Sometimes, you meet people that inspire you. They inspire you to be better, to do better to achieve more. Today, I want to tell you about some amazing people I’ve met throughout my life and that have inspired me, so they might inspire you as well through the stories of their lives. I won’t mention the (real) names of these inspirational people mentioned for their privacy, except for famous people.
The tour guide
I’ll start with a man I met on a holiday I took with my parents. We went to South-Africa when I was 13 years old. The man I’m talking about was our tour guide throughout the entire trip. Every day, when the day was done, he’d read us a South African love poem. He also ran an orphanage through a trust and if travellers like us wanted to help, we’d get the supplies there if necessary. He also took fruits and money to poor families on our trip. This is inspiring in itself, but that wasn’t the entire story.
As you might know, there’s still a lot of racism in South-Africa and he was no exception. He said so many racist things that my innocent, 13 years old ears were shocked. However, the families he helped had all skin colours, he made no exception. This taught me so much about the nature of racism. You can be racist in a broad sense, but still treat individuals fairly. Although it’s still not a good thing, it’s a first step towards fair treatment. It made me understand racism better, from how it arises to how it can possibly be resolved in some way.
In addition, he showed me what strength looks like. Half-way through the trip, we learned the man had cancer. He even was rushed to the hospital one evening, where he got some medications to keep him up and running. The next day, he acted like nothing ever happened and worked the entire day. I still can’t believe how he got through the day like that. Whenever i feel tired or ‘not fit’ I try to think back about the level of dedication he had for the job and it inspires me still.
A good neighbour
The other person I wanted to talk about was someone very dear to me. He was my neighbour. We, my family and me, barely knew him until he got cancer. We started bringing him and his wife dinner multiple nights a week and helping them whenever we could. That’s when I got to know him. He was the kind of person that could transport you with his wild stories and even wilder plans. The kind of person that would always tell you what was on his mind, good and bad.
He was always really worried I was too vulnerable for the opinions of others and therefore, helped me to be more resilient and independent. Thanks to him, I learned to believe in myself, to fight for my ideas and ideals. He loved life and in my darkest hour, he taught me to see the pretty things in life as well. He helped my mom to pick out a camera and photography is one of the most important remedies I have. I still owe him for this to this day. He helped me see that life always has a silver lining.
Although there are many people in the history of the world who’ve done great things, I find Nelson Mandela one of the most inspiring people that have ever lived. I never knew much about South Africa before, except for a general idea about ‘Apartheid’. However, when I dove into his story, I found something remarkable.
I see myself as an overall nice person. I will forgive people for a lot of things, maybe even too much. However, when a certain line is crossed, i’m done. And when you hurt the people I love, I turn vengeful. It’s definitely not my prettiest quality, but I can’t deny it’s there. That’s why I find the story of Nelson Mandela so inspiring. His people were tormented for years, treated like less than human beings, simply because of the colour of their skin. Although I agree that vengeance would be wrong, I almost can’t imagine not wanting to hurt back the people that hurt you, especially the people that imprisoned him. I do understand that also he did things that aren’t so admirable (that’s what happens in revolutions), but I think that in general, he chose the honest and rightful path. It’s good to hear a story every once in a while where power didn’t corrupt for once.
In my eyes, the people of 1500 had Leonardo da Vinci and we have Stephen Fry. He knows history, humour, mental health and much more. However, I especially respect his way of debating. When you’re as knowledgable as he is, I think it’s really easy to become arrogant, especially when debating with people less learned. However, Stephen Fry has a wonderful way of phrasing his arguments in a way that doesn’t offend people with different opinions. Although I see pretty much eye to eye with him on most topics, I find the open way of communicating his ideas beautiful. Instead of trying to prove opponents wrong or shaming them, he always tries to find some middle ground.
I also believe that he has helped many people in their struggle with mental health issues. Personally, I find it comforting to know that someone that knowledgable and well-spoken can also struggle with these things and that he finds ways to overcome them. Although I wish he didn’t have these problems for his own sake, I think having someone like him as a mental health advocate is a great help for others.
What they’ve got in common
All different people, all different stories. But what are the commonalities? What makes these people so impactful? I think it’s their characters. All had/have very strong personalities and they did/do everything they could to achieve their goals, without actually harming others in the process. They fight for what they believe in, without taking their frustrations out on people that don’t deserve it.
So take that with you the next time you want to get through to people. You have to fight for the things you believe in and that isn’t always nice or easy, but you won’t get it any other way. However, you should not do everything it takes, you shouldn’t drag others down for your happiness. Sure, nice girls won’t get the corner office, but bitches won’t truly be remembered. There’s a way in between those options.
Lots of love,
LisaHome » Mind »