For the past decade, I've used this blog to publicize the best motivational videos published on YouTube each year. Over that time, production values on these videos have improved and entire channels featuring the "motivational" genre have sprung up.
Nevertheless, the basic message remains the same: dream big, plan big, take massive action, stay positive, and so forth. With that in mind, here are five great motivational videos that were published in 2017.
The Secret to Self-Motivation
Mel Robbins points out that people mostly act out of fear which makes it difficult to take risks. As a result, most people only feel motivated to do things that are easy: like eating junk food or binge-watching TV.
Because they're avoiding risk, people hesitate to take action. Robbins suggests that taking action in small things, without hesitating, can build the momentum required to create long-term success.
She then tells a personal story of how she used small actions taken on a daily basis to overcome a major financial setback.
Struggle Makes You Stronger
This video expresses the powerful belief that it's the struggle against pain and the challenges of life that turns you into a stronger, better person.
The most meaningful section (to me, at least) of this video bears repeating: "Nobody wants to hear the story of the man that was given everything... people want to hear the stories of men, and women that endured pain and turned their struggles into a gift."
On a personal basis, this video spoke to the part of me that, quite frankly, has been feeling sorry for myself because I developed heart disease and had a huge bypass operation. That this was ultimately a good thing to happen is a huge revelation.
When Life Hits You
Weirdly, it was just after I'd written the final paragraph for the previous video that I found and watched this one, which starts with the problems of disappointment and specifically with encountering health problems and "rolling with the punches."
However, it then segues into discussing entrepreneurism, connecting the ability to handle disappointment directly to your ability to keep going until you succeed. What's important here, I think, is that really winning is merely showing up and trying.
Average is For the Weak
I liked this video because it was pointed specifically at students. However, the advice that you should work rather than sleep is a recipe for stupidity and self-destruction. There is nothing more important than health and health is only possible if you get enough sleep.
Another quibble is that the generally useful idea that you're responsible for your own success can lead to victim-blaming those who are poor. In my experience, poor people work harder--much harder--than rich ones.
On the personal level, you must play the cards that life dealt you. However, when the game is rigged by inherited wealth and concentrated power (as it is today more than ever before in history), there's only so much one person can do.
Stop Wasting Time
What struck me about this video is that motivational video (and the self-help movement in general) is very big on time management. At the same time, I've seen "motivation" hijacked in corporate cultures as a way to encourage people to put in long hours.
Motivation and time management are essential personal tools but it's crucially important to be aware that other people--specifically the people you work for--do NOT have your best interests at heart. When bosses talk "motivation" they mean "more unpaid overtime."
In almost ALL cases, if you're working long hours, you'll be better served if it's in service to your own goals rather than because you're being pressured to remain "motivated" to make somebody else successful.