February 7, 2017

Big Lessons For Today From Some Of The Greatest Speeches In History

Some of the greatest speeches

Who is to say what the greatest speeches in history are? There are so many amazing and memorable speeches in history that affect us all greatly at different times in our lives. Speeches on human rights, women’s rights, freedom, education, and other topics that really matter to the people of this world have been given by presidents, scientists, philosophers, leaders, and men and women looking for a change.

There are speeches said with so much passion that you can’t help but be brought to tears. There are moving speeches of real life stories focused on what people went through and the lessons they had to learn the hard way. And there are speeches that were created to, hopefully, make an impact and change the direction of the world.

It would be impossible to talk about all of the greatest speeches in history in one article. Therefore, while I think the following speeches offer some big lessons for today that everyone can learn and grow from, I highly recommend that if you are struggling with something in your life, look up some of the greatest speeches in history for inspiration, clarity, and motivation. They were written and said to inspire and inform. And they live on to help you break free from any limiting beliefs and struggles you may have so that you can move towards a better life.

John. F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address in 1961

Yoga at summit with aerial view of the mountain range and peak. Blue sky.John F. Kennedy made some of the greatest speeches in history, but his inaugural address made a clear statement about what he believed in and what direction he wanted, not just his country to go, but the world to go. The speech itself helped the nation understand how knowledgeable he was despite his young age of 43, and how serious he was about creating peace and cooperation.

While many people quote the line, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country’, I think his next sentence, ‘My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man,’ was beautifully said, sums up the message of his speech, and is just as important today as it was back then.

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The message paints a picture of cooperation, where we are all working together for the freedom of all. If this one line from his inaugural address had come true, imagine how the world would be now. A world working together for the freedom of all man and woman, not just the person who has certain beliefs or customs, but every man and woman.

His vision for the world was truly a great one and can be seen in this speech. If there were more leaders who held his core values and were willing to convey their messages to the public and other leaders, then this world would take a huge step in the right direction.

If you ever wonder what we can do to make this world better, watch this speech. It’s a great message to memorize. It’s also a great message to try to convey to other people in your own words. If we can all live in a way that aligns with the core values that promote this kind of message, the world will improve.

Muhammad Ali’s Speech On What He’s Going To Do When He’s Through Fighting

Motivated latin woman doing shoulder raises exercise with fitness resistance band. Urban outdoor strength workout.Most people know that Muhammad Ali was a successful boxer, but he was also an activist and deeply spiritual person. A young boy once asked a young Muhammad Ali what he was going to do when he retired from boxing. In his speech, which wasn’t rehearsed or read off a piece of paper, he answers the question in a roundabout way.

First, he talks about how out of 30 years of your life, you might have 16 years to be productive. As he says, “Add up all your traveling, add up all your sleeping, add up all your school, add up all your entertainment, you’ve probably been half your life doing nothing.” This insight is a powerful one and has inspired many people to view their time differently and use their time more wisely.

From there, the speech turned into a deeply spiritual speech that made everyone in the audience think of much more than just what Muhammad Ali was going to do when he retired. And for anyone who watches it now, it still has that effect.

His speech conveyed the fact that even though he was a great boxer, it wasn’t all that there was to his life. In fact, it wasn’t what he was centering his life around. His focus in life at the time of the speech (and what he ultimately said he would do when he retired) was to do all he could to help people because he believed in much more than just this physical realm. He believed that there was a heaven and he wanted to do good in the world so that he could see it. His speech was focused on the fact that this life is short and you are eventually going to come to an end, and how you get to that end is what matters most.

If you ever get too caught up in the meaningless things in life, his speech on what he’s going to do when he’s through fighting is a great speech to watch. It will remind you that no matter how successful you are in this physical world, there are bigger things to focus on than just your success. Making the most of your life isn’t about being the best or making the most money, it’s about making sure you are doing good things and using your time wisely.

Miep Gies’ 1996 Speech On Doing The Right Thing And Not Lumping People Together

Small light bulb glowing on wood backgroundMiep Gies helped to protect the Frank family for two years during the holocaust, and she found and saved Anne Frank’s diary before the hiding place was emptied by the authorities. In her speech on honoring Anne Frank, she talked about her grief that she still felt for their capture, and she delivered some powerful and important messages on doing the right thing in life, even if it is hard.

She talked about how many people think that people in trouble have done something wrong. It’s that view that keeps people from helping others when they need it most. The image of someone scared and knocking on the door comes to mind. Many of us would hide behind our curtains and not answer the door because we think that if they are in trouble, they must have done something wrong.

