TED Conversations

Gaurav Gujral

Student - B.E - Computer Engineering, Vigil Monitoring

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What is the most inspiring speech you have heard?


This speech was made by Charlie Chaplin in his movie 'The Great Dictator' and it has always inspired me since I first saw it. So my question to you all is this: What speech have you heard or a talk you have seen on TED that inspires you to be a good person or gives you a brighter outlook on life?

PS: A link to the speech/talk would be appreciated if possible.


Closing Statement from Gaurav Gujral

Thanks everyone for the great links, its been a blast looking at all these speeches and getting the chance to share some of the talks that inspire me has been great.

So once again, thanks :)

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    Sep 27 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p86BPM1GV8M
    The pale blue dot-Carl Segan
    Just a reminder that earth is the only home we have for now..
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    Sep 27 2011: "The World As I See It" -Einstein
  • Sep 26 2011: Randy Pausch, Last Lecture.

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      Sep 26 2011: It was an amazing lecture, he must have had a LOT of courage to be able to speak so freely about his condition. He is actually one of the main reasons I got into programming, it was a very sad day when he passed away :(
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    Oct 13 2011: Recently saw this movie called Invictus (presumably named after the poem below by William Ernest Henley)

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

    In the movie Morgan Freeman plays as Nelson Mandela. During his Incarceration he was so inspired by this poem that he wrote it on a piece of paper and kept it n his prison cell. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FozhZHuAcCs is the scene from the movie where it is recited.
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      Oct 14 2011: Guarav,

      An excellent choice!

      These words speak to Mandela's (and, of course, Henley's) clarity of understanding the shared experiences of personal and universal. Specifically: the dynamics all can -- and often do -- encounter at the ends of a continuum of human vulnerability and intrinsic human dignity and power. As crystallized in this sentence:

      "Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed."

      Note how it anchors and punctuates the first half of the poem while it sets the stage for second.

      And, as it does invites the readers' to see something of themselves in the words. It goes on to build and catalyze the reader's awareness and acceptance of ones capacities to lead themselves, even when circumstance, chaos and stifling conditions seem to conspire against one's attainment of self- and soul strength.

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      Oct 14 2011: This poem by William Ernest Henley is exceptional !!Thank you for the written form. Invictus is a great movie !!
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      Oct 16 2011: I loved it too, Gaurav. I loved the whole message of that movie. Thanks for reminding me!
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    Sep 30 2011: Hi Gaurav - I was going to say MLK's speech but since someone already did, I will offer a different one.

    The man who gave the following speech was not a famous man. " Every day strive to learn and be the best that you can be. Believe in yourself. Do the best you can do. Only do the things that help people -as many as you can- and every time you have to choose between showing that you are better than /smarter than or being kind, always choose to be kind." This speech to me from my father when I was six left the most indelible mark.

    Now, thanks to you Gaurav, I got to watch Charlie Chaplin's speech for the first time in my life. And will watch again and again. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WibmcsEGLKo). And I remember that my father was a huge fan of his.

    I will watch everyone else's suggestions too. You inspired a good resource by asking this question.Thank you.
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      Oct 1 2011: Thanks for the speech Juliette, your dad sounds like a great guy :) I think that quote is something all people should aspire to live by.

      And I'm glad I got more people to watch Charlie's speech. I still watch it almost everyday at least once, and probably will keep doing so until I have completely memorized it and taken it to heart. I'm glad more people are posting what inspires them. As Andrea mentioned below, with so many videos on the net it would take a LOT of time to sort through all of them for the truly inspiring ones. So with this conversation I thought I could see what inspires other people and if I could draw similar inspiration from those speeches as well :)
  • Sep 30 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOE1HFEL8XA

    This a Ted talk although I could only find it on youtube. The link is above and I hope that you like the video...
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      Sep 30 2011: Ohhh! Yes, I do remember this talk and it is very valuable!
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      Sep 30 2011: You betcha . . . I want a few of those colored circles in my sphere. I have great hope in algorithms and those that write them. Our new investigative journalists.
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      Oct 1 2011: I remember this talk too, was quite an eye opener. I couldn't really decide whether it was a good thing that they were filtering out items that I wouldn't normally look at or whether I should be angry that it could be filtering out think I might have wanted to see but will never know about because it didn't come up in the links.
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      Oct 2 2011: Really awesome, so glad i looked at it!
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    Sep 28 2011: This might not be exactly the 'most inspiring' but it is a candidate for most profoundly practical and hopeful. I got an email notification of this TEDx talk this morning. I fear that many will not see it because it is a TEDx rather than a TED so many might not realize that it is available. It has all the polish and impact of a TED talk.

