When you’re struggling through a hard time in life, it can be difficult to find the inspiration and perspective to keep going despite everything. Everyone goes through difficult times in life.

Here are some of the video lectures that I consistently turn to for perspective and motivation:


4  Speeches To Watch When You’re Struggling

Tess Vigeland: On Being Remarkable

I was lucky enough to be in the audience at the World Domination Summit (yes, that is an actual event) in 2013 when Tess Vigeland delivered this keynote. In this speech, she discusses leaving what many would consider a dream job without a safety net. Leaving a sure thing for the vast unknown was, in her words, “easily the most terrifying thing I have ever done. Ever.”

She went on to describe the doubt she experienced after leaving a position of notoriety. She applied for a position that she was positive she would get. And every stage of the interview went well.

As an audience member, when she got to this particular part of her speech, I was prepared to roll my eyes. I fully expected her to say something along the lines of, “I got the job and you are now looking at the new host of All Things Considered, and everything is happy and dandy.”

It turns out that she didn’t get the position.

She went on to question who she was without her national radio position and admit that she had no idea what she was doing.

Having experienced being unemployed, leaving a sure thing for something completely unknown is one of the few things that terrify me. Here was someone in front of me being candid. She wasn’t saying, “I left something sure for an even better job and everything is happy and dandy.” She was saying, “I made a decision; it was terrifying, I questioned my identity without my job, and I have no idea what I am doing.”

As twenty-somethings, it’s likely that we don’t have a lot of things in our lives figured out. But sometimes we feel pressure to figure everything out now. There is something comforting about knowing that even people who seem to have it all together often don’t know what they’re doing. I can tell you that I took great comfort in this fact.


J.K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech

As a twenty-something, we will inevitably encounter failure at some point in our lives, and will continue to do so for the rest of our careers. Society teaches us that failure is a negative thing. However, J.K. Rowling points out that failure is “ a stripping away of the inessential.”

She goes on to point out that “it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well have not have lived at all-in which case, you fail by default.”

Failure can seem like a largely negative thing, but for a recovering perfectionist like myself, this speech constantly reminds me that failure is an inevitable part of life. It also doesn’t hurt that J.K. Rowling is a living example of the fact that there are good things that can come out of failure.

Failing is undoubtedly difficult, but there can, and often are positives to it. This is especially true during a job hunt. It can be very easy to be down on yourself when you are constantly being rejected. However, as someone once told me, each time you get rejected brings you closer to the one job where someone will say yes.


Jia Jiang: On Rejection

During his speech at the 2013 World Domination Summit, Jia Jiang spoke about the lessons he learned as he built up his tolerance for rejection. As he so wisely pointed out, “Rejection is nothing more than someone’s opinion and preference. It says as much about the person giving the rejection as the people receiving it.”

Jiang went on to point out that rejection can be a positive or negative thing, depending on your perception of it. This concept reminded me that we are in charge of how we perceive things.

There is no denying that rejection can be painful no matter how old you are. You may not be able to control the outcome of a particular situation; however, your perception of the results is something that you are able to control. Rejection can be a positive or negative thing, depending on how you perceive it.

When you’re struggling, it can be hard not to take things personally. Sometimes we all need a reminder of the importance of perspective. Something we initially think is bad could turn out to be something positive in the long run.


Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture

In honor of my high school graduation, my mother gifted me the book The Last Lecture. She proceeded to show me the YouTube video of the speech, which was going viral at that point.

I don’t remember what I took away the first time I watched this speech, but the next night, I watched the ABC special on his life and devoured the book within hours. Now, more than a decade later, I keep returning to the speech. Not because of one specific quote, but because there are so many worthwhile pieces of advice included in this gem. I take away something different every time.

From being reminded that no job is beneath you, to getting romantic advice, this speech is laden with wonderful bits of wisdom. This particular speech never fails to give me a much-needed reality check when I’m dealing with my own hardships and motivates me to continue pushing forward.


It can seem impossibly difficult to keep pushing forward in life when everything seems to be going wrong. However, there are resources and things out there that can inspire you to overcome life’s challenges.

Recommended Reading

This Is How To Stop Using Your Excuses When It Comes To Self-Development We will always make excuses. But it’s up to us whether we let them take over our lives.
Why You Should Read “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown explores vulnerability and shame and gives you the skills to succeed through them.