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The 10 Best Motivational Speeches Ever

What is a motivational speech?

A motivational speech can come from anywhere or anyone, but it usually has a specific audience in mind. Whether it’s a graduation speech, an all-company meeting, a championship sporting event, or a conference keynote, these speeches are designed to change the way their listeners see the challenges facing them in the future.

Just like in sports, being motivated at work is crucial for your performance. This rings especially true when you have a looming deadline, an important meeting, or colleagues or customers depending on your performance.

Motivational speeches and speakers can come in all different forms, but this is the one thing they have in common – resonance. They hit the right listener at just the right time and in just the right way. Who knows, maybe this article is doing a bit of that for you right now…!

To help you stay motivated, no matter what your job throws at you, we decided to compile 10 of the best motivational speeches from business, sports, entertainment, and more. Missing your inner fire? Light it by up watching the following videos!

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The Best Motivational Speeches of All Time

1) J.K. Rowling on Failure at “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination” (2008)

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.


2) David Foster Wallace on Life & Career at “This Is Water” (2005)

If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is and who and what is really important, if you want to operate on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you’ve really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you’ll know you have other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer hell-type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred – on fire with the same force that lit the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.


3) Simon Sinek on Leadership at Live2Lead (2016)

The infinite player isn’t playing to be number one…they’re playing to outlast the competition.


4) Fearless Motivation on Perseverance at “It’s Not Easy, But It’s Worth It” (2018)

It’s easy to be positive when everything is working out. It’s much harder, much much harder when nothing is working out. But that’s when we need it the most…Everything is worth the prize.


5) Jim Carrey on Taking Risks at Commencement Speech at Maharishi University of Management (2014)

I learned many great lessons from my father – not the least of which is that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.


6) Brené Brown on Failure at “The Power of Vulnerability” (2013)

Empathy is a choice, and it’s a vulnerable choice. Because in order to connect with you, I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling.


7) Steve Jobs on Life & Career at “How to Live Before You Die” (2005)

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.


8) Ellen DeGeneres on Life & Career at Tulane University Commencement Speech (2009)

Really, when I look back on it, I wouldn’t change a thing. I mean, it was so important for me to lose everything because I found out what the most important thing is…to be true to yourself. Ultimately, that’s what’s gotten me to this place. I don’t live in fear. I’m free. I have no secrets and I know I’ll always be OK, because no matter what, I know who I am.


9) Sheryl Sandberg on Life & Career at Harvard Business School Class Day Speech (2012)

If you want to win hearts and minds, you have to lead with your heart as well as your mind. I don’t believe we have a professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real self for the rest of the time…It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.


10) Dan Pink on Life & Career at “The Puzzle of Motivation” (2009)

There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. And what worries me, as we stand here in the rubble of the economic collapse, is that too many organizations are making their decisions, their policies about talent and people, based on assumptions that are outdated, unexamined, and rooted more in folklore than in science.

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