Our aspirations and dreams are probably the most important motor of the achievements in our life, often inspired by others who may subconciously serve as our ‘role models’.
For me it’s not important what you do but how you do it that matters. I’m inspired by people who have made a real difference to our world, who made us think, act and live a better life.
The list below is far from complete but it will give you an impression of what I mean.
Helen Beatrix Potter
28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943
Inspired by her art and passion for nature.
English author, illustrator, mycologist, and conservationist who was best known for her children’s books, which featured animal characters such as Peter Rabbit.
Beatrix Potter married William Heelis in 1913. Then started the next stage in her life, being a Lakeland farmer, which lasted for 30 years. In 1923 she bought Troutbeck Park Farm, and became an expert in breeding Herdwick sheep, winning many prizes at country shows with them. Beatrix continued to buy property, and in 1930 bought the Monk Coniston Estate – 4000 acres from Little Langdale to Coniston – which contained Tarn Hows, now Lakeland’s most popular piece of landscape.
26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997
Inspired by her compassion, faith and unconditional love.
Agnes Gonxha (Albanian for “rosebud”) Bojaxhiu (Mother Teresa) was an Albanian-born Roman Catholic nun with Indian citizenship who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta), India in 1950. For over forty years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.
Amelia Mary Earhart
24 July 1897 (missing 2 July 1937) declared dead 5 January 1939
Inspired by her spirit of adventure.
American aviation pioneer, and author. Earhart was the first woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross, which she was awarded as the first aviatrix to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences, and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots.
During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day.
Joan of Arc
circa 1412 – 30 May 1431
Inspired by her courage.
Joan of Arc, also known as “the Maid of Orleans”, was a 15th century Catholic saint, and national heroine of France. A peasant girl born in Eastern France, Joan led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years’ War, claiming divine guidance, and was indirectly responsible for the coronation of King Charles VII. She was captured by the English, tried by an ecclesiastical court and burned at the stake by the English when she was nineteen years old.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D.
8 July 1926 – 24 August 2004
Inspired by her insight and vision on death and dying.
A Swiss-born psychiatrist and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying, where she first discussed what is now known as the Kübler-Ross model. She is a 2007 inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She was the recipient of twenty honorary degrees and by July 1982 had taught, in her estimation, 125,000 students in death and dying courses in colleges, seminaries, medical schools, hospitals, and social-work institutions.
Elisabeth proposed the now famous Five Stages of Grief as a pattern of phases, most or all of which people tend to go through, not always in sequence, after being faced with the tragedy of their own impending death.
7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934
Inspired by her determination and commitment.
Maria Skłodowska–Curie was a physicist and chemist of Polish upbringing and, subsequently, French citizenship. She was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity, the only person honored with Nobel Prizes in two different sciences, and the first female professor at the University of Paris.
12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910
Inspired by her ambition and ability to give hope and comfort.
Florence Nightingale who came to be known as “The Lady with the Lamp”, was a pioneering nurse, writer and noted statistician.
Inspired by what she took as a Christian divine calling Florence committed herself to nursing (though discouraged by her parents). This demonstrated a passion on her part, and also a rebellion against the expected role for a woman of her status, which was to become a wife and mother.
Lo! in that hour of misery
A lady with a lamp I see
Pass through the glimmering gloom,
And flit from room to room.
“Santa Filomena” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s in 1857