Motivational Speeches and Quotes: The Best Ones for Anything

Motivational speeches can give us the extra drive to get things done when we need it most. Sometimes, those come from people around us. When you’re in a pinch, though, it usually makes more sense to draw motivation from a recording, a video, or a quote.

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That’s why we put together a list of some of the best motivational speeches and motivational quotes for you to easily reference if you need something to pull you through anything. If you set out to try and make money, make yourself a better person, or anything else in life, these can help a lot.

Updated 2.4.2022

Denzel Washington’s Penn commencement and other motivational speeches

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The guy’s charismatic, anybody who knows who he is knows that. This is one of those motivational speeches (like many on this list) that can get you ready to run through a brick wall. That, or, motor through a project, paper, etc. late at night. There’s part of another commencement speech he did included in that video.

Mel Robbins’ Many Motivational Speeches

Mel Robbins has been at low points before and dug her way out with some really powerful mental tools. Because of that, she helps a lot of other folks do the same when they get stuck in a rut.


Oprah does not need an intro. You know her, we all know her. She’s been through the worst situations and back with unflinching courage. Now her speech can help you get through whatever you need to.

Game of Inches Speech

This is probably one of the best motivational speeches out there. Al Pacino (as coach Tony D’Amato) gets his team pumped up by explaining how short life is and how success is a game of inches. The person who’s willing to die for that extra inch (or fail) will see the difference between winning and losing.

The Strangest Secret and other Earl motivational speeches

This one started a lot of the industry around recorded motivational speeches and personal development. “The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale outlines exactly how to find success in life – whatever that is by your definition. It encourages you to do your very best and never stop striving for that.

Lion Edition Motivational Speeches

This is a combination of many different motivational speeches into a nearly hour-long recording. This one is awesome.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Speech That “Broke the Internet”

It looks like the internet’s actually still working, but this speech from Arnold Schwarzenegger will absolutely motivate you. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know who he is and the accomplishments he’s pulled off in his lifetime.

Admiral McRaven

This commencement speech by Admiral William H. McRaven highlights the lessons he learned in Navy Seal training about success in life. He stresses the importance of the little things, teamwork and many other valuable lessons that you can draw on to make yourself a better person. Make your bed and listen to motivational speeches by this man and you won’t regret it.

“Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever present, but those who live in fear of failure, or hardship, or embarrassment will never achieve their potential. Without pushing your limits, without occasionally sliding down the rope headfirst, without daring greatly, you will never know what is truly possible in your life.” ― William H. McRaven

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Sacrifice for Success

This is a video made by fitness instructor Greg Plitt (RIP). If you need some motivational speeches, this guy will give them to you. He talks about how it’s not your genetics or potential, but your perseverance that will get you through whatever you need. This is one of those motivational speeches that’s perfect for the gym.

Never Give In – motivational speech

Winston Churchill stood up to one of the biggest enemies in the world as other nations were falling. He was the right guy at the right time. A lot of the things that guy said, even in small snippets, pass as great motivational speeches. He also had a tendency to get people riled up and mad at him. You can please some of the people some of the time, but rarely all of the people all of the time.

That first video is the actual Churchill speaking, this one below is from the movie “Darkest Hour,” where Gary Oldman delivered a phenomenal performance as the cigar chomping leader.

Motivational Quotes

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If you don’t have time for motivational speeches and need to glance at a quick quote, these should do the trick. Some of these were really invented by movie writers, but we’re crediting the delivery to the characters.

“This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” – Sir Winston Churchill

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – commonly attributed to Sir Winston Churchill, but never verified. It’s likely this is just an awesome quote that someone put Churchill’s name behind.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas A. Edison

“If you’re going through hell keep going.” – Commonly attributed to Sir Winston Churchill but never proven to be from him.

“I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your own dreams.” —Oprah Winfrey

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” ― John Lydgate

Even More Quotes From Motivational Speeches

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” – Unproven to actually be by Thomas Jefferson, but often attributed to him.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing–that’s why we recommend it daily.” -Zig Ziglar

“Do what is easy and your life will be hard. Do what is hard and your life will become easy.” – Les Brown, maybe the most insightful quote in this list.

“If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us.” – Jim Rohn

“You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.” – Tony Robbins

“We all fall down in life, the question is, who gets back up?” – Greg Plitt

A few quotes from fictional motivational speeches

“The future’s not set. There’s no fate but what we make for ourselves.” – John Connor/Kyle Reese, The Terminator

“I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” – Gandalf, Lord of the Rings

“When we add up all those inches that’s gonna make the f***in’ difference between winning and losing!” – Tony D’Amato, Any Given Sunday

Back to the real life motivational quotes

“We become what we think about all day long.” – Earl Nightingale

“A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.” –Vince Lombardi

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

“Faith is love taking the form of aspiration.” – William Ellery Channing

“When it comes to luck, you make your own.” – Bruce Springsteen

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one!” – Dolly Parton

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar

“I just swung for the fence. That’s my whole philosophy in life.” – Ronnie Van Zant

“If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?” – Allen Collins/Ronnie Van Zant

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Bob Buckley

Bob Buckley writes about food and business.