Inspirational Short Stories About Life

The art of storytelling is powerful. It encourages people to take action and make their lives better.

It also helps build connections. And it helps the listener understand things better. 

A bonus is, these short stories contain valuable life lessons.

Want some inspirational and motivational short stories? 

You can read four of the best inspirational short stories and four of the best motivational short stories in this article.

Inspirational stories

A wealthy man and a monk

A wealthy man and a monkPin

A wealthy man suffered severe eye pain. He sought out a variety of treatment approaches for even the smallest chance of making his problem go away.

So one day, he went to see a monk. To be fair to him, the monk had a reputation for attempting to treat a variety of medical conditions. And his visit to the monk was an act of desperation. 

When the monk offered a quite unusual cure, the wealthy man accepted it. He didn’t perform due diligence or asked his trusted peers for their opinion. He also didn’t assess whether there was something sensible to it. 

Because he wanted a solution, he didn’t think things through. He simply followed the monk’s advice.

“Focus on green colors and your eye pain will be no more,” the monk said.

And in hopes of fast-tracking this treatment approach, the wealthy man hired a group of artists. He instructed the group to have every object in his sight painted green, as advised by the monk. 

Because he was wealthy, he could afford to pay people to grant his wishes. Months later, his eye pain worsened. And the monk is nowhere to be found.

Moral lesson: Think independently. Don’t blindly follow the advice of others. Even if you can afford them, doing certain things isn’t always the best idea. 

Will you marry me?

In a small Italian town, there lived an old man with heavy debts. Because he wanted to get out of his financial trouble, he made an arrangement with a rich man.

This was the term of their arrangement:

I will settle all your debts

 The price to pay: 

One of your daughters goes 

Into marriage with me.”

“Okay,”  the old man smiled and said with relief. Upon learning there’s a solution to his financial trouble, he was happy. Without hesitation, he called on one of his daughters and informed her she was about to get married to a rich man.

“My daughter, he’s a rich man. He’ll take care of you as you grow old. You and I will be set for life,” he said.

Unfortunately, his daughter wasn’t on the same side as him. But lo and behold, the problem was solved another way. His daughter said she will gladly settle the old man’s heavy debts.

Moral lesson: Ask for help if you need it. Sometimes, an easy and better solution to your problems is within your reach. All you need to do is ask.

The twins who are different

Sam and Tom are identical twins. But while they looked like each other, they were polar opposites when it comes to their personalities.

On one hand, there’s Sam — humble, smart, and always ready with a plan. Then there’s Tom — arrogant, overconfident, and entitled.

One day, their father asked to speak to them. Their old man said he’s about to leave them a fortune. He also informed them he organized a competition between them to determine who gets the bigger portion of his money. 

“You must walk to my house and 

Get there before sunset. 

Whoever arrives there first 

Is the winner and gets more money.” 

After his father left, Sam strategized. He accepted that Tom is in a better physical condition. He knew that based on this fact alone, he couldn’t beat his twin. But as a humble and smart man, he didn’t leave things to chance and made a plan. 

He calculated how long he had to walk and arrive at his father’s house at a specific time. And based on his calculations, he learned there’s only one way to beat his twin and win his father’s challenge. That is to leave his own house early and start walking to the destination.

Tom, on the other hand, played things differently. He believes his excellent physical condition is enough to win. As an arrogant, overconfident, and entitled man, he feels he’s a shoo-in. He believes winning is his birthright and there’s no need to think things through. 

From his perspective, he has what it takes to win the competition. Unfortunately, though, he’s wrong.

Sam won the challenge because of his invested effort and time into creating a plan. Unlike his twin, he carried enough confidence in his abilities. He acknowledged his weaknesses and knew how to enter the competition as a strong opponent.

Moral lesson: There is no guarantee you’ll always win in life. Only if you invest personal resources in an undertaking will you have a great shot at winning.

The wise man, little boy, and secret to success

In a small town, there lived a wise man known for immeasurable success. Because of his prominent and admirable reputation, everyone looked up to him. Everyone wanted to have all the great things he has.

One day, a little boy approached him. He was so curious and eager to learn.

“What’s the secret to success?” asked the boy.

“I’ll tell you if you meet me every morning of this week by the river,” the man replied.

“I can’t. I have school in the mornings.”

“Okay. But that’s the only time I can tell you the secret,” the man said and left the boy to think.

The next morning, and the mornings after that day, the boy didn’t show up at the river. The wise man was disappointed. But a part of him knew it would happen.

Months later, the wise man and the boy crossed paths again. And again, the boy approached him.

“Why couldn’t you simply reveal the secret to success?” the boy asked.

