Everyone is inspired by someone or
something over the course of their lifetimes. Some may classify people that
inspire them as being heroes and they can be presidents, sports figures,
Hollywood stars, politicians, or simply mom and dad. But I probably have a much
different view than most on inspirational people. I do not view politicians, TV
or movie stars, singers, or sports figures as inspirational people. Yes, many
may have a compelling life story of beating poverty to make it big. However,
each of these individuals has a God given talent that they were able to mold
into success. For instance, President Obama has a compelling life story, but he
never inspired me. He is a gifted and talented orator, and although I wish I had
his public speaking skills, this is not inspirational to me. Everyone has a
talent, but it is a mystery as to why so few talents are viewed as
inspirational. I am not fast enough to excel in sports. I cannot sing, act, or
speak publically. But I have other talents that people who play sports or act
in movies do not have.
Business leaders also fail to
inspire me because I have seen how employees climb the corporate ladder. They
do what is best for them and not what is best for the company. My experience
has found that most companies are profitable despite their leadership. Even
those innovative people that invented many of the items we use in our daily
lives fail to inspire me. Many, like the sports superstars and Hollywood stars,
are egomaniacs. Is Bono great because he donates millions to charity? Some
think so, but he has lots of money and anyone else in his shoes would do the
same thing. So that is not inspirational.
Like everyone I have favorite
actors, actresses, singers, football players, politicians, corporate leaders,
and so forth. However, many of my favorite performers are not the superstars; they
are the more obscure performers who generally do not have as many character
flaws as the superstars. My favorite New York Giant is not the superstar that
is grossly overpaid, but the guy that has less ability and plays his heart out
and does anything (including playing special teams) to help the team win. Chase
Blackburn and Dave Tollefson are two examples of guys who make the NY Giants’
roster each year, even when the team drafts guys to supplant them. My favorite
politician is currently Paul Ryan and as a kid my favorite politician was NYC
Mayor Ed Koch. Both Ryan and Koch have never held high profile positions such
as governor or senator.
In many aspects, those who inspired
me did so in a negative way. My stepfather was abusive, my parents were
alcoholics, and teachers told me my IQ was too low to go to college. They
inspired me to go to college, quit drinking, and be a good husband. I never
liked people telling me what I could not do and if someone did, I was inspired
to prove them wrong.
So who inspired me in a positive
way? I had good teachers and bosses, but their impact on my life was never
overwhelmingly inspirational. Even religious encounters impacted me negatively.
No, I find inspiration in thousands of ordinary people I meet. The young fellow
who installed our pellet stove who works three jobs inspires me. He has no
healthcare, but he will not accept any government handouts, such as food
stamps, even though he qualifies for the program. This inspires me to be a
better person. Every person that has a disability and does not let that stop
them from achieving their goals inspires me immensely. Every person that serves
in our military that has put their life on the line inspires me. I am inspired
by millions of people that achieve success even though they may not have a
special talent that others deem as inspirational. These are the people that
inspire me to want to inspire others.
America has it all wrong – we put
the wrong people on pedestals. Instead of honoring superstar actors, actresses,
sports figures, politicians, and corporate millionaires; we should honor the
common man that overcomes disabilities to make a positive impact on society. These
are the people that are inspirational.
So who inspires you?
My Book: Is America Dying?
(Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble)