.

  • Elvie Salas
    Elvie Salas Month ago


  • Elvie Salas
    Elvie Salas Month ago


  • Amanda Ouellet
    Amanda Ouellet Month ago

    Did Harvard teach ya what up stream and down stream is?

  • well being
    well being Month ago

    All motion with no notion?.

  • a
    a Month ago

    Good speech without umms know

  • Peter
    Peter Month ago

    I'm quite old now, but will attest to the priciples of this philosophy. When I worked I only 6 hours a day for 4+ days a week. How was this, I didn't waste time driving in grid-lock traffic so I would arrive about 10am, when in the office I would leave about 4pm. However, I worked like a whirlwind for those 6 hours, nothing got in my way, not Lunch or anything. In that time I set my appointments for the week and rarely went to the office until Friday. I generally earnt 2 to 3 times the average, I disposed of my mortgage thirty years ago, I love paying all my bills when or before they're due, so I have zero debt, money in the bank, and really don't give a darn about material things. It's all in the attitude. Do what you have to do, be effective, then spend real time with your loved ones, go out sailing or whatever. Gain Contentment.

  • Mohammed Shafei
    Mohammed Shafei Month ago

    Obviously not trying so hard to get to the bloody point...

  • Lucy Cky
    Lucy Cky Month ago

    Just do things that personally mater

  • Kayla Watt
    Kayla Watt 2 months ago


  • Ultraviolet Morgan
    Ultraviolet Morgan 2 months ago

    I feel like she is a real life Rory Gilmore...

  • Miki Taoist
    Miki Taoist 2 months ago +3

    I am so happy to see that the speaker in this video quotes one of the TAO's saying.
    I took the words of "down stream effort" as going along the law of the universe.
    I am a Taoist.

  • Stephan Azor
    Stephan Azor 2 months ago +1

    Bethany Butzer could also do well as a voice actor. IMO

  • Minimalist Lifeu
    Minimalist Lifeu 2 months ago

    This is so me at work. I end up taking long breaks in between jobs

  • Matteo Rodrigues
    Matteo Rodrigues 2 months ago

    Anthony Montana from Scarface wouldn't agree.

  • StoneBrain
    StoneBrain 2 months ago

    Sick of trying so hard to be happy. All these songs and quotes about living in the moment stresses me out. Tired of thinking optimistic thoughts and forcing away the negative. It's only making me feel worse.

  • Diana Shcherbakova
    Diana Shcherbakova 2 months ago +1

    THANK YOU so much!!! Wonderful speaker, and every word is extremely supportive! Thank YOU!

  • nupur kanungo
    nupur kanungo 3 months ago

    Wow!!!.... So clear and spot on... The best.. I have been engaged in downstream effort for a long time now.. It's a very empowering process... Bcoz with every passing day the power to live in a downstream way grows.. Bcoz, u see urself not only surviving.. But also becoming more peaceful and strong within... My current challenge is to achieve financial stability by working downstream... I think I will get there.. Also thanks for making me aware... That u become completely engrossed in that effort... I have been like that and I thought it was a, I know it's part of the process 🙂...also this is in line with the law of attraction.. Align with the frequency of comfort and happiness and situations, people and resources, to make u happier and more comfortable will appear in ur life.. Thanks... God bless🙏.. 1 useful tip for all... Meditation can make downstream effort very easy and will guide u to get all resources that u need in ur practical life while still living downstream🙂

  • Athena Minerva
    Athena Minerva 3 months ago

    I agree with her. Doing what you really feel you want to do and being happy doing it will see you through your most difficult days. Doing things because that is what others expect of you will create within you a terrible state of schizophrenia. Just a light example: Mick Jagger dropped out of LSE (London university) where he was not far from qualifying as a teacher, just like his father, with a stable, prestigious, financially rewarding job, and opted instead for the very high-risk occupation of rock star. His authenticity made him and millions others happy.

  • Seven petals held by my heart

    OMG ppl need to watch this LIKE WHERE R THEY?!!

  • Peter J. Andros
    Peter J. Andros 3 months ago

    PLEASE explain what being a "productive" member of society means. "Upstream,"
    "Downstream," "authentic success," "inner work," "success," "goals," what a lot of academic nonsense. This narcissistic intellectual needs to shift to manual labor.

    • Autumn Bonsai
      Autumn Bonsai 3 months ago

      I'm a manual labourer and understand exactly what she's talking about. Get a brain.

  • EatDrinkPlayToLearnChinese - For Lazy Dummies

    We all tried hard in life, from schools, works, to relationships. Don't work hard for the thing that doesn’t matter to us.