    It is called Roses in the Concrete: It tells how to save kids in communities with high murder rates.

  • Sep 28 2011: Two came to mind imediately for me:The Sunscreen speech from Baz Lurhmans version Romeo and Juliet http://www.links2love.com/lyrics_baz_luhrman_sunscreen_speech.htm I still get shivers from it.And Al Pacinos pre game speech from Any Given Sunday.http://youtu.be/01g3B8ds0uMThat these are both from movies, is a little disconcerting for me as it isn't MLK or Churchill. But they still move me now after many years.And the Randy Pausch is something special.
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      Sep 28 2011: That sunscreen speech was.. interesting.. It was quite random but so full of great advice. I would definitively recommend it to my friends and thanks for sharing it :)

      Edit: Just watched the second vid. One word man: Wow.
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    Oct 20 2011: The most inspiring one is the speech Steve Jobs gave back in 2005 at Stanford.

    In addition, I really like Rocky Balboa's speech

  • Oct 20 2011: I became a regular visitor of TED.com ever since I saw Pranav Mistry's talk on 6th Sense. Other than that, I also like Jeff Bezos's speech about 'being kind and being clever/smart'. Sir Ken Robinson's talk about creativity in schools is also thought provoking and I enjoyed it to the hilt. Recently, I saw Bunker Roy's video on the Barefoot College...really inspiring act...!

    Steve Job's speech too is great and has given me a new perspective of understanding the present.
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      Oct 21 2011: I loved the talk on sixth sense :) so innovative
  • Oct 20 2011: Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005
  • Oct 17 2011: Actually I've gotten familiar with ted recently, but in this short period I think the google computer engineer lecture that was about ' try to be a different person for 30 days' has been the most inspiring ted's speech.
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    Oct 17 2011: Hi Gaurav, Everyone, this is the speech presented in this question written out ( its in two segments);

    “I am sorry, I don’t want to be an emperor, thats not my business, I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone, I shall help everyone if possible, Jew, Gentile, black men, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. The good Earth is rich. And can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way.

    Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has given us want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness is hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness, and gentleness. Without these qualities life will be violent. And all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us together. The very invention of these cries out for the goodness in men. Cries out for universal brotherhood. For the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world. Millions of despairing men, women and little children. Victims of a system that makes men torture. And imprison innocent people.

    For those who can hear me, I say do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is nothing but the passing of greed. The bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass and dictators die. And the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. "
  • Oct 15 2011: I better remind u of a movie, I think cud be very inspiring(though not a speech)" LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL"
    it's one of my best( inspiring) movie.
    It's a 'must-watch-movie'
  • Oct 8 2011: actually the speech that inspires me most is not one speech but a collection of them

    but otherwise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR5m1-5ksj0 by JFK is the best .
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      Oct 9 2011: WOW! I had never heard this! This is so needed today! WOW!
  • Oct 7 2011: Currently the speech Steven Jobs gave to the 2005 graduating class at Stanford This is more then a speech this is a map to life. Amazing man so much wisdom
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      Oct 9 2011: This speech seems to be quite popular among people. Cheers :)
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    Oct 7 2011: My contribution is the inaugural speech from Nelson Mandela
  • Oct 4 2011: So many to choose from but I think I will go with Jimmy Valvano speaking at the ESPY Awards in 1993. Why? Because Coach Valvano was you, he was me, he was the guy you knew. He conveyed a simple concept and to quote Benjamin Zander, who has a TED Talk that might be my #2, "a possibility to live into". Coach V spoke about having a meaningful day, every day. To do that, everyone should do three things every day - you should laugh, you should think and should cry. If you do those three things every day, that's a heck of a day. I don't do it justice so here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuoVM9nm42E
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    Oct 3 2011: Hi Guarav,

    I still have a lot of speeches to listen to....but here is one for your page from my search.
    I think every human wishes there was someone who has returned from death to tell us all how to live right.
    So here is one from TED which I find inspirational.
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    Oct 2 2011: Steve Jobs speech in Stanford 2005.
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    Oct 2 2011: Isabel Allende Tells Tales of Passion

    and The Time Is Now speech by Leo Buscaglia
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      Oct 1 2011: Wow, I also definitively recommend this video to anyone who is feeling down about their lives. This man is truly an example to live by. I don't think I've seen anyone who can face so many hardships with a smile on their faces and then turn around and encourage people to also do the same. I don't believe I have any words for this.

      Thank you so much for posting this mate :)
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    Sep 30 2011: Here is another brave speech. This is an Afghani woman who is speaking to Taliban leaders (subtitled). Her name is Malalai Joya.