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Miep said she didn’t believe that people who were in trouble did something wrong. She knew that because of her own experiences in life. She experienced hardships and had not done anything wrong to deserve it, so she knew that you could be in trouble without blame, and that is how she felt about the Frank family and one of the reasons why she helped out.

Moreover, she expressed in her speech that many people are told to mind their own business and look the other way when people are struggling and need help, but her experience of being helped by her foster parents who already had five children and were living on a small salary helped her to see things differently. Whatever they had, they shared, and it left an impression on Miep Gies, which is another reason she helped the Frank family out.

Flag of USA on dark wood backgroundIn her speech, she also talked passionately about lumping people together. When we lump members of a group together and believe that they all think and act the same (which is simply racism to think that all of one group are the same) trouble starts. In fact, she said that lumping people together is what made it very easy for Hitler to gain so much support. Many Germans helped him with his vision because they grouped all Jewish people into one category. That lumping mentality resulted, she said, in six million Jewish people being killed along with ten times that number of other people.

She admitted that she had hated all Germans and Austrians for what they had done to her friends. She had been guilty of lumping all of them together as evil. But, one day, when she blew up at some Germans for what ‘they’ had done, she was told that they had themselves spent years in concentration camps for opposing Hitler. It taught her that we should never lump people together because every person makes his or her own decision. She said in her speech that even Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father, had always said that we should never lump people together. He said that every person makes his or own decision.

For all the people who still want to look away when they see someone struggling, Miep expressed a reason besides human decency during her speech. ‘If we allow this happen to our neighbor,’ she said, ‘there is no guarantee that it will stop at our doorstep.’ In other words, if you don’t help someone in need, then the trouble that has come to them could very well come to you.

Miep said that she was not a hero, she simply did what needed to be done, and she knew that she would live with many years of regret if she had not helped the Franks.

If you ever start lumping up people who have the same faith, color, or homeland together, this is a speech to remember. Millions upon millions of people were killed because people lumped people together. People supported Hitler because they lumped people together. Things beyond our imagination happened because of lumping people together. This is a lesson that we should all take from Miep Gies and her powerful speech and then we should teach it to other people.

Sojourner Truth At The Women’s Rights Convention in 1851

feminist girl holding her arm

“Ain’t I a woman?” That’s what Sojourner Truth, a woman born into slavery who had escaped only 25 years before this speech, asked. In her short but powerful speech, she talked about the hypocrisy of white men saying that women must be treated in a certain way – lifted over ditches and helped into carriages – when not one man had done that for her despite her being a woman.

She talked about how she had worked as hard as any man, ate as much as a man, and bore a lash as well as any man too. In this, she related to all women who had been slaves and abused, helped men understand her point better, and reminded other women that despite men talking as if women needed to be treated as the weaker sex, not all women had been treated that way.

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She also talked about how she had thirteen children, most of whom were sold into slavery, and despite her mother’s agony – despite the pain she had felt as a woman, no one had paid attention.

With her speech, she sent a strong message that all women and men should have equal rights. In fact, she even stated (with a lot of sarcasm likely) that because men have so much intellect, they should let women have one little thing – rights. She was using their own words against them, but it was a great way to appeal to people who thought they were superior in some way.

Small woman under pressure of big human handLastly, she disproved a religious reference that so many people used as an excuse to keep women down. She referred to a man in the audience, who had said that women couldn’t have rights because Christ wasn’t a woman. She said, “Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with him.” It was a great way to make the ignorant statement look ignorant in all eyes.

It’s 2017, nearly 166 years later, and women are still working hard to overcome the stereotypes that were put on them. To me, this is one of the greatest speeches in history because it sends a message of how ignorant and hypocritical people can be when affirming their beliefs. Moreover, it shows how people use tradition, faith, and religion wrongly to prove their point, which is still happening today.

If you ever feel like things aren’t going to change for women (or anything or anyone for that matter), this is the speech to listen to. Her speech is a reminder of how far we’ve come, how far we have to go, how strong women are to keep on going, and how we can change the minds of even the most stubborn minded.

Martin Luther King Jr. At Washington D.C. In 1963

I have a dreamOf course, any article on the greatest speeches in history would not be complete without the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. It is widely recognized as one of the best speeches ever given, and almost everyone has heard it. It’s easy to understand, it clearly lays out the problem, it promotes peace, and it is a call to action to stand up and do something. It is a speech that speaks of so many things, but most of all hope for something better – a world where people are not judged by their color, beliefs, or anything else besides their own personal character.

