Eric D. Thomas also is known as ET The Hip Hop Preacher is an American motivational speaker, author and minister. He’s been called upon by professional sports teams in the NBA, NFL and MLB, to help inspire, motivate and energize elite athletes to perform at the highest level. And he’s also spoken to several colleges, schools and companies with the same mission in mind.

In this stirring motivational speech delivered by Eric Thomas, he takes the audience on a poignant journey through his own challenging upbringing, sharing personal anecdotes that illuminate the transformative power of taking ownership of one’s life. Thomas reflects on a time when he was homeless and a high school dropout, confronting the harsh realities of life on the Southside of Chicago. He candidly discusses the absence of his father and his mother’s experience as a teenage parent, highlighting the potential pitfalls that could have been avoided had certain decisions been made differently.

The overarching theme of the speech revolves around the idea that, regardless of external circumstances, individuals owe it to themselves to rise above adversity and seize control of their destinies. Thomas challenges the audience to relinquish the crutch of blaming others, particularly absent parents or challenging circumstances, and to embrace personal responsibility. He underscores that, at a certain point, parental shortcomings or challenging backgrounds should not serve as excuses but rather as catalysts for personal growth.

A key focal point of Thomas’s message is the concept of self-discipline and the commitment required for success. He draws a powerful analogy, likening the desire for success to the urgency of needing to breathe. By emphasizing this point, he drives home the idea that true success demands an unwavering commitment, resilience, and an unyielding work ethic.

The speech pivots to the importance of letting go of excuses, blaming external factors, and pointing fingers at others. Thomas challenges the audience to look in the mirror and ask themselves tough questions about their own efforts and dedication. He urges individuals to cease making guarantees to others while failing to make the same commitments to themselves. The message is clear: success is a personal responsibility, and achieving one’s fullest potential requires a level of dedication that transcends external challenges.

Thomas shares a deeply personal turning point in his life — a moment of forgiveness towards his father, which marked a significant shift in his mindset. This experience serves as a poignant example of the transformative power of letting go of bitterness and taking control of one’s narrative.

In the latter part of the speech, Thomas speaks to the audience about identifying their purpose, surrounding themselves with like-minded individuals, and crafting their own narrative. He encourages individuals to break free from societal expectations and define success on their terms. The speech concludes with a powerful message about sacrifice and resilience, emphasizing that success is not an entitlement but a reward earned through consistent effort and determination.

In essence, Eric Thomas’s motivational speech serves as a call to action for individuals to rise above their circumstances, take responsibility for their lives, and pursue success with unyielding determination. His inspiring words resonate with those facing challenges, urging them to view adversity not as a barrier but as a stepping stone to personal and professional fulfillment.

Here is one of our favourite parts of this Eric Thomas Motivational Speech.


1.Invest in yourself

2. When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”

‘There was a young man who, you know,

He wanted to make a lot of money

And so he went to this Guru, right.

And he told the Guru,

“You know I wanna be on the same level you’re on.”

And so The Guru said,

“If you wanna be on the same level I’m on,

I’ll meet tomorrow,

At the beach, at 4 AM.”

He’s like,

“The beach?

I said I wanna make money. I don’t wanna swim.”

Guru said,

“If you wanna make money,

I’ll meet you tomorrow. 4 AM.”

So the young man got there 4 AM.

He all ready to rock n’ roll.

Got on a suit.

Should have worn shorts.

The old man grabs his hand and said,

“How bad do you wanna be successful?”

He said, “Real bad”.

[The Guru] He said, “Walk on out in the water.”

So he walks out into the water.

Watch this.

When he walks out into the water it goes waist deep.

So he’s like,

“This guy crazy.

I wanna make money and he got me out here swimming.

I didn’t ask to be a lifeguard.

I wanna make money.”

So he [The Guru] said, “Come out a little further.”

[He] walked out a little further.

Then he had it right around this area,

The shoulder area.

“So this old man crazy.

He making money,

But he crazy.”

So he [The Guru] said,

“Come on out a little further.”

He came out a little further,

It was right at his mouth,

My man like,

“I’m not about to go back in.

This guy out of his mind.”

So the old man said,

“I thought you said you wanted to be successful?”

He said, “I do.”

He [The Guru] said, “Walk a little further.”

He came,

Dropped his head in,

Held him down,

Hold him down,

My man getting scratchy,

Holding him down,

He [The Guru] had him held down,

Just before my man was about to pass out,

He [The Guru] raised him up.

He [The Guru] said, “I got a question for you.”

He [The Guru] said, “When you were underwater, what did you want to do?”

He said, “I wanted to breathe.”

He [The Guru] told the guy; He [The Guru] said,

“When you want to succeed,

As bad as you want to breathe,

Then you’ll be successful.”

3. I’m here to tell you,

Number one,

That most of you say you want to be successful,

But you don’t want it bad,

You just kinda want it.

You don’t want it badder than you wanna party.

You don’t want it as much as you want to be cool.

Most of you don’t want success,

As much as you want to sleep!

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