Please enjoy my blog where I offer tips, advice, and quotes on personal development, motivation and happiness.

Top 20 Motivational Songs That Will Lift You Up!

The Power of Music

The Power of Musc

Music has been a staple to human well-being since the beginning of mankind. The vibration of sound created by any kind of instrument (including the voice), has evoked a distinct feeling in listeners. Add meaningful lyrics, and a motivational song can be born.

Let’s Start Motivating

The definition of motivation according to Mirriam-Webster is “the condition of being eager to act or work.” The main reason a person becomes motivated is because there is a force that compels them; that particular compulsion is for some type of reward. Basically, motivation is propelled by a personal prize.

Motivation, Music, and Your Brain

Ideally, we all want to feel motivated—we want that prize. That reward can be: increased self-confidence, weight loss, career or educational success, the attention of someone romantically, financial gain, etc. These are all motivating factors. So how can music give us that experience?  Let’s ask the brain.

Studies have been conducted for decades on how music affects our feelings, which are generated by brain activity. Music used to be considered just an “art.” In 1969, Lola Cuddy set up a music psychology lab at Queen’s University in Canada. That program was paramount to the ensuing studies conducted on parts of the brain in which music affects our memory and feelings.

Music is more than a simple sound; it is processed by several different sections of the brain. At least eight parts of the mind are positively affected by music. Some benefits are: increased cognitive and motor skills, language, reasoning, and visual ability. If finding out why music motivates us, then we want to focus on the centers that affect emotions and make us feel rewarded.

Motivational Musical Brain Centers

 At the 2013 Annual Society of Neuroscience Conference, Dr. Gottfried Schlaug talked about music as a multisensory experience. He infers that it essentially “engages pleasure and reward systems in the brain.” 

The Cerebellum – this cortex allows for the emotional reaction to music. When you hear a song and you start dancing involuntarily, or your foot starts tapping on its own, this is your cerebellum responding to the tune being played. 

The Amygdala – this center is quite primitive; it is the fight/flight, fear area. One of the reasons the amygdala plays a part in listening to a song, is that it responds immediately to a trigger. The response system is sudden, so a song with a memory of motivation (or reward) is instant.

Nucleus Accumben – this area creates an emotional reaction to songs and music in general. It forms expectations; it expects an approaching reward. So if there is increased brain activity in the nucleus accumben, it means that the song is creating motivation.

 Songs with Words

 Lyrics have their own set of motivators. Words (in a song) cast from memory of good-feeling and accomplishment can propel a listener to feel empowered. This is one of the reasons why we love to sing along!

Singing aloud (whether on key or not) may create a physiological reaction that releases serotonin. Serotonin is basically one of the feel-good, brain chemicals. Your brain has elasticity and, obviously, memory. So when particular words and/or lyrics trigger empowerment/motivation, it will release an amount of serotonin; it is a chemical that has memory of positive feeling.

Another theory for motivation derived from music is that, as humans, we seek companionship and unity. Music, especially specific songs, brings people together. Unconscious bonds form. A person who abhors large crowds may still be compelled to go to a concert with 10,000 others because there is an unspoken kinship. That unified feeling feeds the brain, and hence the music/the songs motivate the individuals.

Instrumentals

The “psychology of music” informs on specifics of keys and tempo in regards to how we react to certain songs. Without lyrics, the emotional response is dependent on the instrumental. Specific keys definitely create a variety of emotions.

The key of F-minor is said to evoke depression, funereal emotion. Lullabies, for example, are meant to calm babies so they can drift off to sleep more easily. Chopin and Beethoven wrote sonatas and nocturnes in E flat major. That key is often used in our children’s bedtime songs and lullabies. The expression “Music soothes the savage beast,” may hold some truth.

Alternately, then what “Riles the wild?” According to gradfree.com, the key of D is known as a key of “triumph…victory rejoicing.” Hence, choosing an appropriate key like D-major or B flat-major will promote feelings of positivity and motivation. Whether we understand musicality, we understand instinctively which keys (without having to know what they are) make us feel a certain way.

