The thing that makes a song inspirational is that it makes you feel like you should be doing something and gives you the confidence to go out and do it. It gives you a buzzing energy but doesn’t have to be a high-tempo affair. The very best motivational tracks are the ones you plug into when you’re having a bad day and need to power through life.
Those are the ones we’ll be going over. Here are the 65 best motivational songs of all time to get you excited about accomplishing whatever you need to do today.
1. Lose Yourself – Eminem
Lose Yourself has become something of a classic song over the years, especially within my generation. Of course, there are the memeable lines about your mother’s spaghetti, but that isn’t the point of the track. For Eminem, it’s about overcoming stage fright and laying down the bars he knows he can. But for listeners, it’s about making the most of every opportunity you get because there just might not be another one.
It’s much better to give your best effort because not trying at all just means you fail. Besides, the fear of failure shouldn’t be able to paralyze you when you have an opportunity to live out your dreams, so get some motivation from this song and get back out there.
Recommended: Best songs of all time
2. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
Eye Of The Tiger has become synonymous with sporting events, workout playlists, and motivational homilies. A huge success as a standalone track, it was written for and featured in the Rocky film franchise. The intro section of the song hits hard and sets up the burning energy to follow, but it’s the lyrics that make it a motivational masterpiece. The track is all about rising to challenges, overcoming the odds, and never giving up; exactly the things you look for in an excellent inspirational song.
Recommended: Top workout songs of all time
3. Drive – Incubus
Drive is a personal favorite of mine and one of the most inspirational songs on any of my own playlists. The gist of the track is that everyone seems to be driven by the same things, but the narrator finds the most happiness and energy when they go their own way. It’s about taking control of your life and beating your own path, driving yourself rather than being driven in a direction by outside forces. It also focuses on being able to handle anything thrown at you, no matter what tomorrow brings.
4. I’m Still Standing – Elton John
Elton John has gone through quite a lot in his life. Relationships and a difficult career path didn’t make anything easy. But even in the wake of romantic turmoil, I’m Still Standing served as a reminder that he was going to be okay. The song itself is a tale of personal strength meant to inspire listeners to remember their own powers and keep forging onward.
5. Dream On – Aerosmith
Dream On is a track that gets glossed over a lot when it comes to inspirational songs. Yeah, it’s a great hard rock track, but it’s the lyrics that make it powerful. It starts off talking about paying your dues and life passing you by, things everyone can relate to. But instead of feeling defeated because of it, they choose to sing through the good times and the bad. No matter what challenges come, they’re going to live for the day, enjoy life, and keep on dreaming.
6. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive is an absolute classic. Often referred to as a symbol of female empowerment and a historically relevant single, the song will inspire you to make it through whatever hard time happens to befall you. The narrator goes through a devastating breakup but ends up finding personal strength and freedom in its aftermath. While everyone knows a lot of the lyrics, a closer look will give you all the motivation you need to overcome your problems.
7. We Are The Champions – Queen
We Are The Champions is often seen as a triumphant song about finally making it to the top. But it’s the chorus that contains that joy. The beauty of the track is that the chorus is so joyful, so proud, and so triumphant. The actual verses are about the problems, challenges, mistakes, and hard work that came before reaching the pinnacle.
The song stands as a reminder that anything worth doing isn’t going to be easy, as finding success comes with failure and late nights. But just like the chorus of the track, reaching that point is a sweet release of triumphant happiness.
8. Fight Song – Rachel Platten
Whether you feel beaten down or like nothing you do makes a difference, Fight Song is the right one for you to listen to and be inspired by. Small boats can make big waves, and you can announce to the world that you’re stronger than your problems at any time.
9. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – Daft Punk
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger is a great motivational song purely because of how energetic it is. There’s no deep lyrics to ponder, no secretive message waiting to be revealed. The track is pure, unadulterated energy that can motivate you to power through any menial or unpleasant tasks you have on hand.
10. Remember the Name – Fort Minor
Remember The Name is a fun song that we all remember for listing off the percentages of things that add up to greatness. It reminds listeners that they can achieve whatever they want, with most of the ingredients needed being made up of hard work and willpower. And the track can motivate you to make use of both of those things in an hour of need.
11. Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) is about finding strength in yourself after a breakup, but the inspiration in the song is truly the message that anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If something bad happens and you’re still breathing, you not only live to fight another day but you’re more prepared and battle-tested the next time something else comes up.
12. Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
There’s a lot that can be said about Seven Nation Army. The continued guitar chords throughout the song are powerful unto themselves, making this an amazing inspirational hype track without a word ever being spoken. But then you factor in that the narrator is going to achieve their goals and nothing can hold them back and you’ve got one of the most empowering songs of all time.
