Year 2015 was probably one of the heaviest years for me about my work-travel. I did some 100+ Events that year across India & Asia. One September evening, when I was totally zonked & bored with daily flights I decided to have some fun. I held a contest on my Social Media: Motivate the Motivational Speaker. My believers had to try and motivate me. Some people did surprise me with their originality & creativity in their point of views. Few of them became friends & they manage to inspire me even today during conversations. My work as a Motivational Speaker for Corporate Events & Youth in the last 18+ yrs has had the influence of some of the most brilliant, top Motivational Speakers in the world. Their content, their stories, and their style of communication – it all just makes me a fanboy!
In this blog post, I want to not only share the names of those 6 top motivational speakers in the world who have inspired me the most, but I also want to share their stories with you. I want to tell you what made them who they are. I want to talk about the struggles, or the inspirations that brought out to the world, the gem that is their beautiful thought process is. Each of these speakers are an institution in themselves, inspiring millions across the globe. Each of them has their own forte, a domain they excel at. And I look forward to hearing from you about your personal favorites. So, here goes my list of 6 Top Motivational Speakers in the world who have inspired me the most:-
1. Eckhart Tolle
Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.
Eckhart Tolle is widely known as one of the best spiritual teachers and philosophers of our time. If you have been reading my blogs, you would know the immense love I have for the book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Sri Sri Paramhansa Yogananda Ji. Before that book changed my life forever, it was Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now’ that held me captive with the beauty and clarity with which it has been written.
(If you are looking for more category wise book recommendations, read ‘List of Fantastic Books for your Reading Habit’)
Eckhart was born as Ulrich Leonard Tolle, a German Canadian. While he is known as one of the most popular spiritual teachers of the US, he famously does not subscribe to any religion. His ideas and thoughts come from an amalgamation of the best of many religions around the world. But the test of fire that made him the fine steel that he is today was quite difficult. He grew up in post war Germany, playing in bombed out buildings and struggling with the divorce of his parents at an early age.
Tolle confesses to having suffered from depression, anxiety, and fear for a prolonged period of time. It was his struggle to find answers that led him to where he is today. How that revelation came by, is a story better heard from Tolle himself. I would highly recommend that you take a peek at his YouTube channel and go through his stunning blogs, if his books aren’t enough for you. Ironically, ‘The Power of Now’ didn’t do very well for the first two years of publishing. But that never stopped Mr. Tolle from helping people with his beautiful ideas.
But if you choose to trust the word of a person who has walked on the toughest roads to give you advice about finding beautiful paths, then here’s one of his simplest, yet most profound quotes:
Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Now make the Now the primary focus of your life.
His words deeply inspire me to look beyond the fears of the future and the mistakes of the past. And his own struggles are a success story for the millions out there suffering from mental health issues yet trying to make something of their lives.
The real question is not whether life exists after death. The real question is whether you are alive before death.
That’s Osho Rajneesh for you – tongue in cheek, funny, yet making superb sense. Osho was one of the most popular Indian cult leaders – a spiritual teacher, and a believer of dynamic meditation. Yes there are varying opinions around the credibility of his organization and his ways. But that does not mean that his ideas aren’t worth a thought.
The reason Osho inspired me as a Motivational Speaker was that – his communication skills were superb! As much as he was against the ritualistic nature of organized religion, his discourse style was also against those conventional methods. Even when he came under constant scrutiny and criticism, he held his ground and went on helping people as much as he could. While he found thousands who discredited him, he also found millions who believed in him.
Trying to throw a light on his controversial yet magnanimous life using few words would be a herculean task. If you wish to get a decent picture of what made Rajneesh Osho become who he was among his believers, take a look. The pull for me, in his story, is that irrespective of all the criticism and backlash, he rose from ashes every time. As someone who is often criticised for being too straightforward, and as someone who was laughed at immensely during the beginning of my career – it is Osho’s undying spirit that inspired me. He might not be alive today but sharing some of his thoughts on love, spirituality, and meditation in the belief that they resonate with you fully –
If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.
Life repeats itself mindlessly – unless you become mindful, it will go on repeating like a wheel.
This one is super beautiful! -Don’t try to become. Within these two words, be and becoming, your whole life is contained. Being is enlightenment, becoming is ignorance.
Be like an alone peak high in the sky. Why should you hanker to belong? You are not a thing! Things belong!
He may have taught a different path, a different way of meditating than what I choose to walk on, but his ideas are definitely worth living for!
3. Anthony Robbins
“The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.”
Anthony Robbins, more commonly known as Tony Robbins, is one of the most celebrated and well known motivational speakers of our times.
I have got to confess here. Most of us have huge similarity in what we say to our clients and audiences because the truths of life usually remain the same, no matter who says it. But how we say it – that makes all the difference in the world. And Tony Robbins was one of the first people I learned from, at a technical level. He masters a room of 10,000 people with as much ease as one with 200. And yet he makes it look like he is talking to you personally. For a motivational speaker, that’s an essential art.
The lesser known part of his story is that he has suffered from an unhappy and abusive childhood. It is said that he walked out at the age of 17 and never returned home. It is also said that as a child he suffered from pituitary tumor. Turning that kind of life around takes a special kind of resilience which is what makes him an inspiration for millions. From being homeless at 17 to working on an individual basis with the likes of Bill Gates, Serena Williams, Hugh Jackman, Pitbull and many more – it’s a story that is deeply moving.
