7 Viral Videos to Inspire You

best_viral_videos.jpgIt’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!

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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.
Diane Pham / Inhabitat
Diane Pham
Diane Pham, Architecture and Design Editor of Inhabitat, is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, NY. Like so many people out there she too thought she wanted to be an architect when she grew up. After graduating from USC’s Marshall School, she enjoyed a brief stint at SCI-Arc, then working for the A+D Museum in Los Angeles, Perkins Eastman Architects and Resoultion4: Architecture handling their marketing, PR and graphic work. A native Angeleno, she’s also lived in Milan and Paris, and still has her sights set beyond the borders of the US. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, learning languages, cooking, taking photographs and doing as many new things as she can, every moment she can.
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  • http://profile.typepad.com/tracyflynn GothamGirl

    Love this article.

    Have you seen Caine’s Arcade?

    Enchanting and inspiration 10 minute doc:

  • http://profile.typepad.com/yukayoneda1 YukaYoneda

    Steve Jobs’ speech definitely inspired me. The story of father and son team Dick and Rick Hoyt also really moved me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDnrLv6z-mM

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406361473 Yoka

      Yes it does exist but it costs a310, and has some very varied reiewvs:8 people gave it 5 stars1 person gave it 4 stars1 person gave it 3 stars1 person gave it 2 stars11 people gave it 1 star.Surely the DoH could do something better than this.[Data taken from UK iTunes App store on the 26/08/11]

  • http://profile.typepad.com/d99929088437950221 A Facebook User

    I love Steve, but I really enjoyed Jill Taylor’s video. It’s amazing how she could make something that was so nearly lethal an incredible learning experience. I think this is something we could all learn from. Great post!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406371135 Lucy

      How quick is the updating betewen cloud and device? (Mail and Calendar and such?)Also, how does the keypad hold up writing long messages/emails? I’m from the UK and the G1 came out over here today, I went to try it, but it was tethered so couldn’t get a really good feel for the phone.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/andrewmichler AndrewMichler

    Watching the Skywalker video cant help but think of Phillip Petit. His walking of the twin towers has to be one of the most inspired actions in my lifetime.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406365378 Seven

      Who’s really bennfittieg from all this publicity? Amazon, of course. They’re the ones starting this thing from scratch, not Apple. If Apple were smart, they’d keep their lawsuits to themselves and at least make Amazon have to spend a billion dollars in marketing to get the word out. Now, the fact Amazon even has an “Appstore,” or whatever it ends up being called is all over the tech trades and spilling into mainstream media.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/markandrewboyer MarkAndrewBoyer

    The Skyliners vid is fantastic. And I love the editing on the Nike ad.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406386640 Ruslan

      is the barcode-scanner-thing as cool as it seems like to me? i haven’t relaly read too much about it, but i thought i had heard that you can scan something in a store, then it can tell you if you can find it cheaper close by creepy gps alert! BIG BROTHER!!! AHhahahdhfhhbhjfsbng

  • http://profile.typepad.com/allisonleahy Allison Leahy

    Benjamin Zander is hilarious! His TED talk will moves the audience to share his dream of a classical music revolution and inspires us all to be “one buttock” players.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003406374854 Luyanda

      Say you had neither the iPhone or the G1, you don’t have a Crackberry, don’t need a smart’ phone for work, and you were on a dineerfft carrier than each respective phone (e.g. Sprint or Verizon). Assuming your contract is up, would you leave your current carrier for the iPhone or the G1?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/zimmerlori Lori Zimmer

    skyliners is amazing!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/hazler06 Hazler_06

    An amazing set of videos. The Steve Jobs one is a classic and always inspiring. However, the Skywalker video is just brilliant – and like Andrew made me think of the incredible Philip Petit film, but I live the views over Paris in this modern version.

  • http://www.banecostume.org Julien Davalos

    Really informative article.