The Top Twenty Most Motivational Songs

Now that we’ve established and understand what makes a song so empowering, let’s explore 20 of the best. With the introduction of video, the visuals definitely impact feelings as well. This is a very eclectic group of songs spanning over centuries, so many on the list should please both young in age as well as those young in spirit and heart.

20.) Vivaldi – “Winter” from his Four Seasons. Obviously watching the violinist and the entire orchestra is inspiring. Watch and listen. Then, play it again, this time with your eyes closed and with a goal in mind. This classic piece will make you feel like you can achieve whatever you dream.

19.) Beethoven – 5th Symphony (1st movement). Again, listening with eyes closed allows your auditory senses to indulge in any emotional response you might have. It’s no coincidence that this YouTube video (with no video, just sound) has had almost 20-million visitors. This piece by Beethoven has most undoubtedly inspired many.

18.) Aretha Franklin – Think (Freedom). This is a song that doesn’t require visuals to get the mind excited. The tune, lyrics, and Franklin’s energy evoke a sensation of excitement and determination.

17.) Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode. The guitar and piano riffs will distract anyone from any negativity. Here’s a song with a catchy beat and simple lyrics. A quick motivational pick-up.

16.) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Can’t Hold Us. This contemporary song excites and motivates from its first musical note.

15.) Rolling Stones – Let’s Spend the Night Together. The piano music and energy from Mick Jagger bursts through in this classic hit.

14.) Meat Loaf – All Revved Up. The title says it all. This tune from the Bat Out of Hell album will motivate you, especially after minute 3; it gets wild and gnarly.

13.) Queen/David Bowie – Under Pressure. This is a classic-rock hit in the original key of D major. No wonder this a feel-good staple; incredible musicianship, arrangement, and brilliant voices make this an overall, superb, motivational song.

12.) Journey – Any Way You Want It. There are several Journey songs that are uplifting, but this one in particular empowers and motivates. From its original release in 1980, it’s shown a resurgence amongst today’s younger population.

11.) Michael Jackson – Beat It. This extraordinarily talented writer, singer, dancer inspired audiences over decades. This song will make your toes tap whether you’re 3 or 93. The video never gets stale either; Jackson’s moves motivate.

10.) Pharell – Happy. Getting happy or happier will happen when listening to this song. It is aptly named.

9.) Gypsy Kings – Bamboleo. Dare to sit still during this high-energy guitar masterpiece. The band may be from France and sing in Spanish, but they groove internationally.

8.) 2001: A Space Odyssey Theme Song. The build-up excites the listener; once those deep, recognizable drums join in, we are fully committed. By the grand finale, we are pretending to conduct the orchestra.

7.) Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling. This song is a great example of people wanting to share an experience. You can’t help but get motivated and have a good time, and rock the house.

6.) Rocky Horror Picture Show- Time Warp. This song was the 20th century’s version of the Macarena. This is a fun pick-me-up. Take note in the video of a 20-something Susan Sarandon.

5.) All the Single Ladies. The song is really fun, but if you attempt to dance like Beyoncé does in the video, you will have a great time!

4.) Beatles – Birthday Song. If this song doesn’t elevate your spirits, that’s pretty sad. Even if it’s not your birthday, this uplifting tune should make it a better day!

3.) Aillen Quinn – Tomorrow. This tune from the Broadway show and film “Annie” warms even the coldest. Annie said that singing this song when she was in the orphanage cheered her up. Now, that’s a motivational song.

2.) Kelly Clarkson – Stronger. Another empowering bonding song. Women, especially, can relate to the lyrics. Dancing is not required, but jumping up and down may happen.

1.) Psy – Gangnam Style. The video has been watched almost 2 BILLION times. That’s inspirational unto itself. Push judgment aside on this one and just let it make you smile.

