Sunday, 11 September 2016

Be The Inspiration

Are you one of them? Do you know one of them?

You know what I’m talking about. The countless people who have dashed their dreams and abandoned their ambitions because life has dealt them a tough hand. Awful things have perhaps happened. Debt, domestic violence or disability. Crises such as relationship break-up or unemployment. Long-term or serious illness. Loss, abuse or addiction. 

Or perhaps life’s constant challenges have worn them down. Workplace change, rejection, economic turndown.

Do you ever pause to think though, what a loss of human potential this means? People who wanted to achieve great things now perhaps lack the physical ability to undertake them. Or they’re pre-occupied with financial worries or haunted by terrible past experiences which limit their ability to function. Their confidence has gone and they are full of fear about the future.

Dreams of sporting achievement, of starting a business or academic attainment have now disappeared. Their skills are depleted and their performance has deteriorated.

What’s to be done?

Fortunately, there are many people in similar situations who can provide us with answers. People who have raised huge amounts for charity while being treated for cancer[1] or become advocates for others after suffering terrible abuse. People who despite all manner of knockdowns pick themselves up and risk the next one. There are people who refuse to take no for an answer as they campaign for justice - and despite the continuing injustices perpetrated on them[2]. I’ve got friends, family and neighbours who perform minor miracles in spite of their disabilities[3] or have become pillars of their community despite sometimes not wanting to leave the house. I’m talking about people who still manage to get up in the morning when no one else knows how they do it. People who always seem to exude positivity in spite of all they’ve been through[4].

Perhaps more than the gold medal winning athletes who perform at a level quite beyond us, surely it is these everyday heroes who can be the inspiration for the rest of us (and for those who are finding it hard to pick themselves up from the canvas).

What if they who have not yet made friends with misfortune could re-discover their ambitions and dreams? What if they were able to perceive new opportunities and aspirations because of their troubles?

Could they make an ally of adversity if they had new tools, an awareness of their inner resources and perhaps a community of people who could support them? What if they could develop a renewed confidence and a belief that they can achieve, not just despite their experiences, but because of them? What if they came to realise that they can still make a difference and more than that, can be an inspiration?

What if they could go beyond coping strategies and getting by and could create meaning and purpose in their lives through their achievements and inspiring those around them?

What if?

 photo credit: <a href="">Pakistan's Punjab must enforce new law on violence against women: rights group</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>
 photo credit: <a href="">Run For The 96 5k</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

[1] Stephen Sutton who raised £3.2m for charity in four years after being diagnosed with terminal cancer aged 15.

[2] The families of those who perished in the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 fall into this category. Despite years of the authorities blaming them and the obstacles put in their way, at last justice is beginning to be done. See Phil Scraton’s excellent account in the updated version of “Hillsborough – The Truth” available from Mainstream Publishing 2016.

[3] My auntie had acute rheumatoid arthritis. Her fingers and toes were at approximately 45 degrees from her hands and feet. And she could knit!!! It’s something I never appreciated until after she’d died but what pain she lived with every day yet still made the best out of her life. And then I've got a friend who despite living with an acute version of macular degeneration, which has left him with extremely little vision, continues to produce astonishing photographic images, plays in a band, has his own consultancy, is a dad of two young children and generally leaves people in awe of him almost every day.

[4] A very good friend of my wife lost her daughter at a very young age and has had breast cancer twice. She is someone who is never far from our thoughts as not only does she get on with her life but does it positively and, with kind thoughts and cards, is always able to give other people a boost when they’re going through a tough time and makes the world a better place with her smile and laugh.


  1. Real food for thought here! What If?.... we are all plagued with that at sometime or other, and in the face of adversity it is a question that can help but also hinder.... a hurdle to get over, yet another challenge for a weary person... and sometimes, giving up on what you were aiming for is the answer.. and just as painful (if not more so)to do that, than rise the challenge!! that's my thought for the day.

  2. Thanks for the insight Helen. You've read more into the "What if ...?" than I intended which has now got me thinking 🙂 Thanks again. Pete

    1. Hindsights a wonderful thing... or it is?? there you go another thought x

    2. Haha. It certainly has its uses (for a learning point of view) but perhaps sometimes we don't want to look back, you're right 😀