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      Oct 1 2011: Wow, talk about bravery. I don't see why she had to be removed from the assembly for simply speaking her mind. As long as this kind of thing still happens I don't believe free speech can truly exist.
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    Dave R

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    Sep 29 2011: This wasn't actually a speech, but a letter to our country, from one of our most prominent politicians, written two days before his passing. RIP Jack Layton http://news.sympatico.ca/SpecialReports/Jack-Layton/jack-layton-letter
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    Sep 27 2011: Gaurav,

    "I Have a Dream" by Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

    It is a rhetorical masterpiece layered with metaphor, meaning and alliterated echos of spiritual and political phrases that connect Americans from many different viewpoints and vantage points.

    I'm linking the second half of the speech, which I find most moving:. http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=PQucZKToFXE

    The most inspiriting parts for me ---

    "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."


    "And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

    The speech was given on August 28, 1963.

    And a little trivia:

    In the video, you can experience Kings view from in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Beyond the masses of people the Washington Memorial stands tall. On August 22, 2011 the "Stone of Hope" statue of King was unveiled on the Mall (in advance of it's dedication on August 28). Stone of Hope is a phrase from the speech. The day after the statue was unveiled, an earthquake hit Washington D.C. cracking the Washington Memorial, which remains closed indefinitely.

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      Sep 27 2011: Its weird, I've heard so much about this speech and how its considered to be one of the best in the world that I myself started believing it yet never taking the time out to go and hear it. After watching the link you posted and then watching the full speech I can tell why people consider it to be one of the all time greatest speeches. Its truly an amazing speech and thanks for making me watch it :)
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        Sep 27 2011: Gaurav --

        Love that I "made" you watch MLK's "I Have a Dream." :-).

        Your response reminds me that sometimes it is best not to wait for someone to find something on their own. Hard for any of us to sort and filter all we are told to observe, view, digest, partake,etc. To isolate the truly powerful messages from the many that can fall short of life-critical.

        So --

        Many thanks for posting this opportunity to think, view and share. A wonderful way to connect all these important words and images. In a sense, we "re-express" them simply by sharing them, and as we do learn.

        So important for us all to listen to and see voices like Kings, and understand how they relate to our realities. The more we hear, the more we'll believe in the larger truths they transmit across human history about our needs and potentials to engage everywhere we can in acts that construct, not destruct, our shared humanity and worlds.

    • Sep 28 2011: Andrea
      This was my favorite speech also, thanks for the link, there was a lot of information on it.

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    Sep 26 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGiI-MuTWf0

    Two things that I think are worth seeing and I'm most grateful to my friends for bumping into them (no matter how hard it was to accept the thought).
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      Sep 27 2011: Silvia . . . this combination of clips was most good.
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        Sep 27 2011: Thanks Lynn. :) I always appreciate your feedback! The concept of death is a bit scary, though I admit, still worth exploring.
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      Sep 28 2011: Loved how the movie clip ended.. spine chillingly awesome :)
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    Sep 24 2011: Here is another child with great courage and an important message.

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      Sep 24 2011: Nice speech, very thought provoking. Got to admire the girl's courage standing in front of so many people and giving such a bold speech.
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      Sep 26 2011: :) Such a great example!
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    Sep 24 2011: Dear dear Gaurav, Tomorrow is my birthday and I have never been given a more inspiring gift than this. Thank you for bringing this speech by Charlie Chaplin to my attention. I have never seen it before and it captures the cry of my heart. I will be posting it on my blog and sharing it with friends. I still have time to formulate a birthday wish that this speech will come true in my lifetime! Thank you, Thank you!
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      Sep 24 2011: First things first.. Happy Birthday!!
      Secondly, I'm glad you liked the speech so much. I posted it up so that other people would find the same inspiration that I did and pass it around. Coming from such and old film, not many people know about this speech and I'm trying to make more well known again.
      All in all, I hope you have a great birthday and best of luck to you in the future :).
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        Sep 24 2011: You are doing a good thing. Thanks so much for your kind wishes!
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    Sep 23 2011: Even though I am Canadian and not American, this one is pretty inspiring. This version is delivered not be the original speaker but by the generation who is benefiting from that speech.

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    Oct 22 2011: i was really inspired by Jobs and his speech in Stanford. During listening from time to time i recognized my own thoughts but something was absolutely new. In fact, many expressions from this speech should be written somewhere to the book of wisdom (if it exists). I am so thankful to Steve for sharing
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      Oct 22 2011: Seems to me that Job's speech at Stanford is a top pick for a lot of people. Can't blame them really, its a great speech :)