Business can be hard. Heck, life can be hard.
We’re all on a journey, and we’ve all been down in the dumps before, wondering if what we’re doing is really worth it.
Wondering if what we’re doing is really making an impact.
But, it’s important that we’re always moving forward. This is a lesson that I learnt early in life.
I remember I was around 4 years old, and I was learning to ride my bike with my uncle and my father.
Of course, I fell off multiple times while I was learning to cycle, and I remember I one time I cut my knee pretty badly.
At that point I really just wanted to quit and go home. But, my family told me: “you can’t quit now, you’re almost there. Just try it once more!”
You’ve probably heard that before too, right?
So, I got back on that bike. I didn’t want to, but you just need to power through and face your challenges head on.
Sure enough, that was the first time that I rode that bike without any help.
After that, I was so glad I kept moving forward, and that I never gave up.
Now, that probably wasn’t the motivational speech that you expected when you clicked on this article, but it’s evidence that we can do so well when we’re spurred on by others.
And that’s exactly why we’ve created this article – we’ve listed all of our favorite motivational speeches here, because we already know how much more you can achieve with a little bit of extra motivation.
So, let’s jump into it!
- Will Smith – Pursuit of Happiness
- Al Pacino – Any Given Sunday
- Steve Jobs – 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech
- Matthew McConaughey – University of Houston Speech
- Sylvester Stallone – Balboa Speech
- Richard St.John – 8 Secrets of Success
- Eric Thomas – I Can, I Will, I Must
- Denzel Washington – Fall Forward
- Key Takeaways
- Want to Learn More?
Will Smith – Pursuit of Happiness
This famous motivational speech from the 2006 film, Pursuit of Happiness, features Will Smith and his son playing basketball.
At the start of the clip you’ll see Smith’s son (his actual son, Jaden Smith) playing around with a basketball, and he shouts out “I’m going pro!”
After hearing this, Smith decides to try and level his son’s expectations, mentioning that he never excelled at basketball, so he shouldn’t expect to either.
His son is visibly disappointed by this comment, and Smith notices this.
Smith then proclaims: “don’t ever let somebody tell you that you can’t do something, not even me.”
“You got a dream, you gotta protect it. You want something, go get it. Period.”
This motivational speech is a special one. Even though both Will and Jaden Smith are acting, they’re still father and son, and you can see how this scene reflects their own family dynamic.
It’s a short motivational speech, but it’s one of the best motivational speeches of all time, in my opinion.
Al Pacino – Any Given Sunday
Al Pacino’s speech from American Football drama, Any Given Sunday, is next up on our list.
This one really gets your blood flowing – perfect to watch before you tackle a difficult day.
The motivational speech revolves around the idea of inches being so important in American Football, even if we have the tendency to overlook them.
He talks about the different ways that his team can gain advantages on their opponents, even if it’s only an inch at a time.
He proclaims: “when we add up all those […] inches, that’s what makes the difference between winning and losing”.
This point is applicable throughout life too – it’s the people who go the extra mile who tend to find success more often than not.
And sometimes, you won’t notice it at first, but like Pacino mentions, it’s the sum of all the small parts which lead you to victory.
Steve Jobs – 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech
Steve Jobs, one of the key figures behind tech giant Apple’s success, is next up on our list of the best motivational speeches of all time.
In his 2005 Stanford commencement speech the former Apple CEO dives deep into his own journey as an entrepreneur, and he speaks openly about the issues that he’s faced along the way, and how he overcame them.
During this classic motivational speech Jobs talks about how he was actually a college dropout, and that this was one of the most important times of his life?
He mentioned that he dropped out of college to take classes which he was truly interested in, rather than studying topics which he wasn’t deeply passionate about.
One of those classes that he took up after dropping out was calligraphy. He was so compelled by the high standard of handwriting.
To many, this might seem like a strange choice, but he connects his experience that he gained from that class to the font choices that he installed in Apple computers.
If Jobs had never taken that calligraphy class, he wouldn’t have cared so much about a seemingly small detail, like fonts, but Apple was the first company to add different typefaces to their operating systems.
He goes on to say: “You can’t connect the dots if you’re looking forward, you can only do it looking backwards. So, you need to keep moving forward and hope that the dots align somehow.”
The key message from this speech is that we’re always learning. We’re always growing and finding out new information. It’s all about what we choose to do with that information which really defines us.
