Nobody is asking you to be Jesus. There is no need for apostles, fasting, and preaching. All you have to do is let those around you know that even the smallest of efforts is a meaningful one.
Take Bruno Manser, for example. He was a Swiss human rights activist who did everything he could to protect the rights of the nomadic Penan forest people in the state of Sarawak, Malaysia. They are losing their rightful homes, livelihood, culture, and way of life to logging companies, all of which were granted permits by the government. It is the cruelest form of genocide and environmental rape that is taking place today, and this form of oppression is wrong on every level.
Over 90% of Sarawak’s rainforest has been destroyed for timber and for palm oil agriculture. To put things into perspective, Sarawak is the size of England. Not only has logging disrupted the indigenous Penans’ peaceful way of life, it has also destroyed the ecosystem, polluted the rivers, and killed endangered wildlife like the orangutans. The fast-paced logging has even changed the weather. To make things worse, the Penan people now have the Baram Dam project to worry about, another moneymaking undertaking by the government to control and use nature.
Manser did everything he could to help the Penan people. He did everything from living with them for 6 years, to paragliding over the Sarawak Chief Minister’s home to raise awareness, to organizing a hunger strike in front of the UN, to organizing blockades on logging routes in the forest. He invoked the rage of the government and timber barons, and one day in 2000, Manser vanished without a trace, never to be seen again.
Despite his disappearance, his legacy lives on, and he continues to inspire people to stand up for the Penans, the wildlife, and the rainforest of Borneo. From Manser to Mahatma Gandhi to Jane Goodall, our world is filled with people who inspire us. Leaders like them may come and go, but one thing is for sure: they gave it their all.
How to inspire those around you
You don’t have to be a scientist, artist, activist, or politician to inspire others. You don’t have to paraglide over a corrupt billionaire politician’s home, and neither do you have to live in the rainforest for half a decade. All it takes is a little patience and a whole lot of heart. So long as you do what you can, your passion and determination will inspire others to follow suit. Here are 11 simple yet effective ways to inspire the people around you.
#1 Pay it forward. Let those around you know that good deeds operate on a pay it forward mentality, and that if you do something nice for someone, they’re likely to do something nice for someone else and so on. Paint a picture of a world where everyone does something good for someone else, and bring to life the image of a caring society. Actively do good deeds, and set an example.
Tiny steps such as helping your neighbor with her groceries and buying a sandwich for the homeless man on your street corner will make all the difference. Set an example, and others will follow suit.
#2 Give more, take less. Model your life after others who persistently give more than they receive. Togetherness and looking out for one another is not that hard to come by if everyone got on the same page. For example, the aforementioned Penan tribes in the rainforest of Borneo don’t even have a word for thank you, because sharing and giving is considered an inherent part of life, like breathing.
#3 Volunteer your time. What many people don’t realize is that time carries more weight than money. Volunteer as much time as you can to causes that need the manpower. Yes, there’s nothing wrong with donating to a charity, but leave that to those who are unable to dedicate time. Be sure to carefully choose which organization you want to work with. Even with nonprofit organizations, money can get lost and squandered amidst the politics and hierarchy in place.
The United Nations is a good example of an NGO gone wrong. Although it is known as the largest nonprofit organization in the world, its elite way of operating and nonsensical political stands make it the furthest thing from a NGO. Reports of kickbacks by UN employees, as well as their inability to resolve conflicts big and small, is farcical and makes you wonder why they even exist.
#4 Take a gap year. Inspire others by taking a gap year to do things that ignite your passionate soul. Don’t quit your job to sit on your ass all day long watching the telly. Be sure to spend your time doing something fulfilling. If you love to paint, do it. If you love fixing cars, do it. If you are enthralled by Asia, go travel it. If you want to save orangutans, do it.
Do something unconventional, unexpected and totally against the norm. Come home a year later feeling rejuvenated, and prove to others that life isn’t what society says it should be. You need to carve your own future and have the choice to do whatever the hell you want.
#5 Practice what you preach. Another way to inspire others is to prove to them that you aren’t all talk. It’s easy to stand up in front of people and run your mouth, but it takes a special someone to turn words into reality. If you want to save the rainforest and indigenous tribes by stopping logging in East Malaysia, get in touch with organizations that focus on those issues. Tired of coming across abandoned puppies and want to educate pet owners in your area on the importance of neutering their animals? Get it done.
Stop complaining about all that is wrong with the world, and practice what you preach. Do what you can to help, and don’t be afraid to shout it from the rooftops. The louder you shout, the more people will hear you and be inclined to lend a hand.
#6 Positivity is key. Another important tip is to always be positive. You cannot inspire others to lead a better life if you’re constantly sending out negative vibes. The more positive you are, the more likely the laws of attraction will work its magic, and you will attract more positivity into your life. Pass on the positivity and let those around you know that the better the energy in the room is, the more likely things will successfully get done.
#7 Aspire to do great things. Never stop aspiring to do great things. When you set goals for yourself, you will work towards them and do everything in your power to make them happen. Some people may tell you not to aim high to avoid disappointment, but truth be told, the only way to see how far you can go is to push yourself. Tell those whom you wish to inspire to keep reaching for the stars until they become one.
#8 Let passion lead the way. Inspire others to follow their heart. Whether it is proposing to the woman they love or changing career paths, life is all about choices. There’s no reason why people should live their whole lives feeling like they should have done more. Life should be about feeling exhausted every day, not from the depressing daily grind, but from doing the things that they are passionate about.
#9 Love fully. Do not be afraid to love fully. Project care and love every chance you get, and make it known to others that you have a kind heart. People will reciprocate that kindness and start mirroring it. The more genuine you are about your open heart, the more likely people will be inspired by you and seek to do the same.
#10 Admit that you’re human. People don’t need an idol to look up to. They need a leader who can pave the way and let them know that despite numerous failures, success will eventually come. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you’re a flawed human being. It makes you more relatable to the people you’re trying to inspire. When they hear tales of you failing and picking yourself right back up, they will know that they can do the same.
#11 Stand up, speak out. Be staunch in your beliefs, and don’t let anyone else belittle your thoughts and opinions. Stand up and speak out for those without a voice. When you believe in something, the words will come easy, and the actions will come as second nature. When others see how strong you are, they will be inspired to do the same.
There are literally thousands of ways you can inspire those around you to take action and change the world. As you go through life, always remember that your actions can echo through the ages, so make your actions worthwhile!