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The 7 Best Motivational
Speeches of All Time

By Justin Osborne

One of the most valuable things in a life of an experienced person is to experience itself. You can actually see this in every speech of every successful person – they all base their incredible achievements on some kind of unique experience. But, experiences do not only belong to famous people. They belong to all of us.

Every person makes a mistake and has the opportunity to learn from it. Adapting your life around the experiences makes you a better and more successful person. Knowing this, people tell their stories in the form of speeches to express an experience and motivate others.

Here is what we consider the best motivational speeches of all time:

  1. Steve Jobs – 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford University
    To keep his speech concise and memorable, Steve Jobs used only 15 minutes to tell his three stories. Within such a short period, he created one of the most inspiring, popular motivational speeches the world has ever heard.

    Through his speech, Jobs speaks of struggles and triumph. He had a tumultuous life, where he was expected to graduate from college ever since his biological mother gave birth to him. However, Jobs found that there were things that made more sense to him at the time, and ended up co-founding Apple.

    Interestingly, Jobs gave this particular speech only one year after diagnosed with cancer. He speaks of the limitations life has and how people need to define it so that it matters.

    Of course, this does not mean that you should quit college to be successful. It is a story of one person who did not settle with the expectation of others, but re-defined the world of technology with the help of what he knew. He is now the person who created the popular iPhone and gave the number one motivational speech of all times!

  2. Al Pacino -“Inch by Inch” (1999)
    If you are an Al Pacino fan, you surely have not missed the movie ‘Any Given Sunday’. It is an amazing movie that contains another one of the best motivational speeches ever. The moment when this amazing actor and person gives the great speech on the big screen has turned the world into a better place. Why? Because unlike what many people think before they hear it, this is not just a speech about football.

    Pacino’s speech is about winning and overcoming obstacles. As he says: ‘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.”

  3. J.K.Rowling – 2008 Commencement Speech at Harvard University
    “It is impossible to live without failing at something,” says J.K.Rowling, the author of the popular Harry Potter series. Her speech at the Harvard University commencement will not only make you laugh, but also help you start seeing failure as a way to improve.

    At one point of her speech, Rowling says that it was a failure that made her follow her dream. Speaking about poverty and difficult life, she explains how a tough patch in the past made her write the Harry Potter novels. And it turned out to be amazing for us all, right?

  4. Winston Churchill – Never Give In Speech in Narrow Hall
    The British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill spoke of war and education. As a man who previously fought and did so valiantly to get some education, Churchill was the best person to look up to when it comes to tenacity. At a point when nearly every world nation was fighting one battle after another, people were suffering and needed the extra courage to never give in.

    Churchill gave one of the best motivational speeches of all times, and it does not only apply to that period. His words were “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

  5. Bill Gates – 2007 Commencement Address at Harvard University
    As you probably know already, Bill Gates never graduated. At this point, he is Harvard’s most successful dropout and at the same time, one of the most famous people in the world. Interestingly, he is exactly the person called to hold the commencement speech in 2007.

    Gates points out that to him, academic life is actually a very important experience, speaking of his most precious memories there. But, he also speaks of the wider world and the opportunities that await, motivating students for ages to come.

  6. Jim Carrey – 2014 Commencement Address at Maharishi University of Management
    One of the most fascinating things about this speech is that, unlike what many expect when they hear the name Jim Carrey, this address was also very deep. Listening to it will make you not only laugh, but also love. Carrey is surprisingly serious in teaching you to fight fear and pick love instead. His words are: “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.”
  7. Dan Pink – The Puzzle of Motivation
    If you are interested in business and management, you have surely heard about Dan Pink. Well, our recommendation is to watch his motivational speech and learn from one of the most popular authors of books about management, business and work, having sold two million copies on a worldwide level.

    Pink introduces the so-called ‘Candle Problem’, by attaching a candle to a wall with the help of a box of matches and thumbtacks. Then, he allows two groups to solve the problem, one of them told they are discovering norms, others offered money if in the top 25%. Results are shocking! That group offered money are actually slower than the others.

    In addition to this, he speaks of a second speech that teaches how you cannot make people perform better with money. According to him, this is one of the most robust findings, but also the most ignored.

Justin Osborne is a teacher from Leicester, England, UK. When not teaching his little students and rooting for Leicester FC, he loves to share his thoughts and opinions about education, writing and blogging with other people on different blogs and forums. Currently, he is working as an editor at the writing service Bestdissertation. Follow Justin on Facebook and Twitter.


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