13. So What – P!nk
So What is the perfect synopsis of what it’s like to lose something or someone and still have a positive outlook on life. The lyrics are empowering in the wake of a loss, pointing out that losing one thing doesn’t diminish all the other accomplishments or good things in life that should still be enjoyed.
14. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Feat. Ray Dalton
Can’t Hold Us is really the culmination of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ come-up. It’s a celebration of reaching success and pushing through barriers in their own way that’s meant to motivate and inspire listeners to do the same things in their own lives. Nothing can hold you down if you have faith and work hard.
15. Don’t Worry Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
As we said, inspirational songs don’t have to be uptempo. Don’t Worry Be Happy is a fun little tune that’s sure to perk up your day. Sometimes, a lack of motivation can cast a cloud over your mood, and becoming consumed by worry keeps you from acting. Taking this track to heart will surely alleviate those worries and inspire you to look at the world in a more positive light.
16. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
Don’t Stop Believin’ is a classic motivational song. It’s all about holding onto your dreams and people’s search to find the place where they belong. Even in uncertain circumstances, random events can change your life for the better. So, always be ready, and don’t stop believing that your time will come.
17. It’s My Life – Bon Jovi
It’s My Life is a response to anyone telling the narrator how they should be doing things. It’s their life, they’re going to live the way they want, and they won’t be denied. The song deals with mortality and the short time we have here but deciding to do things their own way makes it inspirational for everyone.
18. On Top of the World – Imagine Dragons
Used for numerous FIFA theme songs over the years On Top Of The World is one of those Imagine Dragons tracks that everyone can rock out to and get some inspiration and motivation from. It has also been used for many inspirational commercials for companies such as Coca-Cola and Ford to promote their products.
19. Titanium – David Guetta Feat. sia
The song Titanium is all about the singer finding their inner strength and fighting the darkness in a world that seems consumed by it. It also helps that it has a killer beat that makes you want to shake your hips and sing along to the inspirational tune.
20. Bulls on Parade – Rage Against the Machine
As the theme song for the defense of the NFL’s Houston Texans, it obviously had to be motivational. Used to pump up players and crowds alike, it also has a great guitar solo to boot.
21. Started From The Bottom – Drake
Started From The Bottom was a massive hit, but it was also meant to be a reminder. Even someone as successful as Drake didn’t rise to fame from an easy starting point. As far as motivational songs go, knowing that you can reach such heights from the very bottom of the totem pole can go a long way.
22. Roar – Katy Perry
Full of Katy Perry’s change from a shy, meek girl to a wild, resourceful woman of the jungle, Roar is another great example of finding strength and resilience in the hardest of times. The video portrays a plane crash that her character has to survive and endure, and as we watch we see her become Queen of the Jungle and find her true self.
23. What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
Sometimes, the world just looks bleak. Nothing seems to matter, everything is gray, and it’s hard to get things done. Louis Armstrong gave us the perfect song to fix all of that with What A Wonderful World. You’ll be inspired enough to, at the bare minimum, have a bit more of a positive outlook on things.
24. Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars
Imagine crooning this into your loved one’s ear, letting them know that you love them the way they are. That was Bruno Mars’ intention when he wrote this song. An inspirational way to let your loved one know how special they are no matter their flaws it’s one that speaks to the heart and tells us it’s okay to be ourselves, we don’t have to change.
25. Imagine – John Lennon And The Plastic Ono Band With The Flux Fiddlers
Imagine is as much a song as it is a thought experiment. It asks us to imagine a better world, where there is no war and where people actually look out for one another. Even if it doesn’t inspire you to overcome some challenges, this one is sure to inspire you to do a little more good in the world than you might have thought to do in the first place.
26. Born This Way – Lady Gaga
Along with being one of the best-selling singles of all time, Born This Way was voted by Rolling Stone as the Most Inspirational LGBTQ Song of All Time in 2023. The track encaptures the resilience and motivation to change the world the LGBTQ community is full of.
27. Brave – Sara Bareilles
Many people feel pushed to the side or like they aren’t good enough. Others think that by speaking their mind they open themselves up to being hurt. Brave is about overcoming all of that and the wonderful things that could happen instead. It’s a song meant to make you feel confident in yourself and be more outgoing.
28. Whatever It Takes – Imagine Dragons
A close look at the lyrics of Whatever It Takes reveals a bit of a dark view of the world and what people really think. But despite the feelings of hopelessness and fear, the chorus brings it all together to make it a song about doing whatever it takes to make it and being good enough to handle it.
29. Rise Up – Andra Day
Rise Up may be one of the most wholesome songs on the list. It’s about being there to support someone who is near their breaking point, rising above the mountains in your path, and is a promise to always offer that level of support. It’s a warm and gentle reminder that it’s okay to need help sometimes.
