Recently I’ve been pondering (yet again) about the road I’m taking in my life. I’ve come to the conclusion that tt’s pretty difficult to make important choices (derp). But like I said in my previous post “13 Important Life Lessons From A 19-Year Old” there isn’t really a “right” answer to begin with.
To get a bit more clarity on the matter it’s always a wise idea to inform yourself as best as possible. I’ve tried many different sources lately. I’ve asked my friends, my family, internet fora and some of my role models. The latter has been the most thought-provoking source the last couple of months.
I’ve been inspired countless times by talks on the internet of people who have achieved what they desired most out of life. People who have been able to really create themselves in order to live the life they’ve envisioned for themselves. There’s great wisdom to be found in their words and that’s exactly why I’m sharing my top 5 most inspiring speeches of all time with you guys.
(and partially because I’ve been really busy lately with a bazillion things (new goal report coming up) and didn’t have much time to write ;)) +10 honesty points
Anyway, in these speeches I’ve included my favorite lines and the key things I’ve learned from their speech. Enjoy!
When we think about inspiring speeches the 2005 Commencement Speech from Steve Jobs at the Stanford University directly comes to (my) mind. He talks about what he has learned over the past decades by using three fascinating stories about his life. He talks about how his parents wanted the best for him by only signing the adoption papers if Steve was able to go to college (so he could live a better life than his parents were able to give him)
He talks about how school didn’t bring him any closer to the places he wanted to be and how he got frustrated in the process because he was wasting away his adoption-parents hard-earned money. So he decided to follow his gut and actually do the things he loved to do in order to create value for other people. He found his way.
He openly talks about how he got fired from the company he first started and how it has positively influenced his life (who would have known?) Then after that problem passed, he discovered that he had a rare form of cancer but was able to recover from his disease. Despite all these setbacks he was able to thrive.
This speech tells the story of a man that has created a life for himself trough struggle and the continual construction of his character. He kept true to himself and IMO his story is one of the most inspirational I’ve ever heard.
“Stay foolish, stay hungry”
What I’ve learned;
- Small things matter more than you think
- Do something you love
- There are no right choices. You’ll just have to follow your gut
- Life is short, don’t waste it.
Admiral William H. McRaven
I’ve only recently stumbled upon this great speech of Admiral William H. McRaven at the 2014 Commencement Speech of The University of Texas. I’ve listened to it over and over again and IMO it contains some of life’s essentials truths we need to be reminded of regularly.
He tells the story of what happened to him while he was trained as a Navy SEAL in the US army. His stories contain important life lessons that can be applied in every area of your life. He talks about how the training has formed his character and how it has shaped his identity in a way that has provided countless benefits to him.
McRaven talks about how life can be hard but that we should persist anyway no matter how bad things look. That life can be unfair but that we should still keep going, that life can go wrong in any moment but that we shouldn’t let those fears block us from moving further.
I admire this guy for the training he has endured and the way he has shaped himself to be resistant to outside circumstances. Definitely in the top 5!
“If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell”
What I’ve learned;
- Fears are limitations you build for yourself
- Don’t judge people by external appearances but by their character
- You don’t have to do everything by yourself. Reach out when you need help
- Sometimes risks are worth taking
Martin Luther King
You can’t have a list of inspiring speeches without including the “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King. This man has fought for the rights for his people and for his own freedom. This ideology can be applied not only to his goals but also to your own life by dreaming up your own dreams and actually pursuing them to their full extent.
Just the emotion you hear in his voice alone has the ability to make your hair stand on end. This was a man that has been trough severe struggles and shaped his character to hold strong against the external influences he had to battle with constantly.
This is a man who fought for his freedom with all his heart in hope for a better future. He had the passion and gift to inspire so many others that dreaming is more than possible if you’re only willing to fight for it.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
What I’ve learned;
- Now is the time to act. Don’t wait for opportunity to come to you.
- All men are created equal
- Fight for the things you want in life
- Better times are coming.
J. K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling was a woman who lived in great poverty for a large portion of her life. She didn’t have anything at that time and was “as broke as could be without being homeless” as she eloquently puts it herself. Yet this didn’t stop her from continuing on writing her novels that would later become one of the most popular series in the world.
Her story tells how persistence, hope, hard work and belief in what she was doing all added up in shaping the person she is to this day; one of the most inspiring and successful writers of all time.
She tells the story of how she wrote her novels when she was supposed to be in class and how she was introduced to cases of rape, torture and other brutalities. She has personally experienced how unfair/cruel the world can be at times and that empathy and humanity in these critical hours are the most valuable assets you can have in life.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
What I’ve learned;
- Failure creates strength
- Love people and be a light in the world.
- Your CV is not your life. You are your character, make it pure.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. All failures are learning opportunities
This isn’t really a whole speech (only parts) but nevertheless I did want to include it in this list since it contains some of the most inspiring thoughts I have encountered in my life. Will Smith possesses some great ideas about life that are invaluable for creating yourself and the life you want to live.
He talks about his desire for succeeding during the recording of “the fresh prince of bel air”. He talks about how goals often overwhelm us which cause us to become paralyzed and therefore don’t even take action. He tells us how we should focus on the daily efforts we put in over time and how these make all the difference in the end. He explains this by a personal experience where he has to rebuild a wall with his dad.
He told his dad that it was an impossible task and they’ll never be able to finish it. Young Will was proben wrong because eventually they were able to rebuild that wall in a year. Just by focusing on the task at hand at not being overwhelmed by the long journey they still had to take.
Will Smith is one of my favorite actors and has by all standards a like-able character!
“Just know that you can”
What I’ve learned;
- Do something you love
- You are who you associate with
- Work hard, ridiculously hard
- Work towards your goals, one perfect brick at a time
- Growing takes time
These are the videos that have been able to really inspire me in many ways but didn’t really make the cut. Some also can’t really be classified as “real speeches” but I thought they were worth sharing anyway.
Greg Plitt talking on giving your all and how we have more in use than we know. Mind over matter
Nick Vujicic who was born without limbs. He talks about how valuable you are for the person you are and that there’s no real point in focusing on the negative aspects of life
Alan Watts talks about the importance of doing something you love.
Charlie Chaplin in the movie “The Great Dictator” talking about the importance of humanity and being a genuinely good person
Live Your Life As A Hero
Compilation on living your life the way it should.
The message I’m trying to bring across with these speeches is the importance of staying motivated and inspired whilst working towards the things you want most in life. You probably have heard many of these statements before but that doesn’t change their validity.
I hope you haven’t given up yet and that any of these speech has been able to rekindle a desire in you. A desire for something more than what you have at the moment. We’re all in this journey together, trying to figure out our place in the world and by this we continually create our-self so we’re better suited to external influences.
Anyway, I hope you loved listening to these speeches at least half as much as I did. If you think this list has the ability to inspire people you know, don’t hesitate to share it with your friends, send it to your mom or even bookmark the page to return later.
Before I go, I want to ask you guys a quick question;
What Inspires you the most at the moment?