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20 Inspirational Documentaries On Netflix To Guide Your Life

20 Inspirational Documentaries On Netflix To Guide Your Life

Ah Netflix… the one thing that’s always been there for me. We turn to it in good times and bad and though the act of binge watching has somehow been elevated to the idea of an athletic endeavor we can still use Netflix to better ourselves. Here are 20 inspirational documentaries that are well worth your time.

1. Particle Fever

If you have ever questioned the intelligence of mankind this documentary will show you how brilliant we really are as the researches from CERN look to uncover the building blocks of our universe. It will leave you awestruck at the advancements in technology and science that go behind understanding our universe.

2. Fed Up

As a personal trainer and nutritionist I find it important to share documentaries like this one. Fed Up shares the information regarding the damaging effects of sugar and how important it is to reduce or eliminate it for the overall betterment of your health. It will inspire you to look closer into what goes into the foods you eat and make positive changes to your health.

3. The Queen Of Versailles

This documentary is about one of the richest families in America that were attempting to build one of the largest houses on earth as a display of their enormous wealth. When the financial crisis hit it impacted them too and everything had to be put on hold. What seems to be a story about greed and wealth surprised me as the the sensitivity and desire to help less fortunate people by the so called “Queen of Versailles”

4. Four Days In October

I can’t remember a more inspirational recent sports story than the 2004 Boston Red Sox and their incredible World Series run. There are so many inspiring and motivational sports stories out there but this one is so gripping as they look to erase the curse of the Great Bambino.

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5. Jiro Dreams Of Sushi

Part documentary for foodies but also the look into the incredible passion that goes into your true calling. Jiro Ono is an 85 year old master sushi chef that even after all this time still sees himself as a work in progress. Perfection in his mind can never be achieved despite his restaurant being regarded as one of the finest on earth. Seeing the dedication and passion the man devotes to his craft is more than inspiring for your own pursuits and passions.

6. K2: Siren of The Himalayas

The story of a climbing team in 2009 trying to scale one of the largest mountains on earth. The guts, focus and determination that it takes to attack a challenge like this demands respect in those who watch it. Mountain climbers are a rare breed that never cease to inspire that nothing is impossible.

7. 30 for 30: You Don’t Know Bo

Bo Jackson is one of the greatest athletes of not only our time but possibly ever. The ability to play both professional baseball and football is remarkable let alone being a standout in both. Though brought up from humble beginnings and always faced with difficulties and adversity Bo Jackson went on to be an inspiration to millions with sporting ability that many thought was not possible.

8. Food Inc

To me this is more essential viewing if you want to take control of your health and wellness. Food Inc sheds light into the damaging effects of the food industry not only to our health but the environment as well. Sometimes inspiration has to come in the form of outrage to enable change and encourage people to take a stand against corporations who cause such damage.

9. Hungry For Change

I want to keep the nutrition/health theme going as this might be the most inspirational health documentary on Netflix. Hungry For Change shows the damage that comes from following a modern and processed diet and the amazing changes that come when you introduce in real, whole foods.

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10. Happy People: A Year In The Taiga

A documentary from noted director Werner Herzog, the Taiga are a people who live in a remote, cold and merciless part of the world. The mindset and amazing vision they have to life will truly inspire you.

11. Planet Earth

The classic series that opens your eyes to the beauty of our world. Nature has its own way it inspires us whether it’s motivation to keep our world pristine or it may just encourage you to venture out and see as much of it as you can

12. Spinning Plates

Once again when it comes to passion high level chefs really take the cake (ignore that bad pun) and their dedication to their art is second to none. Spinning Plates follows three unique restaurants and the directions they have taken. This is not so much about food but a heart warming and motivational story that you just need to see for yourself.

13. Man On Wire

There’s a good chance you’ve already seen this or are at least familiar with the story of Philippe Petit’s high wire walk between the top of the World Trade Center. This is the story of someone with a goal that he will not let anyone get in the way of.

14. Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey

This is one of my favorites. It’s the story of a young singer found in rundown night clubs in Manila who was given the chance to be the front man for Journey on their world tour. Not so much a rags to riches story as it is a tale of seeing someone’s dreams come true right before their eyes. It really gives you the feeling that everyone’s gifts will soon be discovered.

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15. B.B King: The Life Of Riley

One of the most inspirational musicians of all time the story of B.B King is about more than just the music but once again about how you can’t ignore your passions.

16. Happy

This documentary takes a look at what really makes people happy. From people who live in slums to the swamps of Louisiana you will learn how what we think is actual happiness is actually pretty incorrect.

17. Hawking

Stephen Hawking is one of the most brilliant minds of our time there is not many people more inspirational than him. From suffering from a horrific condition it never prevented him from following his calling in life. It is determination and perseverance at its finest.

18. Storm Surfers

Storm Surfers once again shows you the amazing physical potential that all humans have in them. This follows a few surfers with the goal of riding the largest waves on earth. Their motivation in their surfing pursuits will inspire you in tackling your own challenges whether they be of a physical nature or personal goals.

19. Maidentrip

Any type of solo endeavor should be respected and admired no matter how small. Sailing around the world might be the most intense and dangerous of any solo pursuits. How about doing it as a 14 year old girl? Watch the amazing story of Laura Dekker as she goes on her two year voyage.

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20. 30 for 30: Into The Wind

If you’re Canadian you are already very familiar with Terry Fox. In case you’re not aware Terry Fox was a man who had suffered from cancer causing him to lose one of his legs. To raise awareness he would attempt to run; right across Canada on one leg. After watching the story of Terry Fox it gives us no excuse to follow through on anything be it big or small.

So there you have it–20 Netflix documentaries that will motivate and inspire you in all the various aspects of your life. You may find inspiration in many thing but these documentaries all provide some unique perspectives that you can learn from and apply to you own life. If you have your own favorite please feel free to share in the comments!

Featured photo credit: Leo Hidalgo via flickr.com

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Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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