30. Tubthumping – Chumbawamba
Tubthumping isn’t a complex song, but it is the perfect mantra to get you through your day with a little more energy than you would have had otherwise. You’ll get knocked down in life, but the important thing is that you get back up and keep going. And this song repeats that enough that it can ingrain that motivation into your brain.
31. Learn To Fly – Foo Fighters
Learn To Fly is all about being exhausted from dealing with the struggles of life and reaching out for help. It’s inspiring because instead of giving up, the narrator continues to fly on and looks for the good things that keep them going. Something we can all apply in our own lives.
32. High Hopes – Panic! At the Disco
Having high hopes for your future is a mindset that can motivate you when the going gets tough. High Hopes is an upbeat song about just that. You’ll never get the things you want in life without a bit of struggle or without trying hard enough.
33. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
Criticism and negativity are absolutely draining, but Taylor Swift takes some age-old advice to deal with it. Shake It Off is about not letting negativity get you down or stop you from achieving the things you dream about. If you’re having a bad day or have some negative thoughts stuck in your head, this is the perfect one to inspire you to get over it.
34. Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles
Here Comes The Sun is a simple song lyrically, but it carries a big message. Bad times end just like the cold winters finally come to a close. It’s a track meant to give you some sort of hope in the face of one of those down times because just like the sun, here comes the better times.
35. I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
I Won’t Back Down is all about standing strong in the face of adversity. The narrator of the song has the inner strength to stand up to anything and do what he thinks is right, no matter what comes his way. It’s a track that can motivate you to do what you know you should, even if others are pressuring you to go in a different direction.
36. In The End – Linkin Park
In The End is an explosion of angry angst, but it can be translated to have a positive spin. While the singer rages at the futility of all their efforts, it can offer motivation to do even more. If nothing truly matters in the end, why not take a big shot and see how far you can go?
37. Never Too Late – Three Days Grace
No matter how low you sink in life, it’s not too late to turn it around. Someone will be there for you and will offer a helping hand. Never Too Late might deal with depression and suicide, but the themes of the song can be applied everywhere in life, inspiring you to not give up and keep foreign ahead.
38. Beautiful – Christina Aguilera
Beautiful is the ultimate confidence booster. It’s a song that will make you feel beautiful and loved, even if you have to find those feelings inside of yourself for a while.
39. You Gotta Be – Des’ree
The chorus for You Gotta Be is another awesome mantra to help you find some motivation or inspiration. Be the bad, bold, tough, strong, cool, calm, and wise person you know you can be.
40. Not Afraid – Eminem
Not Afraid has a totally different vibe than our other Eminem song, but it’s just as powerful. It’s truly about standing strong in any situation, knowing you can make it through thanks to the support of the people you have around you.
41. Survivor – Destiny’s Child
Survivor is such a fun song. In the wake of a breakup, the narrator realizes she’s stronger, has more fun, is a better person, and has lost nothing more than the stress she was dealing with. It’s the perfect track to inspire you to take a relationship ending in stride.
42. Girl On Fire – Alicia Keys
Few songs inspire you to feel invincible the way Girl On Fire is able to. Despite feelings of loneliness on the inside, the narrator puts on a brave face and takes things head-on. Maybe that’s exactly the motivating message you need to hear today.
43. Touch the Sky – Kanye West Feat. Lupe Fiasco
Shooting for the stars is great, but without the proper motivations, people will fall short of such lofty goals. Listening to Touch The Sky will undoubtedly rectify this problem. Kanye West will have you ready to set your mind to the task and focus on unrivaled excellence.
44. Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield
Every single day, we can make the choice to change things. Whether small or big, the future is something that we can still control if we make those changes. And that’s the message behind Unwritten, that you can overcome anything and make the life you want to if you just make the choice to do so.
45. I’m The Best – Nicki Minaj
Sometimes, a good motivational song just lets you scream out how good you are. Repeating the lines from I’m The Best will give you all the confidence and motivation you need as it becomes a daily mantra in the mirror.
46. Express Yourself – Madonna
The easiest way to get what you need in any relationship is to express those things to the other person. If they won’t do those things, your best option is to end things. Express Yourself is full of good advice and inspiration that will help anyone deal with emotional turmoil or a lackluster relationship in quick order.
47. Beautiful Life – Ace of Base
Simple things are the best medicine for when a person feels down. The Ace Of Base hammers this point home in Beautiful Life, motivating listeners to seize the day and giving them the confidence that they can achieve whatever they want while also reminding them of how beautiful the world truly can be when you actually take the time to look at it.
