Inspirational speaker in the middle of motivational TED talks for students

Top 8 motivational speeches students should listen to

Last Updated on August 30, 2021 by iSchoolConnect

Words have power. Sometimes, you hear a speech that inspires you and completely changes your life. As a student, you will find that each motivational speech in this blog is a must-see. We have also listed out 5 bonus speeches towards the end!

Over the years, leaders and motivational speakers have been sharing great ideas and capturing the human imagination. Every speaker has in one way or another influenced us to visualize a better future. But there are some speakers who have entirely change the way we see the world. These are the ones who have inspired us the most. And we have made sure to include every such speaker’s motivational speech in this blog. Read on!

1) Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die

The man, the myth, the legend. At his Stanford University commencement speech, Steve Jobs, CEO, and co-founder of Apple and Pixar speaks about trusting your gut. It somehow already knows where you need to be. He also speaks about “connecting the dots”.

When you look back at your life, he says, you will see that everything was connected. It led you to a meaningful and fated destination. This talk by Steve Jobs is a life-changing motivational speech for students. It gives you a sense of love and appreciation for this innovative entrepreneur and visionary, who had a reputation for being tough on his subordinates.

2) Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the best-selling book “Eat, Pray, Love,” speaks about her ideas on creativity. She delves into the history of creative genius and gives a background on the various definitions, as well as the evolution of beliefs on creativity throughout the centuries.

In this motivational speech, Elizabeth shares her own experience with creative genius and her struggle with the ability to connect to it again. I love this talk because she makes creativity sound like a mystical and divine gift that must be caught by those who are lucky enough to harness it. She presents some very interesting concepts, and the historical background is also very thought-provoking.

3) J.K. Rowling: The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination

J.K. Rowling is not only a spellbinding writer (pun intended) but also one of the best motivational speakers in the world. Her Commencement Speech at Harvard shared her story with millions of students, urging them to not be afraid of failure and inspiring them to tap into the power of imagination.

Before her work was recognized, Rowling was a poor, single mother who used to teach English at night school and write during her free time. It was facing failure head-on that taught her the lessons that she needed to succeed in life. In her motivational speech, she also talks about how imagination is “the power that enables us to empathize with humans” and implores us to use it for the good of others. 

4) Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?”. The author and ethnographer (an anthropologist who studies specific human subcultures), speaks on his findings on the most effective method to inspire change. He goes into detail about the parts of the brain that a leader must affect to influence others, as well as the type of behavior that inspires others to take action for a cause.

“Start with the Why” is Simon’s main tag line, and is based on the idea that if you can appeal to people’s hearts and make them truly believe what you believe then they will trust and follow you. This motivational speech is interesting for students because it gives you a scientific breakdown of the human brain and thinking patterns for decision-making.

5) Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She is also the author of a #1 New York Times bestselling book and the speaker of this motivational speech on the power of vulnerability.

According to Brené, the popular opinion that being vulnerable makes us emotional and weak is wrong. In this inspirational speech, she invites us to drop the armor that “protects” us. According to Brown, “when we open our minds to new experiences, we find joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.”

6) Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts

It can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert in a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else. But, as Susan Cain argues in this motivational speech, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world and should be encouraged and celebrated. 

Business and entrepreneurship are often thought to be a game played best by the outgoing. However, in this passionate case for introverted value, Cain shares that really the best environment for every person to be in are the ones that stimulate their productivity and creativity best. While introverts might brainstorm best in small groups or isolation, it does not matter how they do their best work. It’s the quality and contribution of the work brought forth that matters most for all personality types, introverts included.

7) Tim Urban: Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

Tim Urban’s TED speech on how procrastination works is super-insightful and motivational. According to Tim, the brains of procrastinators work differently. The Rational Decision-Maker in us wants to do things the right way, but our Instant-Gratification Monkey (who likes to sit back and relax) always gets in the way. Until…the Panic Monster in our minds starts screaming about deadlines.

One of the funniest and most inspirational speeches for students, ‘Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator’ does not give you an excuse for procrastinating. Instead, the ending of this inspirational speech will push you to get out of bed and start working RIGHT NOW!

8) Sarah Lewis: Embrace the Near Win

At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: Not every artwork was a total masterpiece.

In this motivational speech, she asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?

Bonus speeches

As promised, here are the 5 bonus motivational speeches students should listen to-

  1. How to make stress your friend, Kelly McGonigal
  2. Your body language may shape who you are, by Amy Cuddy
  3. What I learned from 100 days of rejection, Jia Jiang
  4. The danger of a single story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  5. 10 ways to have a better conversation, Celeste Headlee

We hope you enjoyed these speeches on student life and found as much value in them as we have! It is important to take these powerful words to your heart and pursue your dreams. iSchoolConnect helps you do just that. We encourage students to follow their dreams of studying abroad and help them every step of the way to achieve them.

Read more about: Top 100 graduate schools with low GPA requirements

Ashish Fernando

Ashish Fernando is the whole and sole of the remarkable ed-tech start-up, iSchoolConnect. Ashish is a brilliant edupreneur, passionate about reinventing the international admissions process, using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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  8. I love motivation speeches it means a lot and i am just a 12 year old kid I also have to make a motivational speech but i don’t know what to talk about?

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