“Boy, success goes both ways. If you’ve done what I asked, I would have done what you asked.”

Moral lesson: Appreciate the help that people are offering you. Remember that it’s not their obligation to be there for you. If you expect them to go out of their way for you, you should go out of your way for them, too.

Motivational stories

The greedy mouse

Once upon a time, a mouse saw a basket full of corn in a basement. He was in bliss, considering his mealtime was already taken care of. He also viewed it as an opportunity to carve a better life for himself.

So after eating corn, he created small holes at the bottom of the basket for the corn to fall down. When the corn fell, he caught them in a container — and made sure he had enough supply to last him a lifetime.

He didn’t stop at this point, though. He decided to eat more corn, too. He ate so much of it until he fell asleep.

A few hours later, he heard cats enter the basement. There were many of them, and one can sense him easily.

So he decided to flee. And while he tried his best to escape, he found himself almost paralyzed. Because he ate too much corn, he can barely run — let alone move.

The result? The cats ate his lifetime supply of corn, and they ate him, too.

Moral lesson: When opportunity knocks on your door, answer and appreciate it. Don’t be greedy and take advantage of it.

The still frog

The still frogPin

This is a short inspirational story about a frog that fell on the boiling water inside his cage. 

He became uncomfortable. But he chose to stay still. 

Instead of jumping, he waited for the temperature to reverse itself. And instead of trying to ask for help or find a solution, he crossed his fingers for conditions to become favorable to him.

Shortly after, he couldn’t bear the heat. And he died in the process.

Moral lesson: Be proactive. You have the power to control everything in front of you. If you don’t like how your life is going, change it.

Three feet from gold

A man attempted to go on a rewarding journey. His goal is to retrieve gold buried under a huge rock. And his objective is to dig his way through to find the treasure.

For days, he did what is required to get the loot. When he started, he was so excited. He may have gotten tired every now and then. But back then, his eye was on getting the treasure.  

Getting the treasure was his goal. And he could picture himself accomplishing it. Whenever he got tired, he just rested and continued digging the next morning.

Weeks later, though, he proclaimed that he’s done. All the digging seemed pointless to him, and he gave in to his exhaustion.

“I’ve had enough of this. I don’t want to continue,” he said.

What he didn’t know was, he was close to the gold. He couldn’t see it. But if he continued digging and showed the same level of energy when he started, his efforts wouldn’t have gone to waste. He was only three feet away from the gold!

A day or two more and he would have gotten his treasure and accomplished his goal. But since he succumbed to exhaustion and chose to quit his journey, he stopped making an effort. 

Right then and there, he gave it all up. He even sold all his machinery and swore he’d never dig for gold again.

Moral lesson: Persevere, work hard, and be mentally tough when you chase after your goals. Great things don’t usually come to you overnight. If you won’t give up easily, your goals are within your reach.

The elephant’s chain

The elephant's chainPin

Thailand is a place famous for giving elephant rides to tourists. And in one location, when one tourist lined up for his turn to ride on one of the elephants, he noticed most of these massive elephants chained to an empty water bottle.

At the sight of it, he reacted normally. Like anyone with common sense would do, he panicked. The bottle couldn’t possibly contain the size and weight of the animal. It could easily escape and run after him and his fellow tourists.

So he approached the person in charge of the elephants, and he told him about his concern. This is the caretaker’s response:

“The elephants here have an ability called ‘learned helplessness’. This phenomenon occurs when someone has been conditioned to anticipate discomfort without knowing why or how to stop them. This is a common approach to controlling them,” the caretaker explained.

“In this case, we have conditioned the elephants to feel helpless whenever they’re chained to an item. In reality, though, they’re not helpless. It’s all in their state of mind. And so they don’t even try to break free from the chain even if they can easily escape from it,” he added.

The tourist was left speechless. He’s satisfied with the caretaker’s response. But something about the situation doesn’t feel right to him and he doesn’t want to ride a powerless elephant anymore. So without saying a word, he walked away.

Moral lesson: Give up limiting opinions and unlearn toxic habits. It can be uncomfortable to free yourself from the things you’ve been taught all your life. Sometimes, though, it’s the only way.

Final thoughts

There’s no denying life can be tough sometimes. At some point, you may even feel worthless about your life. But no matter what, do your best to remain strong. And remember, you can always turn to these inspirational short stories. 

They could help you feel less lonely, and remind you you’re never alone in your struggles. They could also spark an idea or change your mind. 

Either way, these inspirational and motivational stories will bring you a different — and maybe even better — perspective. And if you use this new perspective, you can change your life for the better.

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