The 10 Most Inspirational Songs

How did Rourke not win best actor for his role in the Wrestler?!

We all have a reason why, we just have to find and identify the best reason, and hold it close to our hearts and minds on a daily basis.

The difference between the most successful people in the world and those that aren’t living their dreams, is that the uber successful know what they want to do, why they want to do it, and attack that expectation, goal, or whatever you want to call it with a relentless tenacity that is hard to match.

So what does that have to do with music?

The 10 songs on this list remind me of my why. My reason to push on when things get tough, or to work hard when all I want to do is lounge, party, or envelope myself in laziness. These songs inspire me. They’re stories that remind me of the struggle, the suffering and even the redemption of characters that were headed down an endless pitt of self destruction (see The Weary Kind).

The 10 Most Inspirational Songs.

The Weary Kind –  ryan bingham

Watch the movie Crazy Heart and you’ll know a bit more about the background of the song. There’s something about a man who’s had a tough life. A man who has pissed away everything great in his life, finally finding redemption. Finding peace.

It’s true that it really is never too late as long as we have it within ourselves to make a change. This song reminds me that a) it’s never too late, and b) if someone so down and out, like the character that Jeff Bridges plays in this movie can turn things around and create some happiness and success, then there’s absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t achieve anything I put my mind to. And you, my friend, are the same.

Your body aches
Playing your guitar and sweating out the hate
The days and the nights all feel the same

Whiskey has been a thorn in your side
It doesn’t forget
The highway that calls for your heart inside

And this ain’t no place for the weary kind
This ain’t no place to lose your mind
This ain’t no place to fall behind
Pick up your crazy heart and give it one more try

Never. Never. Never. Never give up. No matter how shitty life, work, relationships get, never give up.

Working on a Dream – bruce springsteen

This is what life is all about: working on a dream. Sometimes we’re alone with this dream and the reasons why we’ve embarked on a journey to see it through to completion. We try and explain it to others in our lives, but it’s just not something that everyone can comprehend. The risk to reward ratio doesn’t make sense to them but it does to us. 

Or it’s a dream you’re working on with someone else in mind like he is in the song. A dream of a better life for the two of you. A better life for those who depend on you. Either way, there’s nothing like having that single dream that you work, sacrifice and struggle for. This song captures this like none other.

He captures the ups and the downs. The struggle. The faith. “I know it will be mine someday.” This song should be the fight song for every entrepreneur, and every man trying to make a better life for the one’s he loves most.

Out here the nights are long, the days are lonely

I think of you and I’m working on a dream

I’m working on a dream

Now the cards I’ve drawn’s a rough hand, darling

I straighten the back and I’m working on a dream

I’m working on a dream

Come on!

I’m working on a dream

Though sometimes it feels so far away

I’m working on a dream

And I know it will be mine someday

Stop this Train – john mayer

Who’d expect John Mayer in a motivational songs list? Honestly, not me. But the verse below sums up this song, and a notion that I think is very true.

So often in life we look to the future and the past. We think about how our life was, could be, will be, or never will be, and we neglect to understand that we’re on the right train. We are where we’re supposed to be. We’ve earned what we deserve to earn due to our hard work, or lack-there-of. We’ve accomplished what we deserve to accomplish.

If we keep working hard, we’ll get to where we wish we were now. But if we keep on looking outward, to the future or the past, we’re going to miss this beautiful ride we’re on right now. Right now is what we have to focus on.

A couple weeks I called and an older, successful business man, asking him if he’d join me for breakfast. This guy has accomplished a lot in his life. Things that very few will ever come close to accomplishing in business, and he’s had a great family life as well. He had one main, very important lesson to tell me: be in the moment.

Don’t worry about the future, or fret on the past. Just be in, and enjoy the moment as much as you possibly can. Don’t ever regret. “I can talk about regret now that I’m in my 80’s, but I don’t really regret anything,” he’d say. “They’re all just lessons. So be in the moment. The future will take care of itself and all we can do with the past is enjoy and learn from it.”

Had a talk with my old man
Said help me understand
He said turn 68, you’ll renegotiate
Don’t stop this train
Don’t for a minute change the place you’re in
Don’t think I couldn’t ever understand
I tried my hand
John, honestly we’ll never stop this train

Long at All – everlast

The first time I heard this song – which wasn’t too long ago – it instantly became one of my all time favourites. The music. The chanting-like pace to the words. The struggle. The strife. The trials we all go through with the idea that “it won’t be long at all.”

Any person who’s working towards creating a better life for themselves and those closest to them has to hold on to the idea that it won’t be long at all. As soon as you start thinking, “when the hell is this going to happen for me?” You’ve lost. As soon as you start to question your path or if you’re good enough, you’ve lost.

No matter what you do in life, if you’re working your hardest, smartest, and making the right moves, it won’t be long at all.

