It’s hard to go a day without hitting play on a video that’s just gone viral on the web. Although YouTube and Vimeo are populated with thousands of fluff clips featuring pensive cats and double rainbows, there are also plenty of valuable videos out there up that will get you thinking about the bigger picture. Thought leaders worldwide have taken to online digital media to spread important ideas that can change the world — and we’ve collected seven of their most inspirational videos to share with you. So whether you’re an athlete, a design geek, a thrill-seeker, or someone who is just looking for a little bit of encouragement, check out these viral videos that will motivate you to do more!
Most of us have seen Steve Jobs‘ commencement speech at Stanford in June 2005, but whether you’ve watched it once or one hundred times, there’s always the promise of something new to take away from it. Given shortly after his first surgery for pancreatic cancer, Jobs thoughtfully expresses how important it is to not let fear get the better of you and how success and happiness will come when follow your heart. Full of quotables, his address is funny, wise and exceedingly sobering — how many graduation speakers tell 20-year-olds: “Your time is limited”?
Every so often you might question whether or not you’re on the right life path. While there’s no predicting the future, thinking about what you want your efforts to culminate in is a good way to start putting things in perspective. This video by Daniel Pink, author of DRIVE: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, tells us to ask ourselves: “What’s my sentence?” It’s a very simple but powerful question, and the answer will arm you with what you need to navigate your life and get motivated.
“Do, don’t say” best describes Skyliners – an amazing video documenting French highliners who take to the skies of Paris practicing their extreme craft. Watch these guys cross a slender rope, tethered between buildings hundreds of feet up in the air, in a series of breathtaking clips that underscore the payoff of taking risks, dreaming big and working together. Here you’ll see that there is no greater satisfaction than the satisfaction that comes from doing what you love.
In an event that most would qualify as unfortunate, or ironic at best, neuro-anatomist Jill Bolte Taylor turns a personal health tragedy into an inimitable learning experience. In her riveting TED Talk, Taylor recalls being hit by a brain hemorrhage and a stroke one morning, and what happened as she watched her brain functions completely shut down one by one. Through a tale that details a battle between two cognitive minds — the right and left brain — Taylor sheds light on how the brain functions, and how learning to let the right side of our brain speak will give us the motivation we need to choose who we want to be in the world.
It’s not every day that Nike gives you a wad of cash and tells you to make a video about what it means to “make it count”. While most ad men would sit in an office scratching their head wondering how to give the good ol’ swoosh a fresh new look, YouTube film maker Casey Neistat spent the money on an exhilarating whirlwind trip around the world. This may at first come off as a case of overindulgence, but Neistat’s four-and-a-half-minute video reminds us just how rich, strange, scary and spectacular the world is, and how important it is to seize all its glory without hesitation.