The Most Inspirational Speeches Ever

In the midst of life’s challenges and trials, without motivation, it is hard for people to rise above despondency. This is why inspiration is such an integral part of our modern lives. It comes in different forms; some find it in books, some find it in a beautiful piece of music, others in their favourite movie. However, there is nothing that will motivate a person better than a speech from someone who has suffered through hardship and emerged, stronger, on the other side.

Here are the most inspirational speeches, from some of our greatest minds and leaders.

9. Barack Obama victory speech 2008

Obama is the first ever African American president in America. His election was an inspiration, to most people, and a reminder that nothing is impossible if you believe and have the courage to endure.


If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches, in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

Read and listen to the full speech here;

The challenges we face may leave us dismayed and paralyzed -unable to move forward. However, as indicated from the above speeches, rising above the spirit of mediocrity and complacency is possible.  Courage and perseverance are the keys to attaining success.

8. Steve jobs Stanford Commencement speech

This speech, given by Steve Jobs, seeks to give hope to all the people who have, in one way or another, experienced challenges completing school. In his story about connecting the dots, Steve tells the world of how he came to be. This speech is relevant to all of us, as different people are talented in different areas.  He speaks of how embracing who you are will help you achieve your dreams.


Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Do not be trapped by dogma – which is living the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice, and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Read and listen to the full speech here;

6. Nelson Mandela’s speech after release from prison

While resentment and bitterness often take root if one is treated unfairly, this was not the case for Nelson Mandela. He spent 27 years in jail for something he was passionate about and at the time of his release, he addressed the nation. His speech was filled with salutation and hope for the future, as he addressed the importance of democracy and equality among all people regardless of their race and ethnicity.


The need to unite the people of our country is as important a task now as it always has been. No individual leader is able to take this enormous task on his own. It is our task as leaders to place our views before our organizations and allow the democratic structures to decide. On the questions of democratic practice, I feel duty bound to make the point that a leader of the movements is a person who has been democratically elected at a national conference. This is a principle which must be upheld without any exceptions.

Read and listen to the full speech here;


6. Mahatma Gandhi “Quit India” speech

While most parts of the world were fighting for equality, India was fighting its own demons. They wanted to embrace democracy and fairness in the way the country was being run. The Quit India speech was addressed to the British leaders, to urge them to leave and let the Indian people lead themselves.


Ours is not a drive for power, but purely a non-violent fight for India’s independence. In a violent struggle, a successful general has been often known to affect a military coup and to set up a dictatorship. But under the Congress scheme of things, essentially non-violent as it is, there can be no room for dictatorship. A non-violent soldier of freedom will covet nothing for himself; he fights only for the freedom of his country… I believe that in the history of the world, there has not been a more genuinely democratic struggle for freedom than ours. But it is my conviction that in as much as these struggles were fought with the weapon of violence, they failed to realize the democratic ideal. In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by non-violence, there will be equal freedom for all. Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such democracy that I invite you today.

Read the full speech here;

4. John F Kennedy inauguration speech

Even though this speech addressed the situation in America at that time, it’s still relevant for our modern times. John F Kennedy said that to rise above, one cannot shrink or cower from responsibility. The only way to solve a problem is going through it. As a new president, John F Kennedy had the responsibility of leading the nation to a future the nation desired.


I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

Read or listen to the full speech here;

3. The Gettysburg address speech by Abraham Lincoln

It is important to look back and celebrate our past achievements. Yes, people will forget what you say, however the things you do will linger in their minds forever. That is why you need to strive for excellence and endure hardships to achieve great success. Abraham Lincoln addresses this in his speech, when he urges people to celebrate the fallen heroes of America.


The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here but, it can never forget what they did here.

Read and listen to the full speech here;

2. “We choose to go to the moon’’ speech by John F Kennedy

Rising above mediocrity and embracing excellence is the basis of this speech. The speech motivated America’s leaders and citizens to be tenacious and courageous in the pursuit of being the world’s superpower. This speech remains relevant today, especially to people who seek to pursue greatness with courage and confidence, despite the hardships and challenges that they may face.


But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy but; because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone and one which we intend to win and the others too.

Read and listen to the full speech here;

1. “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King

This speech was vocalised in August 1963 and it is as relevant now as it was then. Martin Luther King was an activist with a desire to see all people, from all races, treated fairly. The speech is known as the ‘American dream’ speech. This is because it addressed how he wanted America to be in the future; a peaceful country that honoured and accepted all persons. This speech gives hope that justice and equality is not only possible, but attainable.


I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”… I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Read and listen to the full speech here

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