Sadly, there is still a lot of judgment towards people based on irrelevant things, and many of his dreams, such as everyone being sisters and brothers walking together hand in hand is not a reality yet. But, this speech still inspires the hope that it inspired then. It inspires the hope that freedom for everyone on this earth is possible, and it inspires emotions on how great that day will be. It is a great motivator to keep working for equality.

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If you start to lose your passion to fight for what’s right, listen to this speech. His speech, and the reaction he gets from it, is a great reminder of how good it is to have hope in your life and how you can inspire millions of other people to have that hope as well.

Russel H. Conwell’s Speech Will Motivate You To Find Success Wherever You Are

Exposure image of serious focused businessman thinks on game of chess. Mixed mediaThe Acres of Diamonds speech was reportedly delivered thousands of times and was his most popular speech of all time. And, it was one of the greatest speeches in history that can still be useful to us today. There are many lessons inside of the speech that can give insight into ourselves and make our lives much better than they were before we encountered it. Following are two of them.

The first lesson is about working with what you have. The acres of diamonds part of the speech is about a man who becomes consumed with the desire for diamonds and wealth, leaves his home in search of diamonds, and then ends up broke and exhausted. He throws himself into the ocean in the end. The man who buys his farm finds acres of diamonds and lives the dream that the man who left everything behind wanted to have. The lesson is that you don’t need to give up everything you have and go searching for wealth or anything else; instead, you can enjoy what you have – home, family, friends – and still obtain the kind of wealth you dream of by looking for opportunity and fortune in your backyard. And it is in your backyard, you just have to look for it.

The second lesson is about the desire for money. If you think that desiring wealth is a bad thing, then this speech also has a story to help you get rid of that negative thinking and go after the abundance in life that you desire. In the speech, he talks about a young theological student who dutifully told him that the scriptures declare that money is the root of all evil. The student was asked to bring in the bible and show him where it said that. He brought it in and ‘squealed’ “There it is. You can read it for yourself.” He, instead, made the student read it himself to gain a very important insight. It didn’t say that money was evil, it was the LOVE of money that was evil. This lesson is one that many people are still struggling with today. You don’t need to be poor to show how faithful you are to something or someone. Money can help you live the life you want, just don’t make money the center of your life.

And, while there are many more lessons in his speech, Russel H. Conwell ends with this, “He most lives who thinks most, who feels the noblest, and who acts the best.” Those are words of wisdom to live by in that past, present, and future of everyone’s life.

If you ever feel like you can’t work with what you have and find success wherever you are, think again. There are acres of diamonds in your backyard, you just have to find them.

Barack Obama On The Power Of Words And Hope

Close up on a man and a woman holding hands at a wooden table

I feel like a lot of people are losing hope nowadays, which is why I chose this speech to be in this article. “Don’t tell me words don’t matter.” That’s what Barack Obama said in the last part of his speech at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Founders Day Gala on February 16th, 2008.

A lot of people don’t pay attention to their words or think about how their words are affecting other people. But, words have the power to inspire a person or tear them down in anger and fear. At this time, you just have to look at Donald Trump’s Twitter account to understand that truth. Moreover, the greatest speeches in history, the ones that shaped our world for the better, were made up of just words.

Barack Obama does say in his speech that speeches don’t solve all problems, which points to the fact that action is important as well. But, change comes from people believing in words and then taking action on what needs to be done.

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Moreover, he said that words inspire inspiration and hope. As he points out in this speech, hope doesn’t equal ignorance. Hope is not blind optimism. Hope is not about waiting for something good to happen with your hands tucked under your butt. Hope is about seeing what is in front of you and believing that you can create something better for yourself and your life. This is the message that he gives in his speech, and, perhaps, it is one of the reasons that so many people felt drawn towards him.

He points out that nothing good has come without hope and that we don’t have to settle for what the cynics tell us is possible. Everything that has happened has come from hope. Every positive change that has happened in this world has come from hope. Imagining and then working for what did not seem possible before is what hope is all about.

If you feel like your words and dreams are not important, and you can’t find hope in other people’s words or dreams, then this speech is something you should listen to. It will help you remember that your words need to be thought out before they are said. It will help you to remember that you need to say the words that you find meaningful and impactful, not hurtful and unhelpful. And, it will help you have hope and believe in people who have hope, because hope – and action on that hope – is the catalyst for positive change.

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