How to Inspire

This week, I received a very great and unexpected compliment from a friend.  She said I inspire her.  What a wonderful thing to say.  I aspire to being somebody that inspires, but I feel I have a very long way to go.  I say that because the people that have inspired me, or who continue to inspire me, do many more inspirational things than I do.

I thought it would be fun to write down some of the characteristics of the people that inspire me most.  It’s a personal list, so feel free to dispute or add to it.  These thoughts are written down in a stream of consciousness style, not in any particular order and not well structured, but sometimes that’s a good way to do a brain dump.  I came up with around sixty things that inspire me, when I see them in a person.

The people that inspire me most:

  • Are creative, charismatic, likeable, kind, merciful and peaceful (mostly)
  • Believe in the future more than they believe in the perfection of the present, but learn from the past
  • Don’t say, “that’s Utopian – we’ll never get there”
  • Get on with it and change things
  • Are original, and have lucid ideas, which they demonstrate through their actions
  • Exhibit high levels of courage and openness
  • Live lives marked by random (or carefully planned) acts of kindness and generosity
  • Embark upon spectacular, seemingly impossible projects that they’re only going to be capable of achieving if they grow
  • Never try to cheat, lie and deceive, or to hoodwink others, for personal advantage
  • Are willing to change their minds in the light of new evidence
  • Are not judgemental and always very encouraging
  • Are primarily involved in their art and work, not their wealth and lifestyle
  • Act like they have nothing to lose, even when they have everything to lose
  • Speak out against injustice, prejudice, ignorance and violence
  • Have a twinkle in their eye
  • Have so much enthusiasm and passion, it shows that they absolutely love what they do and it’s infectious
  • Show you what is possible, even for you
  • Give you the idea that you can do it too
  • Happily acknowledge the contribution of others to their success
  • Produce things that are genuinely amazing and marvellous that you have never experienced before
  • Wear their genius lightly
  • Are comfortable showing their vulnerability, acknowledging when they are down or lost, but they keep getting back up
  • Have seen and known hard times, so they have great empathy with others going through the same thing
  • Exhibit tremendous heart and have very good hearts
  • Make you realise that there is a lot of subtle thinking going on behind every one of their seemingly facile productions
  • Never take their gifts for granted or believe those gifts cannot be improved upon
  • Take the view that if they don’t do it, nobody else is likely to
  • Have a quiet confidence in their ability to achieve their goals
  • Have an approach and make a contribution that is utterly unique
  • Are awake and can see through the veil of illusions and are prepared to show others the way
  • Are not complacent and distance themselves from complacent people who deride others for not being just as complacent
  • Are way seers
  • Are reliable guides
  • Laugh good naturedly and have fun
  • Don’t brook lies, manipulation, propaganda, nonsense, blind faith, mysticism or woolly thinking
  • Are sensualist aesthetes
  • Look for all the reasons that something will work, not all the reasons why it won’t
  • Have integrity and authenticity, all the way to the core
  • Constantly show that better is possible – they are visionary
  • Love humanity, despite its flaws
  • Actively seek to inspire others and help them believe in themselves.  They encourage, edify and enlighten
  • Are imaginative, inventive, innovative
  • Tell a good story about their vision for better and connect people to this larger story
  • Set the agenda, the tempo and the pace for a compelling course of action
  • Listen and pay attention
  • Rise above the babble, distraction and frenzy to focus on what matters most – they are big picture thinkers
  • Are interested in making a better world for all, not just for themselves and definitely never at the expense of others
  • Acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses, but always try to play to their strengths and minimise the effects of their weaknesses
  • Consider carefully the consequences of their actions and words
  • Do whatever they do to the best of their ability, always
  • Spend a lot of time learning; so that they know things in depth.  When information is abundant, ignorance is a choice, complacency is a sin.
  • Do pretty much everything they do with love
  • Are appreciative and grateful – openly, unselfconsciously and sincerely
  • Are passionately playful
  • Dare greatly, in the words of Brené Brown
  • Are sincere to their very marrow, even if flawed
  • Teach you things you didn’t know, often in fields of learning you know nothing about
  • Are awake to the deceptions that are everywhere in our lives and seek to awaken others
  • Know that everything about themselves and everything they do is enough, but still want to do and be more
  • Are people you wish you knew better

About tropicaltheartist

You can find out more about me here: There aren’t many people that exist in that conjunction of art, design, science and engineering, but this is where I live. I am an artist, a musician, a designer, a creator, a scientist, a technologist, an innovator and an engineer and I have a genuine, deep passion for each field. Most importantly, I am able to see the connections and similarities between each field of intellectual endeavour and apply the lessons I learn in one discipline to my other disciplines. To me, they are all part of the same continuum of creativity. I write about what I know, through my blogs, in the hope that something I write will resonate with a reader and help them enjoy their own creative life more fully. I am, in summary, a highly creative individual, but with the ability to get things done efficiently. Not all of these skills are valued by the world at large, but I am who I am and this is me. The opinions stated here are my own and not necessarily the opinion or position of my employer.
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4 Responses to How to Inspire

  1. susangeckle says:

    This is a terrific list. I like the one about starting on a big project and knowing they’ll have to grow with the project to get there.
    I’d like to add the word graceful to the list. I have a co-worker who gets so much down but has a zen-like, effortless sense of grace to tasks that would frustrate me and leave me pulling my hair out. You’d think she just spent the day surfing on a beautiful beach when she was really in dreadful office meetings all day.

  2. maedez says:

    What an extraordinary list!

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