The Quarter-Life Crisis

This video is a TedTalk by a man named Adam Poswolsky, also known as "Smiley". He talks about his experience with a quarter-life crisis. This video is 16 minutes and 13 seconds long. This video is a great chance for intermediate level learners to become motivated to try something new! 

I’ve split this video into three sections for you. First, start by looking up the vocabulary words I provide you for section one, then watch part one of the video. Try to answer the comprehension questions. If you are struggling, watch part one again! Then do the same for part two and part three. At the end you will find the answers for the comprehension questions and some more discussion questions to get you thinking in English! Leave answers to the discussion questions in the comments below! 

Video link: *

PART ONE (beginning - 5:17)


  • Miserable 

  • —Shingles (disease) 

  • —I’m a goner 

  • —Suck it up 

  • —To show up for someone/thing

  • —A 20-something 

  • Six figures 

Comprehension Questions

  1. —What were some of the good things happening in Smiley’s life?

  2. —What was not good about his life?

  3. —What kind of a crisis was he having?

  4. —What is FOMO? Why was he feeling FOMO?

  5. —What is the first lesson he learned? 

  6. —What percentage of people are disengaged at their job?

  7. —Where did he meet believers?  

PART TWO (5:17 - 10:10)



  • A nonprofit business

  • —To hold someone accountable 

  • —Rising up the corporate ladder 

  • —Student debt

  • —Grad school

  • —Quality of life 

  • —What makes you tick?

  • —To Hustle 

  • —Sallie Mae (Bank)

Comprehension Questions

  1. —What happens when you find believers? Why is that important?

  2. — What is the second lesson he learned? 

  3. —What does this mean: the grass is always greener (on the other side)?

  4. —Is there one right, successful path?

  5. —What is the third lesson? 

  6. —What do people call millennials? 

PART THREE (10:10 - End)

For this section, listen from 10:10 to the end and write down words you don’t understand. Look them up and watch the last section again to answer the questions below! 

Comprehension Questions

  1. —How many jobs did Smiley have while he was writing his book? 

  2. —How did Smiley meet Bernat? 

  3. —How did Bernat get a job?

  4. —What does “make the ask” mean?

  5. —We are not the “me me me” generation we are the “----”


  1. Do you know anyone who has had a quarter-life or mid-life crisis? What happened? Why did it happen? 

  2. Do you think it’s possible to prevent a life crisis? If so, how? If not, why not?

  3. How do you think you would deal with a life crisis? Do you think it is likely it will happen to you? 


Part One 

  1. He had a good job with a great salary. 

  2. He was miserable. He got shingles from the stress of his life.

  3. Quarter-life crisis

  4. Fear of missing out. He saw his friends on facebook doing cool things like getting married and starting up food trucks!

  5. Find Believers. 

  6. 70% of people are disengaged at work. 

  7. At a program called “StartingBloc”.

Part Two

  1. You find accountability when you find believers. It’s important because they make sure you follow through with your dreams.

  2. Stop comparing yourself to others and start pursuing what’s meaningful for you.

  3. It means that you always think something someone else has is better. 

  4. No! There is not one right path to success.

  5. You have to start hustling with intention and purpose.

  6. The lazy generation and the me me me generation. 

Part Three

  1. He worked 4 different jobs.

  2. They met on the street. He was biking alongside him while he was walking on the street.

  3. Simley helped him get in touch with friends of friends who were looking for someone to work with them. 

  4. “Make the ask” to put the effort in to go out, ask and talk to people.

  5. The purpose generation.

* Disclaimer: This video content is linked and intended for educational purposes only. The views or opinions of the content are that of the original creator and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Habit Language Lab.

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