motivational speeches

9 Motivational Speeches About Life & Success

Motivational speeches can provide a fresh perspective, reignite motivation and inspire change.

Whether you’re looking for a little more ‘fire’ in your motivation level, or your big goals and dreams have become a little too buried under ‘real life’, inspirational speeches are a great way to help.

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The best motivational speakers are able to explain their obstacles, their failures and their successes in a simple, thought provoking way.

Motivational Speeches About Life, Adversity, Fear and Success:

Motivational Speeches About Life


1. Randy Pausch: Last Lecture ‘Achieving Your Childhood Dreams’ Speech

A truly touching speech from Randy Pausch, who knew at the time of this speech that he had limited time left on earth (due to terminal cancer).

Rather than a sad speech, Pausch motivates by speaking about his childhood dreams – those that he has and hasn’t achieved and what he has learnt along the way.

Along with speaking about the importance of people over things, karma and gratitude, Pausch motivates by speaking about obstacles, failure, not quitting and making the most of how you spend your time:

Just some of the great quotes from the speech:

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

“The key question to keep asking is, “Are you spending your time on the right things?”

“Time is all you have, and you may find one day that you have less than you think.”

2. J.K. Rowling Speech: ‘The Fringe Benefits of Failure’

The benefits of failure is a great speech to listen to when you’re needing more motivation towards a great big goal. Rowling’s humble beginnings, near poverty and struggle to realize her dream is a motivational story and in this speech you chooses to speak of the importance of fear and the benefits of failure:

Just some of the great quotes from the speech:

“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”

“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.”

“You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”

3. Arunima Sinha: ‘On top of the World’ Speech

Arunima survived a horrific robbery that resulted in extreme physical disabilities and was thought to have ended her athletic endeavours. Instead, she adjusted her goals and aimed higher (literally).

A great speech about extreme obstacles, the power of the mind, the importance of keeping on going and accepting possible risks and failure.  

Just some of the great quotes from the speech:

“The biggest motivator is you yourself. The day your inner-self is awakened toward any goal, nobody can stop you from reaching that goal.”

“Imagine being so close to your target, and someone tells you to turn back. Imagine how that would feel…….You don’t get golden chances like this again and again. It depends on you if you take these chances or let go. I never wanted to let go of my golden chance…..sometimes in life, situations arise where you are all alone, and only you have to take a decision, wherever you are, turn back to see and reflect, that you have reached here step by step, just put forward your foot once more. You’ll see after some time, you’ll be at the top.”

“My belief is that luck favours those who have the passion to win. If you don’t have the passion to win, then in all directions, there are only excuses, only excuses.”

4. Rick Rigsby: ‘The Wisdom of a Third Grade Dropout’

Rick Rigsby uses a lot of famous quotes in this speech and discusses the powerful upbringing his parents provided, focusing on a great mindset.

It’s a funny speech that takes a touching turn, where Rick Rigsby discusses his rock bottom and some simple words of motivation:

5. Turia Pitt: ‘Unmask Your Potential’

An amazing, humorous and motivating speech by Turia Pitt.

Turia Pitt was competing in an ultra-marathon through Australia's Kimberley region when she was caught in an enormous fire.

Receiving burns to 65% of her body, Turia’s grit, strength of mind and ability to overcome such huge adversity is an inspiration to all.

Her speech also discusses the masks that we wear, the silly things we worry about, how we spend our time and the importance of mindset:

​6. Mel Robbins: ‘How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over’

A wonderful energetic ted talk that has now gone viral. Mel Robbins talks about how we are self-sabotaging and a simple but effective trick for self-motivation.

Definitely worth a watch!

7. Tim Ferriss: ‘Why You Should Define Your Fears Instead of Your Goals’

Okay, so not exactly a motivational speech, but I think many can find motivation from this technique that Tim Ferriss calls ‘fear setting’.

Sometimes, we can lack motivation towards improving our lives or achieving a goal, because we have fear holding us back.

Therefore, the concept of ‘fear setting’ is a great tool to use to examine the fears that may be holding you back and how to get past them.

8. Tony Robbins: ‘Why We Do What We Do? 

What drives you to action?

Tony Robbins believes that it all comes down to emotion. This is a wonderful speech to encourage you to discover where you are today, what drives you personally and therefore you will find your answers to personal motivation.

Very eye opening.

9. Jim Carrey: Commencement Address at the 2014 MUM Graduation

With his typical humour, Jim Carrey delivers a fun, yet inspiring speech about life and belief. The speech has a strong focus on the part that fear plays in our success and living the life you truly want.

Just some of the great quotes from the speech:

“Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.”

“There is a huge difference between a dog that is going to eat you in your mind and an actual dog that’s going to eat you.”

“You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

Interested in more motivational speeches?:

Motivational speeches can provide a fresh perspective, reignite motivation and inspire change. Whether you’re looking for a little more ‘fire’ in your motivation level, or your big goals and dreams have become a little too buried under ‘real life’, inspirational speeches are a great way to help.The best motivational speakers are able to explain their obstacles, their failures and their successes in a simple, thought provoking way.

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