All my money’s spent
All my prayers been said
Walking up that hill
Legs are nearly dead
It won’t be long at all
Heartbeats tick away
Feel it in my bones
Will I see the day,
Pay off all these loans?
It won’t be long at all
It won’t be long at all
Long and winding roads
I walked ’em all in vain
When that trumpet blows
Hope they call my name
Won’t be long at all
Put your rifles down
Abandon all your arms
Sing your prayers out loud
The Gospel’s in your song

The Boxer – simon and garfunkel

This is one of the greatest songs ever written because it’s able to capture the heart of a fighter like no one else ever had. They don’t focus on the heavyweight champion of the world and the guy that everyone knows and adores. Instead, they tell us of the story of the journeyman. The guy who grew up in a rough part of town. Never had a whole lot of money. Lived a life alone. A life of hardship, struggle, trial and tribulation.

He left home at a young age. He fought for the pay check, not because of some pipe dream of being the greatest. There are so money guys just like this that we never hear about. Guys who give their life to the sport. Some of the toughest guys that have ever walked this planet are reflected in this beautiful song.

In the clearing stands a boxer 
And a fighter by his trade 
And he carries the reminders 
Of ev’ry glove that layed him down 
Or cut him till he cried out 
In his anger and his shame 
“I am leaving, I am leaving” 
But the fighter still remains

I Believe I Can Fly – r kelly

This song will always be on my list. I used to play this song when I was just getting in to high school and I was playing basketball. I used to sneak out in the middle of the night, thinking that while I was sleeping someone was working harder than I was. So I shouldn’t be sleeping if I wanted to make it.

I’d grab my basketball, put my walkman (remember those things?) on and run. I’d run up and down the car-less streets for hours with my fingers even starting to bleed. Then I’d sneak back inside, sleep until 6am, then hop on the 45-minute bus ride to my school where I’d shoot before school started. I had tapes with this song recorded over and over again.

This song takes me back to those days.

I used to think that I could not go on
And life was nothing but an awful song
But now I know the meaning of true love
I’m leaning on the everlasting arms

If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there’s nothing to it

How Bad Do You Want It – tim mcgraw

It’s a question that we all have to come to grips with at one point or another. How bad do we really want it?

“It” could be a career path, a lifestyle, a girl, a trip, a goal, or anything really. The thing that some of us have to come to grips with is that we really don’t want it all that bad. We’d rather party, drink, sleep less and binge more than we would like to sacrifice, work, suffer, and finally succeed.

Greatness in anything requires hard work and sacrifice. Some get it handed to them. But they’re rare. And they didn’t earn it. Something earned is much more appreciated than something given. This song brings that question to light every time I hear it. It pushes me to prove to myself that I really do want to sacrifice everything to reach the goals and expectations that I have for myself. It makes me bust me arse in the gym too!

People always ask me
“Son what does it take
To reach out and touch your dreams?”
To them I always say

Are you hungry?
Are you thirsty?
Is it a fire that burns you up inside?
How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?
Are you eating, sleeping, dreaming
With that one thing on your mind?

the Wrestler – bruce sprinsteen

Even before I saw the movie, I had read that Springsteen wrote and created the theme song for the movie, but I had yet to hear it. In watching the movie I kept on thinking how could someone capture this man’s pain in a song?

It seemed impossible. But Springsteen did it in fine fashion.

So how the hell is this song inspirational? Well, the movie and this song remind me of the people who have come before us, or who are still going, that had a dream, even lived it, but got lost somewhere along the road.

I’ve had these people in my life. The guys with all the talent in the world, or the guy who had a shitty upbringing and could never rebound from it. I feel like I not only owe my best effort to myself, my parents, family, and so forth, but to these people as well. Those who didn’t have the same opportunities that I’ve had.

This song reminds me to not waste any opportunity. To not take anyone or anything for granted. And to make the most out of the time I have here.

I can make you smile when the blood hits the floor

Tell me friend can you ask for anything more.

Goodlife – t.i. ft pharrell, common

One of my favourite verses in any song is the following by T.I. Fear ain’t in the heart of me I learned just do it. You get courage from your fears right after you go through it. Truth.

If life was easy, we’d be pussies. We need tough times and strife. We need to walk through the fire. It shapes us as men. It makes us stronger. If we didn’t face any obstacles on our way to the top – whatever our ‘top’ is – we wouldn’t appreciate our own success, and we wouldn’t be prepared for it either.

Appreciate pain. It’s easier said than done, but it’s necessary.

I was born into poverty raised in the sewerage
Streets always would be a part of me, it made me the truest
And even when my days were the bluest
I never ran from adversity, instead I ran to it

Fear ain’t in the heart of me I learned just do it
You get courage in your fears right after you go through it

Made in America – kanye west & jay-z

I think the dream of any young man growing up, coming from humble beginnings, is to by their parents a house, a car, send them on their dream vacation, and give them the life that they sacrificed for you. To give you your sports equipment. To send you to a better school.

I have told my Mom that I’m going to buy her a house since I was 5 years old. If I’m slacking, not making the most out of my training, of my work, or of my life, this song reminds me of her, of my Dad, and of everything they provided and sacrificed for me and my sister. Not sure if there’s a more emotional trigger that’ll light a fire under me arse and get my ass in gear than this song.

I told my mama I was on the come up
She said, “You going to school, I’ll give you a summer”
Then she met No I.D. and gave me his number
Ten years later she driving a Hummer

Honorable Mentions:

Ambition – wale

Rocky Theme

Gotta Make It – trey songz ft. twista

What’s on your list?


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