Video is everywhere, and as inexpensive and ubiquitous devices change power dynamics, people are now able to share new ideas from around the world more easily than ever before.

Because we frequently come across excellent content, we’ve compiled a list of 15 inspirational videos that should help motivate you to succeed and dream big in the year ahead.

1. U.S. Secretary of Commerce stresses that women’s entrepreneurship is vital to economic health

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, is featured in this short video from Global Entrepreneurship Week. She talks about the importance of creating an environment in which entrepreneurs can thrive, even in war zone areas. She also talks about work undertaken by Women for Women International, an organization that helps women start businesses and become economically independent in conflict zones.

Video length: 1.16mins

Penny Pritzker on Twitter @PennyPritzker

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2. The Empowerment Plan has a business model that changes lives

The Empowerment Plan is a business model that creates a product aimed at the homeless population, while also providing employment to a group from that population. Founder Veronika Scott says that when she came up with the idea for her product, a coat which turns into a rucksack and sleeping bag, the people she spoke with told her that while this would certainly be useful, what they really needed was employment. Her small way of contributing to that larger problem was to employ women, mostly single mothers, from a local homeless shelter to make the coats.

This video provides a snapshot into how the lives of these women have been effected by this great opportunity. “We’re part of helping prove that everyone has value… they’re driven, they’re excited, and they’re part of the process,” Scott says.

Video length: 6.03mins

Veronika Scott on Twitter @empowermentplan

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3.“You Can Learn Anything.”

Khan Academy is dedicated to providing free online education, and their empowering “you can learn anything” campaign is highlighted in this video.

Seeing the imagery of children learning to do things from gymnastics to math, brings you back to your own learning experiences, and how things that initially challenged you became accessible and even easy over time. The message to all people that through the use of online courses you have a world of information free at your finger tips is positive and inspiring.

Video length: 1.30mins

Founder Salman Khan on Twitter @salkhanacademy

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4. Jeremy Heimans, co-founder of Avaaz, talks about shifting forms of power in our world

Jeremy Heimans was something of a child prodigy when it came to activism, and he’s continued that work as an adult. As the co-founder of Avaaz, a major site for online activism, Heimans has spent a lot of time and energy thinking about who holds the power in our world and how that has changed over time. He delivers this insightful and useful TED Talk about new and old forms of power, referring to businesses like AirBnb and various alternative lending sites as examples of new power structures that have a wide reach and that make use of advancing technology. This is an interesting way to examine how you might leverage some of these new forms of power in your business.

Video length: 15.12mins

Jeremy Heimans on Twitter @jeremyheimans

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5. Paralympians remind us all that you can flourish even in the face of hardship

This promotional spot for the Sochi 2014 Paralympics features supermodel Natalia Vodianova running with a fitted bionic leg. She describes imagining what her life would be like with a disability, and how tough it must be. This makes it all the more inspirational to then see the amazingly accomplished paralympians who are determined to work toward their goals while managing their disabilities as best they can. If you are feeling down on your luck, watch this video and get back into the game.

Video length: 1.34mins

Natalia Vodianova on Twitter @NataSupernova

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6. Canadian microloan provider inspires people to “be their own boss”

This inspiring promotional video, featuring the owners of Victory Gardens, demonstrates how microloans have cross-cultural appeal. We so often see microloan recipients in the third world, it can be easy to forget that the basic logic is applicable anywhere and that many programs, such as this one through Vancity, are available to people in other areas.

Video length: 2.07mins

Vancity on Twitter @Vancity

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7. Kare Anderson encourages us to be opportunity makers

In a heartwarming and inspiring message of collaboration and diversity, writer Kare Anderson makes the case for deliberately and intentionally seeking out connections with people who are nothing like yourself. In doing so, you are striving to create opportunities to use your talents in combination with others’ talents. She affirms that each individual has great strengths, and that the people who can create the best teams are those who look outside of what’s expected in order to find unique perspectives on the same problems or approaches. To make her point, she regales viewers with the colorful story of a San Quentin inmate.

Video length: 9.50mins

Kare Anderson on Twitter @KareAnderson

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8. Ursula K. Le Guin wins a notable industry accolade, uses the chance to make a statement

Ursula Le Guin is an accomplished author of numerous science fiction novels who, in 2014 at the age of 85, won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Foundation. Le Guin’s acceptance speech is incredibly inspiring; not only is she self-possessed and gracious, but she takes the opportunity to stand up for what she believes to be best practice, in both her art and in the in flux publishing industry. The result is delightful, and I strongly recommend this one to any readers, artists, and writers, regardless of the industry you work in.

