It is one of the greatest virtues to inspire. Leaders, artisans and sportsmen for centuries have continued to inspire through their work, attitude and sheer faith in humanity. Some have fought personal insecurities, some against racial discrimination and some against basic inequalities to emerge as not only as successful human but as an inspirational figure for millions.
Below are five of such individuals’ inspirational speech, whose work and leadership, have inspired millions across the globe. The list is not conclusive and doesn’t follow any order or merit.
Power of imagination
In J.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard commencement speech, the Harry Potter author explored how two phenomena — failure and imagination — can be crucial to success. While failure can help you understand where your true passion lies, and where you should focus your energy moving forward, imagination is what will allow you to empathize with other people so you can use your influence to do good.
“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.”
Never give up
Steve Job’s 2005 Stanford commencement speech, which has more than 24 million views, plays on two themes: connecting the dots (anecdote: how taking a calligraphy class helped inspire the design of the Mac) and love & loss (anecdote: how getting fired from Apple helped inspire his greatest innovations). Perhaps the most memorable part of his speech comes at the end, when he quotes the (now-famous) lines from the final issue of his favourite publication, The Whole Earth Catalog:
“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
Faith in possibilities
In 2004, then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama took the stage at the Democratic National Convention to deliver the keynote address. Obama reflects on his upbringing and his beating the odds with faith in the possibilities. President Obama instils the message of hope in this 20-minute speech that will leave you feeling humbled and inspired to achieve your potential.
We all know the story of Martin Luther King Jr. So much so that Americans have a day of the year to celebrate him as a national holiday. Most of us have been listening to segments of his famous speech where he told the world about a dream he had. The main message of his famous speech is that racial inequalities need to end and he was absolutely right. However, he also reminds us that there are things that are more important than success such as equal rights and treating each other with respect and kindness.
Awake to life
“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, then an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.” This speech from our first PM Jawaharlal Nehru continues to inspire millions of Indian.
There are many more such speeches from other leaders that have motivated all of us. However, one needs to understand that the key is in the message and not the method. If you realise your strength and weakness and work on improving on those, you are bound to succeed.
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