Who Inspires You

Who has inspired you in your life and why?

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Your question made me stop and think. I can't truthfully say that any live person ever inspired me, although there were a few tried to influence me, and a few who brought me down. I have been inspired throughout my life by great writers and great composers. I can still get inspired by reading passages from writers like Arthur Schopenhauer, Marcel Proust, Leo Tolstoy, Henry James, and William Faulkner. But I don't seem to feel much need for outside inspiration any more. I think your own unconscious can be the source of the greatest inspiration, whereas outsiders may only inspire you to imitate them.

It’s not when you realize that nothing can help you-religion, pride, anything—it’s when you realize that you don’t need any aid.

                                                               William Faulkner

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My grandmother on my father's side is the person who inspired me more than anyone. She thought I could do no wrong, and I have taken the confidence she inspired in me throughout my life. I can remember her explaining to me why we made the beds first thing every day when I stayed at her house: "What if Jesus were to come visiting?" I hope to be the kind of grandmother to my future grandchildren that my Grandma was to me.

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My three daughters inspire me because somehow, in this day and age, when girls are pulled a thousand different directions about who they are and who they should be—these young ladies have managed to find and retain their own true identities despire what everyone else is doing.

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I think that a person needs grand idealized role models, as well as individuals whom one knows well in order to have a really constructive font of beneficial inspiration in life.

Along those lines, I have been inspired first and foremost by my family members, both in the way in which they carry themselves and in the way they have conducted themselves through a number of tragedies we have shared.

Beyond this, I have always been inspired by two great Americans: Ben Franklin and Abe Lincoln. Both were self-made men, great successes both publically and privately and men of more depth than the tycoon who comes from nothing.

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I would say that my grandfather most inspired me as I was growing up. He was a man who had gone through many struggles with his health from a relatively young age and continued to have a positive outlook on life.

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I turned 12 in 1968, and went from an elementary school to a combination junior/senior high school. All of a sudden, I went from a protected, child-like existence to one in which the boys who were not going to college the next year were probably going to Vietnam. My inspiration was an entire generation of people 5-15 years older than myself, who were changing everything I saw around me--civil rights, women's rights, anti-war, and ecological awareness, all thrown at me at once. I changed into someone my parents did not know how to deal with at first, and it was definitely a good thing. Always question the status quo!

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I do not think any one person inspired me greatly.  My parents, of course, helped me want to make something of myself, but the did not inspire me in the sense that I looked at them and said "Because of you, I want to do X."

More recently, my children inspire me to want to be as good of a role model for them as I can possibly be.  At the moment, I think they are a major source of inspiration for me.

But overall, I get inspiration from a desire to be the best I can be, not from a desire to emulate someone else.

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In searching for inspiration, I would pose that someone who inspires is someone who has the ability to articulate what can be as opposed to what is.  When I examine the figures of inspiration in my own life, I am struck by their ability to articulate and envision a world of what can be in contrast to what is.  I think that inspirational figures can expand an individual's moral imagination and capacity for what can be done.  For figures of inspiration, I would search for individuals like this, figures that can expand one's abilities and capacity for greatness in all forms.

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