48. All Star – Smash Mouth
All Star is a motivational song that really just puts a smile on your face. It’s got plenty of boosting mantra power in the chorus, but it’s the verses that give you the inspiration to go on. Take chances, overcome challenges, and live life in the way you deserve. Because only shooting stars break the mold and you’ll never shine if you don’t glow.
49. The Climb – Miley Cyrus
The Climb is perhaps the most inspiring song Miley Cyrus has ever produced. There’s always going to be a reason not to go for the things you want. There’s always something in the way. But that doesn’t mean you should stop. The journey may be rough, but the destination is worth it.
50. Livin’ On A Prayer – Bon Jovi
It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not. Livin’ On A Prayer is all about trying and failing and trying again. It focuses on a struggling couple, sticking it out and loving each other even though they don’t really have anything else.
51. Walking On Sunshine – Katrina & the Waves
Walking On Sunshine is just a feel-good song that can inspire you to simply have a great day. It is all about love, but the chorus is just so joyous that it becomes an infectious bit of happiness in your head and makes you feel like, well, you’re walking on sunshine.
52. Juicy – The Notorious B.I.G.
What’s more motivational than hearing a come-up story? Biggie’s Juicy tells the tale of how he rose from being a small-time drug dealer to one of the hottest names in hip hop. And if that isn’t enough for you to feel like you can achieve things, I don’t know what would be.
53. Save the World – Swedish House Mafia
Saving the world doesn’t have to mean the literal world. It can be a smaller world, like your own. Save The World is a great song about saving a relationship and making it to the end goal. Always having someone to be there for you is motivational in and of itself, with this track serving as the perfect expression of that feeling.
54. Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen
Born To Run really sums up the search for a place to be happy. The narrator is obviously not there now, but they’re never going to be willing to give up on finding where they belong and a place that doesn’t exhaust their soul.
55. Happy – Pharrell Williams
If you want your motivational song to put you in a better mood, it’s impossible to pick a better option than Happy. The song is another great motivator that can serve as the perfect mantra, but this time, it’s paired up with a happy tune and a beat you can clap along to. It’s impossible to pout through this one, so you’ll surely be motivated to at least have a better day.
56. Hall Of Fame – The Script Feat. will.i.am
If pure motivation is what you’re looking for, look no further than Hall Of Fame. The song literally tells you that you can do anything, but you have to try. It’s a long list of all the things that are possible for you and how successful you can be, taking whatever approach works best.
57. The Show Goes On – Lupe Fiasco
Invincibility is a strong motivator, at least when a song can make you feel so confident that you feel invincible. The Show Goes On is an amazing example of that, throwing down lines that leave opponents knowing you’re unaffected by their actions and you’ll take on whatever comes your way.
58. Stronger – Kanye West
What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger, a sentiment we’ve already touched on in this article. But when Kanye West takes control of that narrative, it elevates to yet another level. Stronger is a great motivational or workout song, with a thumping beat and confidence-instilling lyrics to get you pumped up.
59. Counting Stars – OneRepublic
Counting Stars is the perfect inspirational song for when you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere doing the things expected of you. Sometimes, stepping outside of tradition is the right move, as evidenced in this track.
60. Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man
Feel It Still is inspirational because of the juxtaposition of the topics of the song. Fighting a war for peace and waiting for opportunities to come your way are things that just don’t make sense. Sometimes, you have to take things into your own hands, and this track will make you feel ready to do so.
61. Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran
Find your animalistic side with Hungry Like The Wolf. Whether you’re chasing thrills to feel alive or need that killer instinct to achieve your goals, this song will inspire you to tap into your natural inclinations and chase down the things you want.
62. Back in Black – AC/DC
The guitar chords for Back In Black alone are enough to get you wired. But the comeback story implied in the song is nothing short of inspirational. It marked a return for the band, but it could also mark a return to form for the listener, rising back up to become who they know they are.
63. No Sleep Till Brooklyn – Beastie Boys
No Sleep Till Brooklyn is just a darn good time. The song has a killer beat and tempo that rile you up, and you’ll feel like a rockstar as you sing along to the lyrics.
64. Good As Hell – Lizzo
Good As Hell is another one of those motivational songs that serves as a confidence booster to keep you going. Look good, feel good, do good. It’s all basic stuff at this point. Don’t go where you aren’t wanted, remove yourself from bad situations, and always remember your self-worth.
65. Never Say Never – Justin Bieber Feat. Jaden
Never Say Never is all about fighting when your back is against the wall and doing things you thought were impossible before you tried. It’s truly an inspiring song when you take a close look at the lyrics and serves as the perfect reminder that you should never say you can’t do something until you find out just how strong you are.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.