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Top 15 Inspirational & Motivational Short Stories In 2023

motivational short stories

1. Three Feet From Gold

Three feet from gold

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The Story:

Amidst the Colorado gold rush, a miner toiled for months but quit in frustration, having not yet struck gold. He sold his equipment to another man who continued digging where he left off.

The new miner consulted an engineer who informed him that gold lay just three feet from where the first miner had stopped.

Indeed, the engineer was correct, revealing that the first miner had been only three feet away from striking gold before giving up.

The Moral:

In challenging times, persistence is key. Many abandon their dreams when confronted with difficult, tiresome work. Yet, often, success is just around the corner. Push a little harder, and you'll likely achieve your goals.

2. Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand

The Story:

A philosophy professor showcased a mayonnaise jar to his students. He filled it with large rocks and asked if it was full. They agreed. He added pebbles, and after a shake, asked again if it was full. Again, they agreed. Finally, he poured in sand.

The Metaphor:

The jar symbolizes life, with rocks as vital aspects like family and health, pebbles as meaningful but less critical parts, and sand as trivial tasks.

The Moral:

Prioritize the "rocks" in your life to ensure you focus on what's essential, leaving room for less important matters.

3. The Elephant Rope

The elephant rope

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The Story:

At an elephant camp, a man noticed that massive elephants were tethered with a small rope. Puzzled, he asked why they didn't break free, given their strength. The trainer explained they used the same rope on baby elephants, conditioning them to believe the rope's strength.

The Moral:

This tale illustrates learned helplessness. Don't let past failures limit your potential. Shed limiting beliefs and strive for growth, ignoring naysayers.

4. A Wise Man’s Jokes

The Story:

A wise man faced a group of chronic complainers. One day, instead of listening, he told a joke, making everyone laugh. Repeating it twice yielded fewer reactions. He asked, "What are you gaining from complaining?"

The Moral:

Complaining without action achieves nothing. Instead, effect change by taking action.

5. It’s Never Too Late

The Story:

In the 1940s, a 65-year-old man, surviving on $99 social security checks, decided to share his cherished fried chicken recipe. After 1,009 rejections, the 1,010th restaurant accepted it, eventually leading to Colonel Sanders' success.

The Moral:

This story shows it's never too late to achieve success, emphasizing the power of persistence and self-belief.

6. The Boulder and the Gold

The Story:

A king placed a boulder in the street and observed passersby. Wealthy merchants complained, but a peasant, after struggling, moved the boulder. Later, he found a bag of gold as a reward.

The Moral:

Challenges offer opportunities for improvement. Taking responsibility to clear obstacles benefits not only you but future generations.

7. Dirty Money

The Story:

A speaker crumpled a $20 bill, stomped on it, yet people still wanted it because its value remained. Life's hardships shouldn't diminish your worth.

The Moral:

Despite life's trials, your inherent value remains intact.

8. The Ultimate Test

The Story:

Four students faked a flat tire to avoid a test. The teacher offered a retest with a twist: they had to answer which tire was flat.

The Moral:

Taking responsibility for your actions is crucial; blaming others or making excuses won't lead to success.

9. What a Waste

The Story:

A baby camel questioned its humps, long legs, and eyelashes, discovering their value in the desert. It wondered why camels were in zoos.

The Moral:

Your skills matter most in the right environment. Reflect on your strengths and seek opportunities where they'll flourish.

10. Breathing With No Air

The Story:

A wise man submerged a boy in water, asking what he fought for. The boy answered, "Air." The man revealed the secret to success: desiring it as desperately as air underwater.

The Moral:

Success starts with unwavering desire and motivation. Don't let circumstances or others deter you from your goals; pursue them relentlessly.

11. Sweet Dreams

Once upon a time, in a quiet neighborhood, a young boy and girl spent a delightful afternoon playing together outdoors. The boy proudly displayed his collection of exquisite and distinct marbles, while the girl showcased the handful of candy she had received as a birthday gift.

An idea emerged in the boy's mind: a proposition to swap possessions. He offered all his marbles in exchange for all her candy. The girl, equally enamored by the marbles, readily agreed. With a smile, the boy surrendered all his marbles, except for one particularly stunning one, which he secretly kept in his pocket. True to her word, the girl handed over all her candy.

That night, the girl slept contentedly, satisfied with the trade. However, the boy lay awake, plagued by doubt. He wondered if the girl had also retained some candy, just as he had kept a marble.

Moral of the Story: To foster trust in your relationships, it's essential to give your all, just as you expect the same from your partner. Honesty is the cornerstone of building character and maintaining accountable, trusting relationships.

12. Teamwork

In a distant land, a man lived with his three hardworking sons who were constantly embroiled in disputes. Despite the father's earnest attempts to reconcile them, their quarrels reached a point where even the neighbors mocked them.

Tragedy struck when the father fell ill, and on his deathbed, he implored his sons to unite, recognizing that their divisions were tearing them apart. To teach them this crucial lesson, he devised a practical exercise.

The father gathered his sons and presented them with a challenge: he handed each of them ten sticks and instructed them to break each one in half individually. This task was swiftly accomplished, but the bickering continued.

The father then assigned them a new task: to break ten sticks bundled together, rather than individually. Despite their efforts, none could achieve this feat. Frustrated, they admitted defeat.

The father's message was clear: just as the sticks had been stronger when bound together, their unity as a team would make them invincible. They promised to put aside their differences and work together henceforth.

Moral of the Story: Effective teamwork contributes to the overall morale and motivation of a group. Strong teams cooperate, support each other, and collectively pursue common goals, leveraging each member's unique strengths and abilities.

13. Frogs for Dinner

Once upon a time, a lady prepared to cook pasta for her family. As she heated a pot of water on the stove, an unintended guest, a frog, leaped into the pot. Curiously, the frog didn't attempt to escape; he seemed quite comfortable.

As the water gradually heated, the frog adjusted his body temperature to match, making no effort to leave. But as the water neared its boiling point, the frog, unable to adapt any longer, finally tried to jump out. Alas, it was too late, and he succumbed to the boiling water.

Moral of the Story: Life doesn't always go as planned, and problems can escalate if ignored. It's crucial to take proactive steps to address challenges before they become insurmountable.

14. Will You Marry Me?

In a small Italian town, a businessman faced crippling debt. His unattractive banker proposed a deal: clear the debt in exchange for the businessman's beautiful daughter's hand in marriage. With no other option, the businessman reluctantly agreed.

The banker devised a peculiar test using black and white stones. If the daughter picked the black stone, she would marry the banker, but if she chose the white stone, she would be free of the obligation.

Observing the banker's deceit, the daughter discreetly ensured both stones in the bag were black. When she picked a stone and it appeared black, the banker, fearing exposure, pretended it was white. Thus, the debt was forgiven, and the daughter escaped a dire fate.

Moral of the Story: In challenging situations, creative thinking and nonconformity can lead to unexpected solutions. Don't hesitate to question the expected and forge your path to overcome obstacles.

15. Wait…What?

A carpenter nearing retirement informed his boss of his intention to spend more time with his family. Despite his waning enthusiasm for work, he agreed to build one final house as a favor to his employer.

In building this last house, his once-dedicated work ethic faded, and he cut corners, using inferior materials. When he presented the finished house to his boss, it turned out to be a gift for the carpenter himself.

Moral of the Story: Just as in life, every day offers an opportunity to put your best effort forward. Don't procrastinate or settle for mediocrity, for the choices you make today shape your future. "Life is a do-it-yourself project," so build it carefully with dedication and diligence.