Top 10 Inspirational Speeches

We all can use a little pick me up from time to time! Whether some mindfulness, a vacation, some emotional support from a loved one, or just a nice story with a take home lesson, we all benefit from inspiration from time to time. Feeling burned out? Or just want to marvel at the human experience? Here are our top 10 inspirational speeches.

1) Rick Rigsby, “The Wisdom of a Third Grade Dropout”

Rick Rigsby shares the lessons he learned from his father, who only finished third grade but remains the wisest man Rick ever met. Rick speaks powerfully and emotionally. His inspirational speech will have you clamoring to climb higher and achieve your best.

2) Jim Kwik, “10 Things That Will Change Your Life Immediately”

Watch this video with Jim Kwik, where he describes everything from diets, to negative thoughts, to positive peer groups – all that will help you keep and grow your memory and have a better life.

3) Steve Jobs, Commencement Address at Stanford 2005

Steve Jobs needs no introduction. Here, he speaks to the graduating class of 2005 at Stanford University. Steve shares some lessons from the pivotal moments of his life, and stresses the need to find the opportunities in life’s setbacks.

4) Tim Minchin, “Nine Life Lessons,” University of Western Australia

Tim Minchin is a comedian, but when he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Western Australia he delivered the most un-inspirational inspiring speech possible. He shares nine lessons he learned in life, which are all contrarian takes on traditional motivational ideas. You’ll laugh, a lot. You’ll also learn, and think.

5) Ray Lewis, A Deck Of Cards/The Two Sides Of Pain

WARNING: This story references abuse. Ray Lewis was a Hall of Fame linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, widely considered to be one of the best to ever play the position. His life story is awe inspiring. Here, he shares a story about his childhood, where he learned the two sides of pain – the suffering, and the things it drives you to do: “At the end of pain is success.”

6) Jim Valvano, 1993 ESPY Awards

Jim Valvano was a legendary basketball coach. This inspirational speech is famous, as it was Jim Valvano’s last real speech. Dying of cancer, Jim shared his life lessons, and his zest for life shines through in what he says. Remember to laugh, and to think.

7) Peter Dinklage, Bennington College Commencement Address

You may know Peter as Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones. What you may not know, however, is that Peter was working in data processing until he was almost 30, and only became an actor due to his willpower to make it happen.

8) Steven Spielberg, I Dream For A Living

Steven Spielberg speaks off the cuff about his early life and how he became the incredible filmmaker he is. It all started with a toy train set, and an idea he had to film a trainwreck – this was his first film. “Dreams come from behind you, they sneak up on you…it almost whispers. Human intuition always whispers, it never shouts.”

9) Will Smith, The Best Things In Life Are on the Other Side Of Fear

Will Smith is an engaging speaker, and always entertaining. Here he speaks about facing fear – how, and why. Using skydiving as his metaphor, Will points out that “at the point of maximum danger, is the point of minimal fear – it’s bliss!” The inspirational lesson is, he says, the best things in life are on the other side of fear.

10) Carl Aquino, Valedictorian Address, West Hall High School

Carl speaks with wisdom beyond his years, using a Rubik’s cube as a metaphor for the experiences of high school. Come for the amusing anecdotes and funny quips, stay for the badly played guitar at the end.

Remember, the blues and blahs are temporary. You’ll be back to doing great things in no time at all.