When it comes to “motivational speaking”, I’m bit of a skeptic. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that regularly watching motivational videos had a significant impact on my life.
There’s nothing scientific about this experiment. It’s the definition of anecdotal. It’s my own singular experience, placed within the context of an extremely busy lifestyle. I can’t guarantee that the impact of the videos that I describe to you below will have the same effect on your life. I can only testify to how my own life has changed after adopting this one daily habit.
Watching 3 Motivational Videos a Day
Here’s how the “experiment” was planned.
Every morning, on my drive into work, I would launch random motivational video #1 and listen to it during my forty-minute drive. The motivational videos were typically 5 to 7 minutes each.
Next, during lunchtime, I would slip on some headphones and listen to another random 5-minute motivational video #2.
Finally, on my drive back home at the end of the day, I would randomly select 5-minute motivational video #3.
At the beginning, I found the schedule difficult to keep. I’m normally a very busy and driven person as it is, so remembering to listen or watch another video wasn’t always easy. However, within just the first few days, I started noticing some very interesting, almost unnerving, changes in myself.
How Motivational Videos Changed Me
The thing that I never would have expected about this experience was not the fact that the motivational videos seemed to give me more energy and more drive each day — that’s predictable. What wasn’t predictable was that doing this experiment would change the entire focus of my life.
As I paid attention to each of the speakers in these videos, I started looking around at my life a little more — at the things I took for granted; at the habits I’d formed for comfort rather than my dreams; and at the choices I had made for all the wrong reasons.
It was during a long hike one day (with a motivational video playing in my headset) when the realization finally hit me.
Up until that day, I’d been making choices based on what everyone else may think of me. I chose engineering rather than writing, because my family convinced me that focusing on money first would allow me to focus on my dreams later. I chose a long term goal of management at my job, rather than a long term goal that would make me truly happy.
Then the next questions to ponder came along, during these sessions of listening to motivational videos:
What does truly make me happy?
What do I want to be remembered for?
This is when I sat down at the top of a mountain and listed off the things that I want to be remembered for:
- Being a loving father
- Being a loving husband
- Being at my peak physical condition
- Being a writer who impacted the lives of millions
What things do you want to be remembered for? If you knew you weren’t going to be here tomorrow, would you be making choices and going to a job you hate just because you’re afraid of what might happen later if you pursue your dreams today?
I’d been working my entire life — working more hours a day than most people — simply to survive; to get out of debt, to keep my head above mounting medical bills, to give my family a better life, and to hopefully leave something to my children when I’m gone.
But, how is this greatness?
There is one motivational quote from Les Brown that struck me like a ton of bricks — it’s something that I’ll never forget:
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”
So, that was the moment of realization. But did it materialize into anything real? You bet it did.
Believe it or not, it was only on Week Two of this experiment that I started noticing actual, physical differences in my life. I’m not sure if it was the higher energy level that the videos gave me every morning, but for some strange reason, I had dropped 10 pounds in the first two weeks of this experiment.
My first thought when I saw that was, “Well, that’s weird.” I hadn’t even increased my weekly workouts at all. In fact, I hadn’t worked out since the experiment started.
Somewhere in that second week, once I had laid out those key life dreams, I sat down and took a closer look at my to-do list and my long-term plans. My previous list had things like starting 4-5 businesses that I figured would make lots of money. My new list looked entirely different — and instead of starting off focusing on money, I focused on whether or not I imagined myself being happy in 10-20 years if these new dreams were successful.
What I realized was rather shocking — I ended up deleting most of my past so-called “dreams”. Why was I so focused on making more money, after learning throughout my life that earning more money was never enough — that I always needed more?
Instead of surviving, my new focus — and my new daily goals and to-do lists — would be focused not on surviving, but on thriving; being happy today, because we’re not guaranteed to have tomorrow. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. Today is all you really have — right now, this moment, is what you have to work with. So, every moment has to be your best; not lived in fear of a future with not enough, but lived with the belief that if you do what you love today, tomorrow your life will be greater than you ever imagined possible.
On Week Three, I had reworked my long term goals, and completely reworked my daily to-do list. Now each week, I was doing things that I should have been doing more for years — spending more time with my wife, my kids, and with my life’s passion.
In this third week:
- I would help my daughter pursue her dream to become a filmmaker, by creating investigative journalism videos with her.
- I would help my younger daughter pursue her dream to become a professional taekwondo competitor by converting our garage into a training “dojo”, and train with her.
- My wife loves running 5k races, so I decided to start running so that I could run them with her (and achieve my life dream of peak fitness).
- I decided to start writing a book about our family’s experience dealing with the corrupt health insurance system in the United States.
These weren’t just feelings — I literally changed my entire daily structure to focus on these new goals. I’m not sure there’s any other more dramatic way you could change your life, than doing this. When I think about the fact that this was all inspired from this silly little motivational video experiment, it still surprises me. Maybe I’m not as skeptical as I thought I was.
The Best Motivational Videos
On Week Four (and the final week) of the experiment, I’m seeing greatness in my life that I never imagined. I’ve studied and learned how to run without causing pain in my knees and ankles — and I’ve already accomplished running further than I ever thought I could. A 5k race may feel like an easy workout to me before long — something I never imagined possible for me. I’d always claimed that I hated running.
My daughter and I have almost finished our first investigative documentary. I’ve outlined and planned out my first novel. I have a radio interview next week. Things are already happening, and there’s no turning back now.
Want to see if motivational videos may have the same kind of impact on your life? Here are a few of my favorites:
This will help you find a way to trust your gifts, and have the confidence to follow your heart.
#2. I AM Going to Make It
I think one of the most popular motivational speakers on YouTube — whose quotes you will find embedded in many of the other motivational videos throughout YouTube — is Les Brown. One of his most powerful speeches, and one I always highly recommend to everyone who asks me which videos had such a strong impact on me, is this one.
#3. Why Do We Fall
If you’re ever feeling like things are getting too hard and you want to give up on your dreams, this is a really powerful video to watch. You’re sure to find your mojo again after watching this one.
#4. Reprogram Your Mind
If you have a hard time believing that your dreams could really come true, this video is truly amazing — it’ll help you to “retrain” your subconscious mind to manifest your dreams in your life. It truly works, if you put your entire life and thoughts into doing it.
#5. A Wolf Among Sheep
Your World Within has a pretty good mix of motivational videos. The message he speaks in these videos is true — these are reasons you need to understand your true worth; how being different is actually what sets you apart from the masses. It’s in being different that your greatness exists. Don’t be a sheep; be a wolf.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. On YouTube there is a seemingly limitless well of motivational videos for you to choose from. However, many of these are overlapped edits of the same quotes and speeches clipped and copied from movies or other motivational speeches.
If you find that you’re running out of new material, visit your local library and seek out motivational DVDs and books there. You’ll find another huge collection. When that library runs out, move on to the next. Look for motivational movies on Amazon Prime. Listen to motivational music on Pandora. Never let up. Keep feeding that good wolf inside yourself.
If you have a dream that you’ve been putting off — if you’re living a life that you aren’t entirely satisfied with — I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from none other than Pope John XXIII.
“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”
Calling all dreamers; it’s time to stop surviving, and start thriving.
What are your dreams? Have you ever given it real thought? What are you afraid of that prevents you from getting started today? Share your dreams and ideas in the comments section below.