Video length: 6.08mins

Don’t be fooled by spoof accounts, Le Guin isn’t on Twitter.

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9. The author of “Eat, Pray, Love” tells us how to continue striving after both failure and success

“I know there is something in this world that you love more than you love yourself,” Elizabeth Gilbert states in this uplifting and affirming TED Talk. That is how she views her work, and it’s an outlook that has allowed her to continue on her chosen vocational path. After the resounding success of one of her books, the thought of writing again became intimidating. As many of us feel after a great win, she worried there was nowhere to go but down. Her story centers around telling us to dig deep into what we truly love to do and to work for the sake of ourselves, and the work itself.

Video length: 7.18mins

Elizabeth Gilbert on Twitter @GilbertLiz

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10. Tim Berry debunks myths about entrepreneurship and startups

Tim Berry, the founder of Palo Alto Software, is well known for speaking out on issues regarding smart entrepreneurship. He also frequently (and freely) gives advice that is highly actionable and often brutally honest. In this video, Tim discusses the oft-heard cliches about starting a business, and relays from first hand experience those things that will not work or are simply untrue, and those things that are effective.

Video length: 34.57mins

Tim Berry on Twitter @Timberry

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11. Thai Life Insurance shows us that advertising can be art

It helps us all, but especially people in the notoriously fast-paced and self-focused business world, to occasionally check our cynicism at the door and reflect on the small important things in life.

The advertisements for Thai Life Insurance, created by agency Ogilvy and Mather, Bangkok, are known for being beautiful and emotional. If you’re in the business of advertising, you’ll appreciate that this is a great reputation to have. The advertisement we’ve featured, titled “Unsung Hero,” is essentially a short film demonstrating the small acts of kindness that can be so impactful in our lives. It also demonstrates that you can create inspiring media that connects people, even if the project is profit-driven.

Video length: 3.05mins

Thai Life Insurance on Twitter @ThaiLifePlc (tweets in Thai)

Ogilvy & Mather on Twitter @Ogilvy

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12. Sarah Lewis embraces the near win

“How many times have we called something a classic, a masterpiece even, while its creator considers it hopelessly unfinished?” Art historian Sarah Lewis poses this question to remind us that we’re often better than we think we are, and that it’s actually a good thing to be continually striving for improvement.

“We thrive when we stay at our own living edge,” she asserts, and mentions many famous people throughout history who bear out the truth of this point.

Video length: 11.41mins

Sarah Lewis on Twitter @sarahelizalewis

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13. Jonathan Fields uses storytelling to advise entrepreneurs

This video is really interesting because it begins with a personal story, poetically told, from Fields’ own life. He recounts the excellent advice that he received from a mentor, how he struggled with it, and how he sees its application in the world of entrepreneurship today: “Less show, more soul.” It’s a powerful message on authenticity.

Video length: 4.14mins

Jonathan Fields on Twitter @jonathanfields

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14 & 15. Astronaut Alexander Gerst and cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg display the beauty and connectivity of the earth

I saved the best for last. These two videos are really two sides of the same coin, one with a perspective that few people ever get to see first hand, the view of earth from space, and the other a cinematographer using imaging technology to show the amazing things happening around us here on the surface of the earth that we are unable to visualize with the naked eye. You can find out details on how Alexander Gerst made the space film here; Schwartzberg gives some details during his presentation, but you can also learn more here.

While these videos aren’t full of business tips or success stories, these are exhilarating and creative ways to feature how beautiful the world is and how connected we all are, here on the same planet. Sometimes it’s the simple truths that can be the most impactful of all, and these videos are truly awe-inspiring.

Video 1 length: 6.10mins; video 2 length: 7.23mins

Alexander Gerst on Twitter @Astro_Alex

Louie Schwartzberg on Twitter @LouieFilms

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Do you feel motivated to take the world by storm after watching these videos? Have you made an inspiring video of your own? Let us know on Twitter!

 

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Angelique O'Rourke
Angelique O'Rourke

Artistic + intellectual pursuits. Social justice. Actress. Model. Musician. Eugene // Portland.