The motivational stories and anecdotes presented on this page are excerpts from the book: Top 100 motivational stories: the best inspirational short stories and anecdotes of all time. This page features 11 stories out of the 100 included in the book.
Some of the stories in this book will make you cry others will make you smile, none will leave you indifferent. Are you ready to get empowered?
For this book we scanned hundreds of motivational stories and anecdotes to bring you this collection of the top 100 inspirational short stories.
The stories will open your eyes and give you valuable insights regarding success, love, money, achievement, overcoming obstacles, relationships, hope, positive thinking, life, happiness, family, leadership, appreciation, uplifting, adversity, moving on, perseverance, encouraging, faith, and friendship. You'll find the stories witty, touching, amusing, and spirit-soothing. We hope you'll enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed putting them together.
Weakness or Strength?
Sometimes your biggest weakness can become your biggest strength. Take, for example, the story of one 10-year-old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.
The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn't understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move.
"Sensei," the boy finally said, "Shouldn't I be learning more moves?"
"This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you'll ever need to know," the sensei replied.
Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.
Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.
This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened.
"No," the sensei insisted, "Let him continue."
Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion.
On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.
"Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?"
"You won for two reasons," the sensei answered. "First, you've almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grip your left arm."
The boy's biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.
Your Personal Angel
A story about an angel who has been taking care of you even before you were born and will always take care no matter how much you grow old.... you know that angel as Mother, Mamma, Mom...
My mom only had one eye. I hated her… She was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students and teachers to support the family.
There was this one day during elementary school where my mom came to say hello to me. I was so embarrassed.
How could she do this to me? I ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school one of my classmates said, ‘Eeee, your mom only has one eye!’
I wanted to bury myself. I also wanted my mom to just disappear. I confronted her that day and said, ‘ If you’re only gonna make me a laughing stock, why don’t you just die?’
My mom did not respond… I didn’t even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because I was full of anger. I was oblivious to her feelings.
I wanted out of that house, and have nothing to do with her. So I studied real hard, got a chance to go abroad to study.
Then, I got married. I bought a house of my own. I had kids of my own. I was happy with my life, my kids and the comforts. Then one day, my Mother came to visit me. She hadn’t seen me in years and she didn’t even meet her grandchildren.
When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited. I screamed at her, ‘How dare you come to my house and scare my children!’ Get Out Of Here! Now!’
And to this, my mother quietly answered, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address,’ and she disappeared out of sight.
One day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house. So I lied to my wife that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went to the old shack just out of curiosity.
My neighbors said that she died. I did not shed a single tear. They handed me a letter that she had wanted me to have.
My dearest son,
I think of you all the time. I’m sorry that I came to your house and scared your children.
I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I’m sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up.
You see... when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn’t stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So I gave you mine.
I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye.
With all my love to you,
The Master's Hand
Wishing to encourage her young son’s progress on the piano, a mother took the small boy to a concert of the famous pianist, Paderewski. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked “No Admittance.”
When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that her son was missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted and the spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway piano on stage.
In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard. Innocently, he then began to play "Chopsticks". The crowd reacted with anger, some shouts were heard, "Take the boy away!", "Who is bringing a little boy to a concert?!".
When Paderewski heard the uproar backstage, he grabbed his coat and rushed to the stage. Realizing what was going on, he went to the piano, Reaching around the little boy from behind, the master began to improvise a countermelody to “chopsticks.” As the two of them played together, Paderewski kept whispering in the boy's ear, “Keep going. Don't quit, son... don't stop... don't stop.”
Together, the old master and the little boy transformed an embarrassing situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was mesmerized.
God Make Me A TV
Students at an elementary school were asked to write an essay about what they would like God to do for them. At the end of the day, while grading the essays, a teacher read one that made her very emotional.
Her husband, who had just walked in, saw her crying and asked her "What happened?" She answered "Read this. It is one of my school's students' essays.":
"Oh God, tonight I ask you something very special. Make me into a television set. I want to take its place and live like the TV in my house.
Have my own special place, and have my family around me. To be taken seriously when I talk. I want to be the center of attention and be heard without interruptions or questions.
I want to receive the same special care as the TV set receives even when it is not working. Have the company of my dad when he arrives home from work, even when he is tired. And I want my mom to want me when she is sad and upset, instead of ignoring me. And I want my brothers to fight to be with me.
I want to feel that family just leaves everything aside, every now and then, just to spend some time with me. And last but not least, ensure that I can make them all happy and entertain them. Lord I don't ask you for much. I just want to live like a TV."
At that moment the husband said "My God, poor kid. What horrible parents!"
The wife looked up at him and said "That essay is our son's!"
The Cookie Thief
A woman was waiting at an airport one night, with several long hours before her flight. She hunted for a book in the airport shops, bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.
She was engrossed in her book but happened to see, that the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be... grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between, which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.
So she munched the cookies and watched the clock, as the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock. She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by, thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye.”
With each cookie she took, he took one too, when only one was left, she wondered what he would do. With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh, he took the last cookie and broke it in half.
He offered her half, as he ate the other, she snatched it from him and thought… Oooh, brother. This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude, why he didn’t even show any gratitude!
