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Speeches throughout history that inspired action (part 2)

Want to motivate yourself as a public speaker? Read motivational speeches that inspired action.

This is part two of a five-part series showcasing speeches throughout history that changed the world.  

SPEECH: “The luckiest man on the face of this earth”

SPEECH DATE: July 4, 1939

SPEAKER: Lou Gehrig

BIG IDEA: I am grateful for the life I’ve lived in the past, and I am grateful for what I still have to live for.

HOW IT INSPIRED ACTION THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: Gehrig’s speech inspired people everywhere to reframe and redefine how they deal with adversity in their lives. The baseball legend delivered his farewell address to fans in Yankee Stadium after he was diagnosed with incurable ALS: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.


“For the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. …

“When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies – that’s something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter – that’s something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body – it’s a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed – that’s the finest I know.

“So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for. Thank you.”