“My own heroes are the dreamers, those men and women who tried to make the world a better place than when they found it, whether in small ways or great ones. Some succeeded, some failed, most had mixed results… but it is the effort that’s heroic, as I see it.”
– George R. R. Martin
There are those who choose to go off the deep end and vouch completely and irrevocably for their dreams . For these dreamers, we have lots of respect, we admire them and in many ways feel inspired by them. These are the people led and driven by purpose and Passion. Passion and Purpose power the hard work, determination, and creativity that make great accomplishments possible. Successful novelists, film directors, scientists, CEOs, world-class athletes, and other people who have risen to the tops of their fields all possess a deep motivation that gives them the wherewithal to work extraordinarily hard at something even when it’s uncertain how, when, and even if they will enjoy rewards for their efforts.
Passion and Purpose inspire others to join and identify with your vision. No one has ever been inspired by a leader who is not passionate and Purposeful. Passion and Purpose– and alternatively, the lack of passion and Purpose! – is contagious. If you want to have a passionate, purposeful inspired vision, it begins with you.
Here is a short list of people that have I have read or watched about their passion in what they do, they have allowed to challenge the status quo to create a new dialogue.
Eva Zu Beck
Eva Zu Beck has built a life so many hope for when they quit their jobs to travel the world. After five years at the start-up media company, Culture Trip, in London, the Polish native gave two weeks notice, and headed to Asia. She first arrived in Pakistan in April of 2018 for two weeks, but returned again in June, and has stayed put ever since.
Motivated to break into the predominately white, middle-aged male travel industry, Eva sought to make a name for herself as a travel vlogger. Instead, she was given one when a Pakistani follower made a mash up of her videos in the country that went viral. Several months later, “Eva Who Loves Pakistan” went viral once again. Now, nine months later, Eva is championed by her strong following for changing the way foreigners view Pakistan through promotion of positive content. In her adopted home, she is hosting a travel documentary, producing her own travel show, and promoting sustainable tourism in Pakistan.
Eva mostly travels to the countries that are underrepresented by mainstream media. She has been a solo travel vlogger for almost 2 years, visiting places that aren’t seen as travel destinations like Pakistan, Yemen and Syria. I just appreciate her strong spirit, she reminds us that we all have more potential in us than we think.
Chetna Gala Sinha
Chetna’s work supports the ordinary women doing extraordinary things in their lives. An activist, farmer, and banker, her career was inspired by a woman named Kantabai who worked as a black smith on the street, but was denied access to a bank account as her daily savings of five cents was deemed too little. Chetna was inspired by this story to set up the Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank in 1997, which came to be India’s first bank for rural women. After struggling to get a licence due to many of the women being illiterate, she simply responded: “We may not be able to read and write, but we can count.” Needless to say, they were given the licence. She has since developed a doorstep banking system using thumb prints instead of pin numbers, protecting the women’s money from theft.
Nick Vujicic was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs. His videos on YouTube have inspired millions and millions of people with his message to love life and live without limits. He was tormented to such an extent that at the age of 10 he attempted suicide. After years of feeling alone and worthless, he had an epiphany one day while reading an article.
He read about a disabled man who refused to let physical limitations dictate his life. At that moment, Nick says, he realized he had the ability to take control of his life. Instead of looking at everything he lacked, he decided to look at everything he could have. Now a famous author and international speaker, Nick inspires the world everyday to live a life without limits. His message is brilliantly sobering and electric.
Perry had a rough childhood. He was physically and sexually abused growing up, got kicked out of high school, and tried to commit suicide twice—once as a preteen and again at 22. At 23 he moved to Atlanta and took up odd jobs as he started working on his stage career.
In 1992 he wrote, produced, and starred in his first theater production, I Know I’ve Been Changed, somewhat informed by his difficult upbringing. Perry put all his savings into the show and it failed miserably; the run lasted just one weekend and only 30 people came to watch. He kept up with the production, working more odd jobs and often slept in his car to get by. Six years later, Perry finally broke through when, on its seventh run, the show became a success. He’s since gone on to have an extremely successful career as a director, writer, and actor. In fact, Perry was named Forbes’ highest paid man in entertainment in 2011.