As Jobs said: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
Matthew McConaughey – University of Houston Speech
Next up on our list of motivational speeches is Matthew McConaughey, with his commencement speech at the University of Houston.
The oscar-winning actor delivers some very pertinent points during his speech, but the one that stuck out for me was how he spoke of joy being a “constant approach”.
McConaughey said that: “Joy is always in process, it’s always under construction.”
He spoke of how he was previously judging his success on metrics which he thought were important to him, like the number of academy awards he won, or the amount of money that his films grossed.
But, it was only when he decided to focus on the whole process of creating a film, and enjoying every aspect of it, that he found true success in those metrics.
It turned out that, when he took everything one step at a time, and truly enjoyed his craft, he found that things just fell into place.
“Define success for yourself.”
Find what you want to achieve, and enjoy the entire journey – not just the high points, but the lows too.
Sylvester Stallone – Balboa Speech
Rocky Balboa, played by Sylvester Stallone, is a famed character who is best known for his courage, hard work, and determination.
In Rocky Balboa, the sixth film in the Rocky franchise, Stallone delivers one of the hardest hitting motivational speeches of all time.
Stallone starts off the motivational speech by saying that: “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.”
He goes on to talk about the value of hard work and commitment, and emphasizes that “it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
As an entrepreneur, this point really hits home. There will be struggles on your journey to success, but as Stallone says, it’s all about “how much you can take and keep moving forward, that’s how winning is done.”
Remember this when your back is up against the wall – winners never give up!
Richard St.John – 8 Secrets of Success
Next up on our list we’ve got an infamous TED talk from Richard St.John – also one of the shortest motivational speeches that we’ve ever seen, but it sure is impactful!
St.John mentions at the start of the video that this talk is a condensed version of 7 years of research (including research from more than five hundred interviews with successful professionals).
One of the most interesting points that St.John mentions is that if you want to be successful at something, you need to “put your nose down in something and get damn good at it.”
But, the most motivational part of St.John’s speech for myself was when he talks about passion.
He said: “if you do something you love then the money comes along later.”
This is especially relevant for entrepreneurs – if you’re building a brand then try and be invested in it as much as possible.
When you’re trying to find success you need to love what you do!
Eric Thomas – I Can, I Will, I Must
Eric Thomas is a fantastic speaker, and in this classic motivational speech he empowers us to believe that we can always get through adversity, no matter what the challenge is.
Thomas repeats this line throughout the speech: “I can get through this. I will get through this. I must get through this.”
He also cleverly uses our loved ones as a source of inspiration in this motivational speech.
He asks us to focus on the 3 people we love the most, and challenges us to question our own decisions when it comes to motivation.
“You gotta think about those people every day.”
“You have some days when you think about hitting the snooze button? […] The days you don’t feel like getting up, just think about them.”
Instead of being lazy and complacent, we need to think about our loved ones, and question what they’d think if we were slacking off.
Honestly, it’s great doing something for yourself, but knowing that you’ve made your loved ones proud just makes everything feel 10 times better.
And that’s why this is one of the best motivational speeches of all time. It takes the onus away from working for yourself, and instead focuses on putting in the work for people you couldn’t bare to let down.
Denzel Washington – Fall Forward
“You will fail at something. Accept it.”
In the last entry on our list of the best motivational speeches, Denzel Washington discusses failure.
But, Washington doesn’t shirk away from failure, he embraces it.
He says that “every failed experiment is one step closer to success.”
This is certainly true when it comes to entrepreneurship – you learn so much from everything you do, whether it’s a win or a loss.
But, the most important thing isn’t necessarily winning or losing, it’s more about getting out there and giving it everything you’ve got.
“Never be discouraged. Never hold back. And when you fall in life, remember this: fall forward.”
So, that’s our list of the best motivational speeches for entrepreneurs.
We hope you enjoyed those clips, and we just want to highlight a couple of key points that are present across all of these speeches.
- It’s important that you love what you do. Be invested. Be present. Be the best you can be.
- Failure isn’t a bad thing. If you learn from it, and continue to move forward, it can lead to great things.
- You need to want it. Entrepreneurship, along with many things in life, can be tough. You want it bad? Prove it.
Okay, that’s all from me today. Did I miss any motivational speeches off from this list? Let me know in the comments section – I read them all!