Take a Chance

Some of these songs may be familiar, others completely unknown. When you’re feeling like you could use a spiritual boost, click on a link to one of these motivational songs. Odds are you will feel lighter, yet stronger in just a beat, a heartbeat.

Let me know what you think of my list and what your favorite motivation songs are.

How To Achieve Your Goals – (Infographic)

It has been said that everyone has goals, whether we know it or not. We have goals to keep our current job, or to get a different one. We have goals to save for the future, or to travel, take a vacation, or purchase the things we need and want to make our lives more enjoyable. Now the issue comes when you try to reach these goals, because as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said:

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

So before you can reach your goals you need a plan. I have created a complete step by step infographic on how you can create this plan. Read my infographic on How to Achieve Your Goals below to learn exactly what you need to do to achieve your goals.

How To Achieve Your Goals

 What Do You Think?

Let me know what you think about the steps I outlined in this infographic – How to Achieve Your Goals in the comments below.

How To Be a Success In Life!

Keys to Success

Success – It’s All Relative

There are an infinite number of:

“How to Succeed”
“What it Means to be a Success”
“10 and/or 20 Ways To Become a Success”

-type articles.

How is this different? What separates this “success list” from the others is that I am exploring relativity. How does success relate specifically to your life?

What Success Means to You

Generally, most success articles begin with its definition. If we perused the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, we would find that success (according to them) means:

  •  the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame; and/or
  • the correct or desired result of an attempt. Herein live the multiple interpretations of success between one person and another. 

If achieving great status via material objects is your personal definition of success, then having the biggest, most beautiful home, vehicle, piece of jewelry, or all that combined means you win the success badge. If you feel success lies in how many people recognize your name or want your autograph or photograph, then fame is your fortune. If others bow down to you and are humbled in your presence, then that sensation of respect is success to you.

Then there’s the other perception of success, which is more private; that is, you tried something once, twice, or a thousand times, and finally, you got it! Congratulating oneself for achievement is a psychology unto itself. But for these purposes, let us assume that the achiever can recognize and is able to consider him/herself a success for accomplishing a set of goals

What Do You Want to Be Successful At?

Now that you’ve established what entails your feeling of success, you need to choose what you would like to be successful at. Believe or not, the majority of people cannot say what they would like to become successful at. Not because they don’t know—because they are afraid to admit it.

The premise underlying the fear is that the person thinks that if he/she admits what he/she wants to be successful at, then he/she is no good at it now. For example, admitting that one would like to be successful at parenting, may suggest to others that he/she is a failure so far. This concept of thinking is fatalistic. Progressing toward a higher understanding and practice is admirable. In some minds, success is your ability to embrace your shortcomings and/or your desire to evolve and improve.

For others, it is the implementation of new information into practice, the expenditure on a new item, or the reveal of a current document or photograph. Regardless, once again, of a personal definition, here are some common goals for those wanting to achieve success:

Being a successful parent: Many adults feel they are short-changing their children in the parenting department. Welcome to history. Most parents want the best for their kids and angst over decision-making. Choosing a path, educating yourself, and following through will assist you in a journey that has no absolutes. Trusting your gut will help.

Being a successful spouse: Most go into marriage with the hope that their relationship will survive. Being a successful spouse may mean compromise, giving more, taking more, or just not knowing. As with any relationship, requirements for success will be tolerance, confidence, trust, maturity, flexibility, and love, among many other fine traits.

Being a successful professional: Many think that a college degree equals workplace success. There are multiple criteria that encompass the rise and maintenance of what, by many standards, identify a success in the marketplace or business world. Regardless if your position is Quality Control of insoles for footwear, Chief Agriculture and Produce Buyer for a grocery chain, or Chief Executive Officer of a Forbes 500 company, it mean you have applied yourself in a manner that has afforded you a title. If title is what you seek, then action and perseverance will lead you to your success.