Freweini Mebrahtu is an Ethiopian chemical engineer who designed and patented a reusable menstrual pad and founded the Mariam Seba Sanitary Products factory where these are manufactured. For her work and efforts towards period equity in Ethiopia, she has been named a 2019 CNN Hero.
Mebrahtu has teamed up with the nonprofit, Dignity Period, to end the stigma around the issue by speaking at schools and teaching girls and boys that menstruation is natural, not shameful.
“The whole goal was not only making the pads, but also attacking the cultural baggage to it,” she said.
Dignity Period has distributed more than 150,000 free menstrual hygiene kits purchased from Mebrahtu’s factory. Data gathered by the group shows that schools visited by Dignity Period had a 24% increase in attendance among girls.
Mebrahtu’s motivation came from personal experience. She is quoted on the Dignity Period website as saying, “I will never forget the experience of having my first period as an adolescent girl. I was shocked and confused. My mother and my four sisters had not told me anything about periods. With all the myths and misinformation, I wanted to hide so that no one would know what was happening. I was confused, depressed and isolated until my friends and I realised we were all experiencing the same thing.
“We would use pieces of old clothing as pads and make sure to bring large scarves to cover ourselves if we stained our clothes by accident. The other challenges were irregular periods, cramps and all the questions that I wanted someone to answer but never dared to ask.”
In 2005 Mebrahtu developed a reusable pad, which she successfully piloted in Mek’ele, the northern region of Ethiopia, before she proceeded to patent it in 2006 with the Ministry of Science and Technology.
In 2009 she received a loan from the Development Bank of Ethiopia for US$150 000, which she used to build a factory on 1 500 square metres of land. According to CNN, the factory currently employs 42 local women and produces 600 000 sanitary pads and 300 000 pairs of underwear per year. More than 80% of the pads she manufactures are sold to non-governmental organisations that distribute them for free.
Mozart fell ill with smallpox when he was 11 years old, an illness that required several weeks of rest for recovery. The young composer used the down time of his convalescence to pick up a new hobby: card tricks. A local chaplain visited the sick boy and taught him a slew of card tricks that the composer later used to delight his friends.
Kenidra Woods‘s vulnerability is authentic. She has a pure, gentle rawness that has granted her a loyal following since she began advocating for mental health when she was 13 years old. Now, at 19 years old, she has created a meaningful impact online through multiple awareness events and support initiatives regarding mental health, and with the support of her peers, fellow students and friends.
In an effort to address today’s gun violence epidemic, Woods created the Hope for Humanity Project: National Rally for Peace, a St. Louis–based event to connect and empower students of all backgrounds and creeds to “choose love over hate.” https://d-19146669132965806830.ampproject.net/2012232217000/frame.html
The teenage blogger also created the CHEETAH movement to help other victims of sexual abuse. The powerful acronym stands for confidence, harmony, enlightenment, encouragement, tranquility, awareness and hope. Through CHEETAH, Woods intends to prevent suicide by replacing hurt and shame with unconditional self-love and unwavering confidence.
Woods, who wrote a memoir called “A Heart of Hope,” continues to take the world by storm with her mission to educate, inspire, save and change lives through awareness of mental health stigma.
Malala Yousafzai, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 after surviving a terrorist attack, is currently 21 and studying at Oxford. But in her off time, she’s appearing on David Letterman’s Netflix show, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,”shocking us all by explaining that she forgives her attackers, and casually writing her third book, “We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World,” which was published in January 2019.
“I forgive them because that’s the best revenge I can have,” she told Letterman. It’s a lesson we all can keep in mind.
Burke originally started the #MeToo movement over a decade ago, to expose how widespread sexual assault is and to show survivors that they aren’t alone. When Alyssa Milano encouraged her followers to respond to her tweet with “Me too,” in October 2017, she revitalized the movement again.
Since then, dozens of people have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct, the movement took over Hollywood, and Burke has become a feminist hero. High profile Hollywood figures were criticized worldwide after allegations, including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Matt Lauer, all thanks to a movement Burke created.
Almost everyone Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, a retired professional wrestler and a Hollywood star. Dwayne Johnson was voted the World’s Sexiest Man Alive in 2016 and was ranked by Forbes as Hollywood’s highest paid actor in 2017.