Robbins is mostly known for his popular seminar ‘Unleash the Power Within’ and his 5 books which revolve around improving personal performance and health & energy. One of my favourite quotes by Tony Robbins –
If you talk about it, it’s a dream, if you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.
4. Simon Sinek
“As the Zen Buddhist saying goes, how you do anything is how you do everything.”
What do I write about Simon Sinek! He is a British-American author, motivational speaker, and organizational consultant. His most notable work is his book titled ‘Start with Why’ – a bestseller and rightly so. His TED talk based on his idea around starting with the question why – is one of the most watched TED talks of all times. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do! (Video)
From being an advertising guy at Ogilvy and Mather to being the speaker who addresses the UN Global Impact Leaders Summit, Simon has come a long way. Anyone wanting to be a motivational speaker needs to learn from this guy. His communication – impeccable. His content – fresh and hard hitting. His ideas – so relevant! But the skill with which he reaches out to his audiences, the talented marketing brain that he has (being an ad man) – is definitely something worth learning. After all, what good are a motivational speaker’s ideas if the outreach is not enough!
This idea of first understanding the motivation behind our actions (the why) and then designing the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ around it – is one that I have often borrowed with successful results.
One of my favourite quotes by Simon Sinek –
“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
5. Marshall Goldsmith
“When we presume that we are better than people who need structure and guidance, we lack one of the most crucial ingredients for change: humility.”
Dr Marshall Goldsmith is an American leadership coach and a highly celebrated author. An academician by profession, Dr Marshall took to leadership coaching full time when his practical and proven methods started having an impact far beyond his classrooms. He realized he could make a difference! A graduate in mathematical economics, an MBA, and a PhD in management, Dr Marshall is to be credited for the 360 degree feedback system that I am sure many of your organizations use!
Marshall specializes in team building, leadership, and coaching and development of future leaders. You want a leader customized as per your business, he is the guy you go to! And he runs this beautiful program called 100 coaches where every year he teaches 15 people everything he knows, free of charge and they have to pass it on to 15 other people for free. The idea came to him when he realized that all his personal heroes were simply great teachers who were very generous with their knowledge.
His zest for passing on his wisdom is one of the biggest inspirations behind my blogs. While I love speaking, I can’t reach to everyone who needs me. That’s why I blog. And his own blog is one that is full of interesting anecdotes and ideas for making our everyday better. Do check it out!
Sharing some of his most practical and endearing tips for budding leaders –
a) He talks about not needing to win every time and letting others take back small wins so that you can become a bigger leader. He encourages leaders to stop trying so hard to win.
b) Marshall often tells the members of his 100 coaches program that the leaders need to learn humility first and foremost. They need to cultivate the art of listening to their families, their teams, and their people and not let ego get in the way of great advice or progress.
c) Want to be better team leader? Ask your team where you are going. He shares this story of how his daughter called out on him when he wasn’t fully paying attention to her on one of those rare days when he wasn’t packed in a suitcase. And he decided to make it a personal goal to spend quality family time as a part of his everyday routine.As a father of two, I totally agree with this strategy – that you need to make conscious effort to spend time with people who matter the most to you – no matter how crazy your schedules are. Because, your deepest happiness and well-being is attached to it.
d) We already have everything we need. We always have so much more! If only one were to understand this seemingly simple but deep idea – one would save so much time otherwise being wasted on chasing things or people we don’t need. That race is never ending. There is no point being the first on the finishing line that keeps going further away!
Deeply inspirational and highly practical – that’s Marshall Goldsmith for you! Here’s another of my favorite lines by him:
“We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.”
6. Nick Vujicic
Yes I did save the best for the last.
It is not about him being differently abled and yet being one of the most successful motivational speakers in the world.
It is not about him being a paraplegic and his difficult life doing the talking.
It is not even about admiration.
Nick’s story is one of courage and acceptance and faith. Nicholas Vujicic or Nick Vujicic is an Australian Motivational Speaker born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a condition characterised by the absence of arms and legs. And he is one of the seven known individuals in the world living with this rare disorder.
Yes. It is about Nick removing my ‘whatever’ reasons to complain in this blessed life.
No doubt he had a different childhood. He even attempted suicide once. But he also confesses to having a very normal and supportive childhood. And an equally normal adult life. But then – normal is just living every day happily, irrespective of how others around us do it. Right?
When I look at Nick and I sharing the same profession and at the level playing field (despite his limitations), I am forced to think – we are all differently abled. And some of us are more disabled (sorry for using this word) even after having all body parts intact, than those unfortunate souls who are physically different – for we crib and cry for myriad mundane things instead of focusing on doing the best we can with what we have.
Nick is not only a stunning speaker but a wonderful author (His book: Life Without Limbs) and has a DVD for young people titled ‘No Arms, No Legs, No Worries’! I am a fan of his sense of humour, and his amazing zest for life. It is his beautiful mind that makes him a brilliant Motivational Speaker, not his missing limbs. And when you hear him speak, you would know what I mean.
Leaving you with my personal favourite quote by Nick Vujicic:
“If you can’t get a miracle, become one.”
He didn’t get a miracle. So he became one.
A parting thought – we motivational speakers often face a lot of flak for being idealistic or using jargons or whatever. But I strongly believe that if our ideas benefit even one person, change even one life for the better, contribute to even one success story – then we would have done our jobs and done it well. And between the 6 superb motivational speakers mentioned above – I think we would have managed to create a small dent in the universe. Haters can keep hating. We work for our believers!
Lots of Love,