“You are such an inspiration!”
“You inspire us! We are proud of you!”
“You are really inspiring!”
We easily blurt those out every time we see an inspirational icon, we hear a great achievement, or when we hear an inspiring story. You know, like those typical rags-to-riches Cinderella story... winning against all odds... an impossible feat accomplished... or a David slaying his personal Goliath.
Easily, we are inspired and there’s nothing wrong with that... but what do we make of that inspiration?
How many of us can really raise our hands and claim, “I’ve succeeded because I am inspired by this person?” Or say, “I’ve changed after hearing that story.”
Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, Nick Vujicic of Life Without Limits, CNN Hero Efren Peñaflorida and his Kariton project, the drug dependent and convicted criminal who turned over a new leaf and is now an evangelist of God, the handicapped father who singlehandedly raised his children until they finished college, or the orphan who refused to go the way of the street children but instead helped and pushed himself until he succeeded against all odds. The list could go on, and each one not lacking in awe-inspiring details.
Thus, they inspire us.
This is the inner grouch in me talking. When we say, “You are an inspiration.” Are we really inspired or are we just acknowledging that person’s achievement? When the tears dried up after being touched by a person and his/her inspiring story, do we stand up and work on that inspiration? Do we dare say to ourselves, “Yes, just like them I can do it!” and then, ACTUALLY do it?
Or just like any feel-good movie – after going out of the movie house we are thrown back into the reality of life and we begin cursing the traffic, cursing the guy who cut us in line, cursing our bosses and co-workers, cursing those who took advantage of us and those who refused to help us, and sometimes even cursing ourselves. As we go back to real life and realize how hard life has been for us, we are once again filled with wishes and “if only.”
Until another form of inspiration strikes us again.
When we say, “You are an inspiration!” we are more than just acknowledging that person’s achievement, because the other part of the statement is we are also acknowledging that the person and his/her story touched our lives. And there’s no better affirmation for that person, that he/she is indeed an inspiration, than to see us actually make something of that inspiration and use it to improve our own lives.
Yes, be inspired... but then, work on that inspiration. Let us use it to fuel our dreams.