What could we possibly achieve by listening to motivational speeches? Isn’t that a waste of time? It’s not. A great motivational speech can be a trigger to action. It inspires you to do something. Powerful speeches make you realize you’re not just a useless individual in this world. Everyone matters. You matter, too.
Have you been feeling that inner drive to seek a higher purpose for a long time? If so, you need to take action. First, you need a trigger that will get you to that action. Try to think of an influential person. Let’s take an example: Jim Morrison. He was one of the most charismatic individuals of his time.
“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” That’s only one of the many pieces of wisdom he gave to humanity. These are not only words. They shrink deep inside you. They make you think. They make you act.
Jim Morrison said that during an interview. Back then, motivational speeches were not a big thing. Now, great individuals are trying to make a difference through that specific method. Are you ready to start exploring the best motivational speeches that will make you act?
Here’s a list of 7 of the best motivational speeches of all time:
1. Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address
This is one of the most emotional and inspiring speeches you’ll ever listen to. Although Jobs presented it way before TED talks became popular, you’ll notice it has a similar flow to an inspiring TED talk. It is relatively short, it has a theme, and it proves a point through a story.
Through this speech, Jobs tells us how we can find triumph through struggle. Jobs gave this speech one year after he was diagnosed with cancer. He had surgery and he was fine at that point. That’s the most important part of this speech: understanding our time here is limited. What are we going to do with it? That’s what matters.
2. Al Pacino’s Inch by Inch
Have you seen the movie Any Given Sunday? It’s a great one. The moment when Al Pacino gives one of the greatest speeches seen on the big screen is priceless. It’s not just a speech about football. It’s about winning. It’s about overcoming obstacles. It’s about becoming stronger. It’s about life in general!
“… In either game life or football the margin for error is so small. I mean one-half step too late or too early you don’t quite make it. One-half second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second.” That’s only a part of this great speech. Funny enough, it starts with “I don’t know what to say, really.”
3. J.K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech
This one will make you laugh at first. J.K Rowling has a rare talent to make the listeners laugh and think at the same time. At one point, the writer gets serious and gives out the main point of this speech: sharing things she wishes she had known at her own graduation, and the important lessons she has learned between that day and the day of the speech.
There’s one aspect of this speech that makes it different from most others on our list: the talk about poverty. The writer tells the truth about it. There’s no romanticizing of poverty. As she says, only fools do that. This situation entails fear, stress, and depression… “it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships.” However, what she feared most for herself when she was young wasn’t poverty. It was a failure.
Essentially, this is a speech about the benefits of failure. Yes, there is such thing as a benefit from failure. J.K. Rowling is a living proof for that.
4. Bill Gates’ Harvard Commencement Address 2007
“I’ve been waiting more than 30 years to say this: ‘Dad, I always told you I’d come back and get my degree.’” That’s one of the funniest parts of this speech. Gates didn’t graduate. He is Harvard’s most successful dropout. He makes a big point, though: the fact that he dropped out doesn’t make academic life less of an important experience. Gates used to sit in on classes he hadn’t even signed up for.
As he says in his speech, one of his most precious memories of Harvard is being in the midst of so much energy and intelligence. Education is important, and it is a privilege. However, getting to know the wider world is also important, even though it’s shocking for the most part.
5. Jim Carrey’s Commencement Address at the 2014 MUM Graduation
You would expect a funny speech from one of the funniest men on Earth, wouldn’t you? Well, here is a surprise: Jim Carrey is deep. This speech is enlightening, to say the least. The main message is to choose love over fear.
And yes, the speech is funny. It’s Jim Carrey, after all. However, it’s also very, very serious. “I am here to plant a seed that will inspire you to move forward in life with enthusiastic hearts and a clear sense of wholeness.”
Even if you take the safe route through, life, you might fail. If you follow your dreams, you might fail, too. But, you might achieve them – and that’s what makes the difference. In the speech, Jim shares an example: his father. He could have been a great comedian, but he made a safe choice: accounting. When Kim was 12 years old, his father lost that job that was supposed to be safe. That was the point when the actor learned the most important lesson in life: “… You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
If you’re in the middle of a crossroad and you’re wondering what road to choose, listen to this speech. It inspires you to choose the right thing. It inspires you to choose love over fear.
6. Will Smith’s Pursuit of Happiness Speech
If you haven’t seen The Pursuit of Happiness, go watch it right now. It’s amazing! Will Smith plays a homeless salesman doing everything he can to support his son. Will Smith gives a short but impactful speech to his son in the movie about going out and getting what you want out of life.
He says: “Don’t ever let somebody tell you, you can’t do something. You got a dream? You gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you, you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.”
7. Sheryl Sandberg’s Commencement Address at the 2012 Harvard Business School Graduation
Sandberg offered the 2012 graduates some practical wisdom prior to them entering the business world. She urged them to remember to always communicate and practice honesty with others, which is not the norm in most workplaces. In fact, it’s likely not to norm for most people even with their friends or family.
She also talked about thinking of your career as a ‘jungle gym’ and encourages people to jump around instead of following the traditional path that most people have done.
Hopefully this inspires you to push your own boundaries and not be afraid to restart your path, pivot your career, and find different ways of doing things.
Which of the six speeches above is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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