What is inspiration?

I was a bit of a failure at high school. Seriously, I only went to school to eat my lunch. There are many areas that I could point my finger at to justify why I was so unsuccessful, but there’s one reason that really stands out in my mind, Michael Jordon. Yep that’s right, Michael Jordon!  

In my fifth form year while I was meant to be going to school to study History, English and how that whole Pi thing works, I found innovative ways to bunk school and watch the greatest basketball player of all time win some of the most exciting NBA finals ever.  

Looking back on that time now, the thing I find most interesting is - I never played basketball, I didn’t even shoot hoops with the boys! Here I was being consumed by this special superstar, but I was never inspired to actually play basketball. 

What is inspiration? The dictionary says; ‘The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something. Michael Jordon definitely made me ‘feel’ something but he didn’t have the ability to make me ‘do’ something. That’s not to say that sporting superstars don’t motivate people to try their sports, I’m sure golf clubs have loved what Tiger Woods has done for their bottom line. But I believe the best inspiration comes when people who we connect with in our day to day lives suddenly grow in ways that seem amazing to us. It’s when your unfit workmate works hard and completes a Half Marathon, or when an overweight friend suddenly loses a lot of weight. When the people around us achieve big things - we think we can to. That’s inspiration! 

So what does it take to be an inspiration? It’s about doing the hard things that most others don’t do. It’s about deciding to say no when others say yes and yes when they say no. It’s about sometimes doing the hard thing, no matter how many excuses you can create for yourself. When you do these things you’ll start to realise that you are becoming an inspiration within your world. This will be shown by people around you asking questions on how you do it. 

My friend Dee, a 60+ year old female Marathon runner, has been ten times more of an inspiration in my life than Michael Jordon could ever be. That’s inspiration. Go on, give it a try!

Bevan Eyles