A Look at Some Inspirational Documentaries

James Logie

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

If you watch a lot of Netflix, this may be the time to switch things up and watch some inspiring documentaries.

The content can change depending on what country you live in. Most of these have been on Netflix, but can also be found on the other big streaming services such as Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, and even YouTube.

OK, here we go in no particular order.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

This documentary is all about Jiro Ono, who is an 85-year-old sushi master.

It's inspiring seeing people who are the very best at what they do, and no one is better than Jiro. What’s inspiring about this is how he still thinks there is room for improvement.

In his mind, we are always growing and progressing: there’s no finish line.

Even though he has been regarded as one of the great sushi masters of the world, he still thinks he’s a work in progress.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi shows us his journey which resulted in a Michelin starred restaurant that people come from all around the world just to eat at.

This is inspiring as it teaches us not to become complacent. Anything you pursue is about the progress and not perfection. There is always room for growth. This documentary will inspire you to be the best at whatever you are drawn to.

Disclaimer: This documentary will make you extremely hungry.

K2: Siren of The Himalayans

If you think you're hardworking, this documentary shows you what true dedication looks like.

K2: Siren of The Himalayans is the story of a climbing team that attempts to climb one of the largest mountains on earth. It’s set in 2009 and we get a front-row seat to the physical and mental toll that tackling this mountain really takes.

Documentaries don’t get more inspiring than this and it’s hard not to be motivated when you see the guts and perseverance that climbing K2 takes.

It will motivate you to take on those challenges that you may have been putting off. You realize that anything is achievable, and it’s your mind that holds you back.

Free Solo

Let's keep this climbing theme going while we’re on a roll. Hopefully, you’ve seen this thing as it is astonishing.

Free Solo is a documentary that follows Alex Honnold as he attempts to climb the 3000 foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

Oh, yeah: he’s doing it without any ropes.

You may watch this documentary with your hands over your face, only peering through your fingers if you have the nerve. His climbing attempt is incredibly stressful.

His attempt can only be summed up one way: perfection or perish.

This documentary is so inspiring because the obstacles you've found in your way won't seem so big anymore. You’ll also find it inspiring to see what human beings are capable of. After watching Free Solo, you feel like you can do anything.

Particle Fever

It’s hard not to feel pessimistic about the course of humanity. So much ignorance and division surrounds us that it doesn’t seem like we deserve to keep going.

We cause so much damage to ourselves and the environment that it feels like a miracle we’re still here. Sometimes, it just seems like humanity is too stupid to succeed.

Particle Fever can help restore your faith in the progress of our species. This documentary is all about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

This is the machine that looks to unlock the secrets and origins of the universe. Particle Fever takes us through the journey as the team at CERN looks to uncover the building blocks of the universe.

It's inspiring because it shows how intelligent human beings can really be. It’s astonishing to watch the creation and development of the world's largest machine and what is possible when people from all nations work together.

Every time you may feel let down by the state of humanity, watch this documentary and it will remind you of how incredible science and our advancements in technology really are.

Happy People: A Year in The Taiga

The Taiga is a place and also a people. Taiga is an area on Earth that is very isolated and very inhospitable. The setting is a town called Bakhta, which is in Northern Russia.

This is a subarctic climate and probably isn’t a place that you would want to vacation in. Despite the harsh conditions and landscape, the people here are incredibly happy.

We get to follow them for a year and what I took away from it is getting to observe people who are truly free.

They are free from the stresses of our modern world; free from societal pressures, and free of all the complications that bring us more strife than we need.

This documentary is also about how people can coexist together and live off the land instead of destroying it.

It reminds you of how we’ve overcomplicated life and why simplicity is at the root of true happiness.

This is a documentary that everyone needs to watch.

Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey

This is about so much more than the group that gave us one of the greatest drunken bar songs of all time.

Everyman’s Journey is the story of Filipino singer, Arnel Pineda. Pineda was taken from obscurity to become the frontman for the band on their gigantic world tour.

He started out singing in rundown nightclubs in Manila until a YouTube video of him performing was randomly discovered.

This gave him the chance to audition for the band. Yes, this is a “rags to riches” story, but it’s so much more than that. In Everyman’s Journey, we see someone's dreams play out right before our eyes. And he deserves every moment of it.

There are a few things you may take away from this documentary. The first is how it doesn’t matter where you come from: we’re all capable of doing great things.

Another thing is how our gifts can eventually be discovered. This may not happen on our preferred timeline, but when we least suspect it.

The culmination of this documentary is when the band’s tour takes them back to Manilla. The story comes full circle, and it’s the ultimate homecoming for Pineda.

Over 25,000 people come out to embrace one of their own, and it’s awesome.

Final Thoughts

There is plenty more where this came from, but hopefully, this list includes a good variety, and whether you watch all of them, or just one: hopefully you find some inspiration.

These are some documentaries you may turn to when you feel you need some more motivation.

You may already have some of your favorites, but hopefully, there are some new ones here that will give you that inspirational boost you’re looking for.

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Personal trainer, podcaster, Amazon best-selling author. Writing about some health, a little marketing, and a whole lot of 1980s.


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