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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

More by this author

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 December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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