  • Xuanbo She
    Xuanbo She 3 months ago

    Pretty useful but the way she delivered this speech was lack of skill, I would say it's too academical

  • Avi Barhom
    Avi Barhom 4 months ago

    The problem is money!
    I have many authentic goals but none of them is making me money so i went to get computer science degree , not authentic at all.

  • Light Bulb Goes Off
    Light Bulb Goes Off 4 months ago

    Nothing wrong with quitting Harvard and living in the woods for 2 months then moving to Europe. She was exhibiting classic signs of burnout and that's how she dealt with it. I'm happy she found a new path. No one ever got burned out doing something they absolutely loved.

  • Terence Lau
    Terence Lau 4 months ago

    Spare me. Bad advice.

  • Jay Em
    Jay Em 4 months ago

    Discover what you truly value and pursue them in the line of work you would fulfill them no matter what. Authenticity brings joy and effortless progress to people who enjoy what they are doing. Values change over time as people experiences over them vary after they reach a goal. When you are not happy, everything becomes a drag and an upstream battle. Acceptance of switching to your values as priority, despite of lifestyle changes and initial challenges, you must be willing to go through all these to make it happen.

  • positive_energy
    positive_energy 4 months ago

    Omg, this helped me figuring out my priorities right now! She is so inspiring really!! Many times I find it hard to make myself happy over my family happines or my husband. But this is my life,I make the rules. Hope not loose focus,this time I'm determined!! Thank you

  • Jane Bacon
    Jane Bacon 4 months ago

    Stop pursuing perfection

  • Karolina Kieliszek
    Karolina Kieliszek 4 months ago

    Spot on. It made my day!

  • emondelma
    emondelma 4 months ago

    I encourage you to listen to some of Steven Covey's videos on youtube and his take on principles over values and aligning your values with life principles

  • chiya7
    chiya7 4 months ago +1

    Money is still an issue though because sometimes you HAVE TO WORK, even if it feels like constant UPSTREAM, in order to pay the bills.

  • Наталья Мазур


  • Michael Jackson
    Michael Jackson 4 months ago +92

    I live in a cabin in the the woods offgrid. Time has slowed down. Definitely downstream. I feel successful. I'm sure people can't see that. I'm healthy. I'm happy. I'm free. That's success to me.

    • tab comp
      tab comp 2 days ago

      @Ginger and you are watching youtube in woods ?? Kidding aside I like the idea ....

    • Human
      Human 14 days ago

      Congrats. You have it figured out!👍

    • Granny
      Granny 14 days ago

      How did you post this "off grid"? Are you visiting friends and watching and commenting on RU-clip videos?

    • bwyyc
      bwyyc 19 days ago

      @Ginger how does that happen? I'm just curious about your situation, I have always assumed as long as you work hard you won't have to worry about having a roof over your head🤔

    • wim lammens
      wim lammens 23 days ago

      Michael, you are a live and living in the forest and wifi

  • Leshreddur Mitchell
    Leshreddur Mitchell 5 months ago

    Very wise advice. It's just like when I was playing Skyrim I didn't cheat the first several play throughs, no console commands. Eventually I got bored of the grind and used the console commands I saw everyone else using. By the time I got everything I wanted, it felt fake and empty, cheesy, something anyone could do, when I used console commands. Follow your path the way you want to remember it, not how you think everyone else perceives it. To thine own self be true.

  • Catherine Wolhlfert
    Catherine Wolhlfert 5 months ago

    Thank you! This is what has been happening to me for the last few years, and I knew it was right. No one could understand, and I couldn't put it into words. I shared this with my family to finally help them "get it".

  • hazelina lester
    hazelina lester 5 months ago

    benedin tablet

  • 廣發君
    廣發君 5 months ago +1

    The downstream and upstream effort can be decomposed into two questions:
    1. How bad do you want it?
    2. How much effort do you have to/are you willing to pay to achieve it?
    If both answers turn out negative, then you may be paying upstream effort and need to find what you want the most first.
    Those who are struggling for their goal are not discouraged by the speaker from my perspective. At least you have another option: try to live happy with your current situation.
    I myself am poor and hopeless in the sense of future success. But I’m happy with a lowered need and more focus on my health and soul. This speech synchronise with what I think really 👍👏👏

    • Armi
      Armi Month ago

      廣發君 sums up everything ang gave more perspective. Gee, thanks!

  • Sosan Oria
    Sosan Oria 5 months ago

    This is so me 🙃

  • Shruti Jedhiya
    Shruti Jedhiya 5 months ago

    I'm watching this video again after a few months, what an impact. Thank you :)

  • Chris Ellis
    Chris Ellis 5 months ago +1

    Is there any way we can stop overachievers from telling us that we need to underachieve?