She had never known when she had been so galled, and sighed with relief when her flight was called. She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate, refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.
She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat, then she sought her book, which was almost complete. As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise, there was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.
If mine are here, she moaned in despair, the others were his, and he tried to share. Too late to apologize, she realized with grief, that she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief
The Whole World Stinks
Wise men and philosophers throughout the ages have disagreed on many things, but many are in unanimous agreement on one point: "We become what we think about." Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "A man is what he thinks about all day long." The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius put it this way: "A man's life is what his thoughts make of it." In the Bible we find: "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."
One Sunday afternoon, a cranky grandfather was visiting his family. As he lay down to take a nap, his grandson decided to have a little fun by putting Limburger cheese on Grandfather's mustache. Soon, grandpa awoke with a snort and charged out of the bedroom saying, "This room stinks." Through the house he went, finding every room smelling the same. Desperately he made his way outside only to find that "The whole world stinks!"
So it is when we fill our minds with negativism. Everything we experience and everybody we encounter will carry the scent we hold in our mind.
The Baker and the Farmer
A baker in a little country town bought the butter he used from a nearby farmer. One day he suspected that the bricks of butter were not full pounds, and for several days he weighed them.
He was right. They were short weight, and he had the farmer arrested.
At the trial the judge said to the farmer, "I presume you have scales?"
"No, your honor."
"Then how do you manage to weigh the butter you sell?" inquired the judge.
The farmer replied, "That's easily explained, your honor. I have balances and for a weight I use a one-pound loaf I buy from the baker."
Moral of the story: In life, you get what you give. Don’t try and cheat others.
Complain! Complain! Complain!
It takes a disciplined spirit to endure the monastery on Mount Serat in Spain. One of the fundamental requirements of this religious order is that the young men must maintain silence. Opportunities to speak are scheduled once every two years, at which time they are allowed to speak only two words.
One young initiate in this religious order, who had completed his first two years of training, was invited by his superior to make his first two-word presentation. "Food terrible," he said.
Two years later the invitation was once again extended. The young man used this forum to exclaim, "Bed lumpy."
Arriving at his superior's office two years later he proclaimed, "I quit." The superior looked at this young monk and said, "You know, it doesn't surprise me a bit. All you've done since you arrived is complain, complain, complain.
Exaggerated? Maybe. What if you were asked to share two words that describe your Life? Would your focus be the lumps, bumps, and unfairness, or are you committed to dwell on those things that are good, right, and lovely?
There were two warring tribes in the Andes, one that lived in the lowlands and the other high in the mountains. The mountain people invaded the lowlanders one day, and as part of their plundering of the people, they kidnapped a baby of one of the lowlander families and took the infant with them back up into the mountains.
The lowlanders didn't know how to climb the mountain. They didn't know any of the trails that the mountain people used, and they didn't know where to find the mountain people or how to track them in the steep terrain.
Even so, they sent out their best party of fighting men to climb the mountain and bring the baby home.
The men tried first one method of climbing and then another. They tried one trail and then another. After several days of effort, however, they had climbed only several hundred feet.
Feeling hopeless and helpless, the lowlander men decided that the cause was lost, and they prepared to return to their village below.
As they were packing their gear for the descent, they saw the baby's mother walking toward them. They realized that she was coming down the mountain that they hadn't figured out how to climb.
And then they saw that she had the baby strapped to her back. How could that be?
One man greeted her and said, "We couldn't climb this mountain. How did you do this when we, the strongest and most able men in the village, couldn't do it?"
She shrugged her shoulders and said, "It wasn't your baby."
A lovely little girl was holding two apples with both hands. Her mom came in and softly asked her little daughter with a smile: my sweetie, could you give your mom one of your two apples?
The girl looked up at her mom for some seconds, then she suddenly took a quick bite on one apple, and then quickly on the other. The mom felt the smile on her face freeze. She tried hard not to reveal her disappointment.
Then the little girl handed one of her bitten apples to her mom, and said: mommy, here you are. This is the sweeter one.
No matter who you are, how experienced you are, and how knowledgeable you think you are, always delay judgment. Give others the privilege to explain themselves. What you see may not be the reality. Never conclude for others.
A Glass Of Milk
A young poor boy who was begging from door to door to feed his hungry stomach, decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal, he just asked for a glass of water, the woman thought he looked hungry, so she brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it slowly, and then asked "how much do I owe you?."
"You don't owe me anything, she replied. Mother has taught us never to accept pay for kindness." He said, "Then I thank you from my heart".
Years later, that young woman became critically ill, the local doctors were battling because they couldn't cure her, they finally sent her to the big city, where they called specialists to study her rare illness.
Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation, when he heard the name of the town where she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately, he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room. He recognized her at once.
He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day, he gave special attention to that case. After a long struggle, the battle was won! Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the bill. It was sent to her room, the woman feared opening it, for she was sure it might take the rest of her life to pay for it all.
Finally she looked, and noticed something was written at the edge of the note, 'paid in full with a glass of milk'. Tears filled her eyes as she immediately remembered...
Every form of kindness you show doesn't bounce, it reproduces itself. Not necessarily before your eyes, but it always does. It is good to be good. Always be nice for it always comes back to you.
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