Columnists Features

Do not be like the Dead Sea: Be an inspiration

Spider’s Web: CHEELA CHILALA
HAVING finished with the series of articles on mentorship, we shall for the next few weeks deal with the subject of Inspiration. There are, broadly speaking, two types of inspiration – human and divine.
We shall be concerned with the former but from two perspectives: inspiration can be given, but it can also be received from another source. In this regard, therefore, every human being has the capacity not only to be inspired but also to inspire.
What is inspiration? Some dictionary definitions include the following: “Something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create”; “a force or influence that inspires someone”; “a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something”.
An inspiration, or source of inspiration, therefore, can either be a human or non-human; it can be visible or invisible, tangible or intangible, living or non-living. In addition, inspiration can be positive or negative – that is, you can be inspired to do right or to do wrong. Some people have been inspired to commit crime, for instance.
Each one of us can point at a person or person from whom we have drawn or draw inspiration, for good or bad. Despite his evil acts, Hitler had and still has followers greatly inspired by him.
Osama bin Laden inspired many to commit acts of terror – in the same way that, even as I write, many are inspired by the leaders of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).
There are many individuals, throughout human history, who have influenced people in negative ways, or inspired them to commit evil.
Our concern, though, is with people that have exerted positive influence on others, and history is full-to-the-brim with such individuals.
Among them: Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi in politics; Pele, Lionel Messi, Serena Williams, Usain Bolt and Muhammad Ali in sports; Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg in the field of computer technology; Billy Graham, Myles Munroe and T D Jakes in the field of Christian preaching and teaching.
In virtually every field of human endeavour, there are inspirational individuals.
Which individuals would you say have been an inspiration to you? There is a link between mentorship and inspiration.
In other words, if you have a mentor or mentors, then you can point at them as a source of inspiration. There is no way you can have a mentor who does not inspire you. Let me put it this way: every mentor is an inspiration, but not every inspiration is a mentor.
Put differently, your mentor must inspire you, but you can also be inspired by people who are not your mentors.
Talking about people who inspire you, however, is but one side of the matter. The other side is this: which people would you say you inspire or have inspired?
Can you point at any? It is possible, after all, to be inspired by others but in turn fail to inspire anyone. It is also possible, though, to be both a receiver and giver of inspiration – and that is what should be the ideal situation.
Do not be like the Dead Sea which has no life. I have visited the Dead Sea on both the Israeli and Jordanian sides and know that there is one simple reason why it is “dead”: it receives water from the River Jordan but does not release it because it has no tributaries flowing out of it. It is a receiver and not a giver. If you are only a receiver of inspiration but giver of none, you are pretty much like the Dead Sea. Inspire others to aspire.
cheelafkc@yahoo.co.uk

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