  • Thủy Nguyễn
    Thủy Nguyễn 6 months ago

    when I attend a team with 3 classmates, I learn more about how to manage time and how to study effectively. They are so busy with their partime to earn money but they fulfill our homework well. so I think when we have little time we should find the way to finish our mission effectively, especially, when you learn in short time you should learn by heart at this time and dont think you will learn it then.

  • Seduk Oh
    Seduk Oh 6 months ago

    I think the point of what she is saying is we need to find our own authentic goal to achieve. So many people set a goal of other people and then making painful efforts to achieve that. It is painful because that is not a authentic goal. Obviously it is easier said than done. But it's worth understanding and trying in the direction.

  • 初代憤死遺体
    初代憤死遺体 6 months ago


  • Saurabh suman
    Saurabh suman 6 months ago

    Wow , it feels really good.... Thanku for the video.

    MELLY DEE 6 months ago

    Fantastic talk! Thank you Beautiful 🌷💖

  • sapiroosh22
    sapiroosh22 6 months ago

    she is amazing!

  • Duncan Emery
    Duncan Emery 6 months ago

    she would look cool in any situation

  • Jacory Gao
    Jacory Gao 6 months ago

    To follow your heart.

  • rowanans
    rowanans 6 months ago

    I found the speaker's blog and shared my view there. Seems my comment was deleted. Maybe my comment is not fully in line with her views? I feel offended anyhow.

  • Samara
    Samara 6 months ago

    I love this talk,Thanks 💐🙏🏻

  • Jolita Martinaityte
    Jolita Martinaityte 6 months ago

    what is she talking about?

  • Philipp the Sock
    Philipp the Sock 6 months ago

    In my view she has one of best tone of speech here on tedx
    PS I just quitted my job too for the same reason she explained (without having listened to her before) 😂

  • Sophie Aiyer
    Sophie Aiyer 7 months ago +1


  • Siphiwe Mabuya
    Siphiwe Mabuya 7 months ago

    What I am getting out of this is whatever you are wanting to achieve, be clear on the WHY. Because after you achieve it, the WHY might still not be answered. Hence you feel like you were too busy for nothing. If it is your passion and answers your WHY, then it is not really doing too much. Plus live your WHY, not anyone else's WHY.

  • Kashif Rana
    Kashif Rana 7 months ago +3

    One of the best and deep TEDx talk

  • Kanade1111
    Kanade1111 7 months ago +1

    This video isn't very convincing. A naive woman from the top of social hierarchy can't be expecting peolple who barely make both ends meet take her seriously. She is forgetting that unlike her, there are people from different social backgrounds, less developed countries, different circumstances -- who don't necessarily had the luck, talent, opportunities and health to be allowed to live to their leisure.
    Needless to mention how her talk contradicts itself. She is right off starting the presentation with telling us what a successful person she is due to tremendous efforts and innate perfectionism she practiced in her early life, and the rest of the video she is basically saying "but screw all that and do whatever"
    I've got here to get some inspiration on how to make my life more productive and efficient but instead I get this..

    • Philipp the Sock
      Philipp the Sock 6 months ago

      In the end it's held for students of a university 😉

  • Theodore Roosevelt
    Theodore Roosevelt 7 months ago

    So basically this talk is about someone who achieved everything she wanted but still not happy... Harvard people are fake as Kim’s a**. okay I guess Tedx is for people without problems. Ciao Bella.

  • Millie Jean Warren
    Millie Jean Warren 7 months ago

    whooa, is anyone else getting some ASMR tingles from this? ♡.♡

  • Kelly Nottingham-Smith
    Kelly Nottingham-Smith 7 months ago +2

    This is so spot one and brilliantly said. I listen to thousands of podcasts every year... and this really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing.

  • Sofia Spassova
    Sofia Spassova 7 months ago

    someone has been getting into the law of attraction

  • ana g
    ana g 7 months ago


  • A S
    A S 7 months ago

    abraham hicks theory with her personal experience.

  • Maja
    Maja 7 months ago


  • zubair khan
    zubair khan 7 months ago

    So to work upstream you need to follow your passion or your dream not the expectations of the society or your parents'. For this you first need to accept yourself than be yourself and finally love yourself. Personally this brings me back to the same story . I wanna follow my dreams but my parents think that it's too impractical and unrealistic . Perhaps they are right. Wot if I end up doing nothing. I wanna be successful as well as happy. So I came up with this solution,I would like to share it with you guys Everyday I take out some time for self reflection and self love. Well am not talking about selfishness. I am searching for another passion . Manier times people have more than one passion. And if it's realistic I'll definitely follow it cuz it's not necessary that wot your passionate about is your ability. Let's see wot happens. I will need your advice guys
    Thanks for reading. Wish you a HAPPY AND SUCCESSFUL LIFE