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It’s commencement season in the US again and you know what that means – time for inspirational speeches that will give you a much-needed kick in the behind when you’re feeling unmotivated.

Here are a few choice cuts.

1. Tim Cook at Duke University
1. Tim Cook at Duke University
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The Apple CEO addressed several issues, including climate change and the #metoo movement.

He even managed to take a swipe at Facebook’s recent privacy breach, saying that Apple would never violate its customers’ personal privacy.

“No big challenge has ever been solved, and no lasting improvement has ever been achieved, unless people dare to try something different. Dare to think different.”

2. Amal Clooney at Vanderbilt University
2. Amal Clooney at Vanderbilt University
Wikipedia

The human rights lawyer, who is married to movie star George Clooney, gave an impassioned speech about being courageous and standing up for what’s right.

“It’s character traits like persistence, ambition, inquisitiveness and grit that will determine your success. And perhaps more than anything what will define you is your courage. That is the virtue on which all others depend.”

3. Chadwick Boseman at Howard University
3. Chadwick Boseman at Howard University
Wikimedia

The star of the recent Marvel blockbuster Black Panther, and alumnus of Howard University, urged the class of 2018 to “press on with pride and press on with purpose”.

He ended his speech with a Wakanda Forever salute, saying, “Howard forever”.

“When you are deciding on next jobs, next steps, further education… you would rather find purpose than a job. Purpose crosses disciplines. It is the reason that you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfil. Whatever you choose for a career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”

4. Oprah at USC's Annenberg School for Communication
4. Oprah at USC's Annenberg School for Communication
Wikimedia

“What are you willing to stand for?

“That question is going to follow you throughout your life. And here’s how you answer it. You put your honour where your mouth is.

“When you give your word, keep it. Show up. Do the work. Get your hands dirty. And then you’ll begin to draw strength from the understanding that history is still being written. You’re writing it every day. The wheels still spin. And what you do or what you don’t do will be a part of it. You build a legacy not from one thing but from everything.”

5. Josh Groban at High Point University
5. Josh Groban at High Point University
Wikimedia

The singer, actor and songwriter pushed the students to overcome their fears and to trust their instincts.

“I believe that it would be better to fail at doing something challenging, something worthwhile, and something I’m excited to show the world than to succeed doing something safe, something that wouldn’t actually inspire much at all. You learn with experience that some fear is the good stuff. Not all. But when the fear comes from a place of wanting to follow through with passion – something you believe in – it’s good.”

6. Ronan Farrow at Loyola Marymount University
6. Ronan Farrow at Loyola Marymount University
Wikimedia

The Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist who helped break the Harvey Weinstein story shared the personal challenges he went through while investigating the piece.

“You will face a moment in your career where you have absolutely no idea what to do. Where it will be totally unclear to you what the right thing is for you, for your family, for your community. And I hope that in that moment you’ll be generous with yourself, but trust that inner voice. Because more than ever we need people to be guided by their own senses of principle – and not the whims of a culture that prizes ambition, and sensationalism, and celebrity, and vulgarity, and doing whatever it takes to win.”

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