Despite the massive success he has achieved, Dwayne Johnson’s journey to success was not easy. He only got there through sheer persistence and determination. There were several instances that could have derailed Johnson off his path, but they didn’t.
As a teenager, Johnson got interested in football and joined his high school football team. Being from a family that was not very well off financially, Johnson saw football as the vehicle that would get him and his family out of poverty.
He focused on football, and even got a football scholarship to the University of Miami. All was going well and he was primed to get drafted into the NFL. However, an injury saw him replaced from his college football time by Warren Sapp, who ended becoming an NFL star.
The injury killed all his dreams of playing in the NFL. Still determined to make it as a pro footballer, Johnson was drafted by the Calgary Stampeders in Canada. Unfortunately, his career as a pro footballer was not meant to be.
A few months later, he was let go by the Stampeders, and his dream of being a professional footballer was crushed. The pain of seeing his dream get crushed almost gotJohnson into depression.
After thinking hard about his life, he decided that the end of a football career was not the end of his life. He left the gridiron and decided to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather by becoming a pro wrestler.
Through a lot of hard work and determination, his efforts finally paid off, and he saw massive success in the ring. He then leveraged his success in the ring to catapult himself to the big screen.
The rest, as they say, is history. Despite failing and seeing his dreams shattered, Johnson never gave up. Instead, he simply rethought his plan and continued chasing the success he so much wanted.
You might know Maya Angelou as one of the most renowned literary artists in the world, and she is just that. Maya Angelou’s childhood was in no way close to what a memorable childhood would look like. It wasn’t full of swing sets, playing make believe, and it surely wasn’t full of birthdays spent with loved ones surrounding her as she blew out her candles and opened each and every one of her presents. Instead, her childhood was filled with scars that perhaps made her strong and her story the inspiring one we know of today.
Born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, Maya then was named Marguerite Annie Johnson. Her mother worked as a nurse and realtor, while her father worked as a dietician, and she had a brother named Bailey. When she was 3 years old, her parents got divorced, sending Maya and Bailey to be taken under the care of their grandmother in Arkansas. Because Arkansas was a racially divided society back in the day, Maya experienced first-hand racism and prejudices against her just because she was of African American descent.
When she was 7 years old, she paid a visit to her mother back in St. Louis, where she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. She spoke up about what the man did to her, and as revenge, Maya’s uncles killed her rapist. Suffering from trauma because of the experience, and feeling like she had caused the man’s death, Maya spent her next five years not uttering a single word.
Despite all of these, Maya was able to overcome her tragic childhood. Her career was characterized by multiple achievements in the literary and drama world, with Maya first entering the stage as an actress in Porgy and Bess and then venturing into more plays later on. In 1969, she released her first autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” telling the story of her childhood and how she regained her self-esteem. Through Maya, we learn that being strong is a choice, and that your past does not define you can be.
Two of the greatest storytellers of all-time, J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, said that stories have a special power—a healing power. It’s easy to get caught up in the struggles of everyday life. As our problems pile up, we forget that there is hope and help available to us. Yet when we enter the imaginary world of a story, it’s like we are healed of a sickness. The stories like the ones shared here above inspire courage, they tell us about not allowing obstacles to stop us; the through their stories of being change makers in their worlds(or at least part of it) makes our real-life problems seem smaller. It reminds us that we too can become change makers in our worlds.
My friend, we all must have a purpose in our life, otherwise we shrivel and die. Consider what it is you love to do or enjoy participating in and start. Whether it’s simply taking a walk along the beach or indulging at your favourite restaurant with a close friend, we must fuel our fire with the people and things that matter. Dr Phillip also notes that those in or nearing retirement will likely have more time to rekindle old passions and interests, or possibly find new ones.
If you loved playing football in younger days, join a touch football team, indoor soccer team or similar. Learn to surf or fish or start bushwalking to enjoy nature – all the things you likely did not have time to enjoy while working. Regardless of what fuels our fire, we must have a purpose to get up and keep going each and every day.
Remember why you took the job when you started. Put yourself back in your shoes on the day that you took this job. What brought a smile to your face on the first day of work? What did you set out to accomplish when you took this job? What have you achieved in your time in this position? What more can you learn from this role?