10 motivational speech examples

25/01/2023 | Santander Universidades

Motivation is the key to workplace success. In fact, staff who are engaged with their jobs have a four times higher success rate, according to the Q12 Meta-Analysis report by Gallup. 

This success comes from greater levels of efficiency, productivity, satisfaction, stress management, development of personal relationships, and capacity to problem-solve which, in turn, entail having greater motivation. As the writer Charles R. Swindoll notes, "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it."

The power of the word: 10 motivational speech examples

We all know that maintaining motivation is not always easy. However, at times when you think you've lost your enthusiasm for your work and don't have any goals to work towards, you can turn to the movies.

There are plenty of examples from the silver screen of speeches that will inspire you on various levels to pick up your professional projects once more with the maximum energy possible. Below, you will discover 10 great examples of motivational speeches from the world of film which are sure to lift your mood.

 "The Great Dictator": the freedom to have a purpose

In this film from 1940, Charlie Chaplin speaks about the freedom to decide what you want to do with your future, overcoming societal conventions and searching for a true purpose in life. His advice is not to give up, not to let people who tell you how to think, act or feel bring you down. 

“You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure."

The Great Dictator

"The Pursuit of Happyness": the power of perseverance

Do you have a dream? Chase it, even if you find obstacles in the way or people try to convince you to give up. That's the advice given by Chris Gardner (Will Smith) to his son in the film The Pursuit of Happyness, a veritable ode to perseverance that was a must-include on this list of inspirational speeches. 

"Don't ever let someone tell you, you can't do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period."

The Pursuit of Happyness

"Rocky Balboa”: resilience to withstand the blows

As with the previous example, this is also a case of words that a father, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), dedicates to his son. In one scene from the film, the main character is talking about the inevitable blows in life and how true achievers are those who push on while they're being beaten down, without complaining, without looking for a scapegoat. 

"If you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody."

Rocky Balboa

"Pay It Forward": the power to change the world

This film, directed by Mimi Leder, is another example of motivational speech that forces the viewer to reflect on their role in society. What does the world mean to you? What does the world expect from you? With these two questions, Kevin Spacey floats the idea to a group of seventh graders that the power to build your own future lies inside of you, despite the disappointments of adult life.

"The realm of possibility exists in each of you; you can surprise us, it's up to you."

Pay It Forward

“Any Given Sunday”: small steps towards major goals

Achieving your dreams is a mammoth task; the path is littered with obstacles that may lead you to feel demotivated. How can you avoid this? As Al Pacino points out in this movie about American football: play by play, inch by inch. When the results are long-term, it's common to lose hope because you can't see any tangible progress. Hence the importance of setting short-term objectives, small milestones that encourage you to forge ahead with your personal and professional projects. 

"We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches that’s gonna make the difference between winning and losing".

Any Given Sunday

“V for Vendetta”: getting out of your comfort zone

Any career involves myriad difficulties and barriers, but what should you do to tackle these? Do you resign yourself to new circumstances or try to overcome the obstacles? It's easy to fall into a rut, the safety of the known, the tranquillity of monotony, as the well-known speech in V for Vendetta tells us, advocating for us to get out of our comfort zones, pursue our goals and not keep doing things we don't like.

"The truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? If you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror".

V for Vendetta

"Invictus”: how to be an inspirational leader

Are you looking for leadership motivation? In this film, there's a scene that really clears up how to be an inspirational leader that gets the best out of a team and goes that extra mile to achieve its objectives. How can you make others better than they think they are? The key lies in serving as a model and encouraging a sense of belonging, just as Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman discuss.

"We need inspiration, because in order to build our nation, we must all exceed our own expectations".


"Steve Jobs": A gift for innovation

In the final speech from the biopic Jobs, the founder of Apple, played by Ashton Kutcher, makes a plea for all those people who seek new ways to make the world better. He talks about the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the ones who don't fit in and the ones who see things differently, defying the rules and disrupting the status quo. Considering everything this visionary achieved in life, his words will undoubtedly help you to recoup your motivation. 

"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

Steve Jobs

"Dead Poets Society": finding new perspectives

"O Captain! My Captain!" You're sure to have heard this legendary phrase from the Dead Poets Society at least once, but this film directed by Peter Weir and starring Robin Williams is packed with profound teachings. One of them is the importance of seeking new perspectives, of developing a global vision that lets you understand the environment and, harnessing this knowledge, dare to change and explore new fields. 

"I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things a different way. Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it in another way. Even though it may seem silly or wrong."

Dead Poets Society

Good Will Hunting: nobody knows it all

These motivational speech examples, taken from the big screen, feature the same actor, but this time in his role in Good Will Hunting. In a few short minutes, this scene highlights that nobody knows it all, and that to keep growing personally and professionally, we need to embrace continuous improvement. Without this ongoing learning, there can be no evolution, even if you're a genius as is the case of the main character played by Matt Damon. 

“I look at you and I don't see an intelligent, confident man. I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you're a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine and you ripped my life apart."

Good Will Hunting

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