Being a successful citizen: Fighting crime doesn’t necessarily make you king of the community. Your interaction with others, keeping your finger on the pulse of the town/city/country, and demonstration of action to evoke change and betterment befits a successful citizen.

Musts for Any Type of Success

Whether you have an obscure or common perception of success, or you have a grandiose, simplistic, or privately personal goal, your desired level of success can only be achieved when specific elements are integrated. These traits, theories, and practices often go hand-in-hand when success is an aim. Here is a validated list of must-haves:

      • Visualize – Know what you want and imagine it to be true.
      • Plan – Create a road map toward your goal.
      • Be flexible – If things don’t go exactly how you planned, be open to alternate routes. Sometimes we find a shortcut. Sometimes we are shown a different path that we did not have on our map.
      • Persevere – Don’t give up. Keep on keeping on. If you set your mind to something, forge ahead regardless of challenge. Those obstacles are merely roadblocks you must surmount to make your success taste that much sweeter.
      • Have Confidence – Confidence is derived from experience of feeling good and smaller successes. It is a positive attitude that echoes, “I know I can.”
      • Defeat defeat – If you get knocked down, look at it as an opportunity to figure out how to get up again. There is no giving into defeat. All falls must be perceived as pick-me-ups.
      • Practice humility – No matter how much you’ve learned or how positive you feel about yourself, you can always stand to learn more or be better. Pat yourself on the back for your good work, but never forget to pat the backs of others who have cleared and lead the way for you.
      • Be persistent – A lot like perseverance, persistence, at first, takes “no” for an answer, thinks about it, and then asks the same question again, waiting for a better answer.
      • Identify your skills – Know what you are good at and hone those skills. Additionally, let employers, partners, and clients become aware of your abilities. On the flip side, know what areas in which you can still use some work. Embrace the weaknesses (as well as the strengths) and apply yourself to improve.
      • Be responsible – Your limitations are only what you decide they will be. Acting as a victim is not only one of the most unsavory characteristics, but it also will get you nowhere, ever. Blaming others closes doors. Open doors with a positive and responsible attitude. Take charge—get off the pity-pot.
      • Be smart – Educate yourself whether through schooling, mentoring, or simply reading. If someone else can teach you something and you can’t afford his/her services, figure out a way to barter. Perhaps you can cut hair, run the carpool, balance the company’s bills—where there’s a will to learn, there’s a way.
      • Be motivated – If you keep your goal in mind, you will challenge yourself to achieve more efficiently. In the recent New York Times Article, “What Challenges Success”, the author states, “…research shows that perseverance and motivation can be taught…”
      • Stay hopeful – Don’t doubt yourself or your actions (if you made them with proper thought and good intention). Doubt can create procrastination; that will put an end to your forward-moving process.
      • Ask questions – Feel free to ask experts, mentors, observers, those you trust, etc. for feedback or response to your curiosities. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for “things”, like a raise if it’s due, a day off (if it’s been earned), a promotion, or even a stronger commitment (if that’s the direction everyone is headed in). If you don’t ask, you may not get; not everyone is a mind-reader or action-taker.
      • Surround yourself with like-minded individuals – It’s important to be around others who are positive and see success the way you do.
      • Be open to criticism – constructive only. Words headed your direction, ones that are well intended, try to listen with a non-defensive ear. It’s possible that the criticism is constructive and can actually help better yourself or your performance.
      • Take risks – Make sure the chances you take are calculated. There is nothing wrong with experimentation, but impulsivity may prove adverse in the long-run. Calculated risks are worth taking.
      • Be open to failing – As Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

In Conclusion

The bottom line to success is what it essentially means to you. Once you decide on a goal, it’s a matter of figuring out how to achieve it. Remember, success does not equal happiness. It may bring you satisfaction or monetary gain, but relying on overall happiness measured by your success will never make ends meet. Just know that reaching any goal makes you a success.

Let me know what success means to you in the comments below.