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4 Inspiring Speeches To Keep The Hustle Going

Updated: Mar 12, 2020

by Dewi Ridzuan. |

I’m sure we all reach a point of time where we want to ignite a revolution in ourselves. We create viable resolutions in hopes that in the long run, it will make our lives better. Even renowned figures, no matter how complete their lives may look, need some boost to keep the hustle going. Us everyday people must realize that we all started off with different opportunities, privileges and shortcomings. Hence, it is unfair for us to compare our journey with someone else.

However, we can learn. Knowledge is just as important as having good stamina. The general idea that one’s stamina can only improve with constant practice on the field can be received in more ways than one; in order to keep inspiring yourself to keep the hustle going, here are a few pick-me-up speeches to help you along the way.

1. Viola Davis’ Barnard Speech

Source: Barnard College

Viola Davis’ acting calibre is like no other. If you want to name all of her achievements, it’d be a very long drop-down list. She is the first black actress or actor to ever win the Triple Crown of Acting, and she has been featured twice in the Times 100. The list is rich with all of her achievements, and her progressive ideals have coupled it to make it all the more sweeter. She is a feminist and advocate for people of colour (POC), having contributed much of her charity work to those causes too. However, she did not reach for the stars so easily, as she too had to jump off the muddy ground like the rest of us.

In her Barnard Commencement Speech 2019, she highlights how the past is simply what we carry with us in the present. She even uses the US constitution as an example, stating that it was created when “slavery was an institution, Native Americans were being slaughtered, and women were fighting for their lives.” However, she points out that those who manage to ‘own it’ and acknowledge both good and bad memories are the ones who have truly made it. Viola frames to the audience that their hustle has not been for nothing, and that they should continue to work on themselves. Viola perfectly cusps how our social factors have indeed played a role in how we have evolved, as individuals and together. However, that should not mean these generationally-inherited stigmas and pain should be erased from our memories, as that would liken it to erasing a piece of history.

2. Yasmin Ahmad’s Ted X Talk

Source: Leaderonomics

Yasmin Ahmad is one of the few Malaysian storytellers whose films have touched the hearts of every Malaysian. When watching her diverse movies such as Sepet, Muallaf, Rabun and so many more, you will understand that her movies were way ahead of its time. She was also a creative who relished in the beauty of Malaysia’s multiracial background. Her love for it is prominent in her work. So many of her films have single handedly created cultural shifts in Malaysia as it challenged social and religious taboos.

If you have never watched any of her films, start getting to know the person behind the computer. Literally, Yasmin Ahmad’s computer is her partner in crime. It is still kept as a historical artifact as many of her films were written there, although she was also known for penning her thoughts down with pen and paper. Through this TedX Talk, you can see how her charisma and connection is unaffected by the fact that the crowd is full of strangers. The way Yasmin talks about the casting calls and the public reaction to her work should convince you that no matter how hard the creative sector you work in may be, it’s all worth it in the end.

3. Maya Angelou’s ‘Still I Rise’

Source: Eskipaper

Although Maya Angelou seems like a far-fetched figure to relate for us Asians, we have a lot that we can learn from her. An actress, author, and civil rights activist, she is more than just another famous person from our textbooks. One of her books, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” revolves around the theme of racism and oppression. If you ever feel lost in the burden of carrying your ancestors dreams, or worry about having to be the first generation to really carve out a way out of oppression or poverty, listen to Angelou’s speeches.

One of them, And Still I Rise is a poem that she has previously been recorded saying aloud. Although many fall in love with her raspy voice, the message is as clear cut as a diamond. Speaking for the downtrodden and those who are constantly being put down by the top of the pyramid scheme, the poem acts as a mantra for many. One of her famous verses “does my haughtiness offend you? Don't you take it awful hard, ’cause I laugh like I've got gold mines, diggin’ in my own backyard” is an example of how even if you have nothing, you should carry yourself with confidence.

You know how when you go down a road and it takes a sharp bend, not allowing you to see the end unless you actually go down it? That’s just it. However big the magnitude of the adversity you may face this year, you will never see what is on the other side if you stop now.

4. Edna Chavez Parkland Survivor

Source: Vox

Edna Chavez is from South Los Angeles, California who made her speech as a youth leader at March For Our Lives in 2018. The one line that got all of the Internet hooked? “I learned to duck bullets before I learned how to read.” Talking about the prevalence of gun violence in American culture, she is one changemaker with big plans for the future youth. She speaks about racial profiling, something that we as Malaysians can also subtly see in our culture. Edna goes on talking about how restorative justice is often not catered for people of colour.

Her speech is a testament to show that the youth’s demands are not a suggestion but a requirement. A criterion that needs to be considered in the making of every outline of a bill or policy. If you were to watch any speech from the March For Our Lives event, you too would realize that tragedy affects everyone. What you can take from Edna, is how coherent she is with her arguments. She does not mince her words either, as when you are talking to the world, there is no need to filter the truth. If you are into charity work or in a group where you advocate for a cause bigger than you, Edna’s speech is one that you should remember when times get hard.

All of these speeches above are only small nuggets of gold; the more you scavenge for knowledge, the more wealth you will acquire. Hence, you should not stop at this article. Look for more speeches that you think will personally help you progress further. A small encouraging shove on a bad day harms no one.

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