Inspirational People

Those Who Breathe Life And Inspire Action

Inspirational People - Those Who Breathe Life And Inspire Action. Photo collage of 20th century inspirational people.

The phrase "inspirational people" has become something of a cliche in the same way that the description of a person or activity as "heroic" has also lost the power of its original meaning.

The common and popular usage of the term inspirational people is frequently intended to express wonder and appreciation of what these people have achieved in their lives.

That's fine but essentially just an expression of a passing emotion like "wow... he/she did that...amazing..."

My use of the phrase is more specific and in line with the original root meaning of the verb "to inspire" which is derived from the latin word "spirare" meaning breath.

To inspire ["inspirare"] means to "breathe into" and has become associated with "breathing life into" something.

To expire ["expirare"] means to breath out and the modern association has to come to mean that breath has gone and the life has gone out of something, i.e. it is dead.

So to inspire life into something infers action - specific action - and therefore:

Truly inspirational people are those who breath life into something specific and in such a way that we are moved to take action on it.






2 Key Areas Where We Need To Be Moved To Take Specific Action

The theme of this site is "How To Think Effectively".

Knowing how to think effectively is important because the outcomes that you experience in your life are determined by your responses to the events in your life. The stronger your response - the better the outcome.

The intention behind this site is to show you how to respond in tough times, and to provide you with the tools to do this successfully.

At the current time of writing in late 2020, this is especially relevant as the world slowly and painfully crawls towards a post Covid-19 environment and as we collectively struggle  to come to terms with the societal, economic and financial consequence of the weaknesses of our Governments' response to this situation.

The 2 distinct and different areas in which we need to take action are:




[1] Inspirational People Who Can Teach Us How To Stop Thinking

To really learn how to think effectively we also have to learn and master the art of not thinking, because a quiet mind is an insightful mind and a resourceful mind.

The most effective way of achieving this is with the zen practise of mindfulness.




[2] Inspirational People Who Can Teach Us How To Think

We need to learn thinking skills. Thinking critically, deliberately and systematically processing information enables you to make better decisions and generally understand things better.




Inspirational People Who Contribute To The Theme And Intentions Of This Site

My key criteria for including people in this section is that in my direct personal experience they have something proven and practical to offer us in each of these 2 areas.

Naturally my selection of people who I regard as inspirational is deeply subjective. Nevertheless, I am profiling these people in the hope that you may find it that it moves you to take specific action.

This section is very much a work in progress, so please do contact me with your thoughts, comments and suggestions for other people we could feature here.

  • Eckhart Tolle -is probably best known as the author of the best selling "The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment." It was Eckhart Tolle's early work with "The Power of Now" and subsequent videos of Eckhart's talks that opened my eyes and awareness to the dimension of mindfulness.
  • Thich Nhat Hanh - is the living embodiment of mindfulness. His mindfulness teachings and practices have very wide appeal to people from various religious, spiritual, and political backgrounds. He is is one of the best known and most respected Zen masters in the world today, prolific author, poet, and peace and human rights activist. Thich Nhat Hanh is totally inclusive in his outlook and his teachings and practises transcend religious traditions.
  • Genpo Roshi - Former American Zen Master Dennis Merzel aka Genpo Roshi developed the "Big Mind" process which builds on the insights of traditional Zen practise and the Voice Dialogue therapy developed over many years by Drs Hal & Sidra Stone. The "Big Mind" process gives you a form of spiritual technology that as a simple and self facilitated technique enables you to do 2 very important things... 
  • Michael Brown - has, in my view, provided another practical tool for developing your experience of present moment awareness. His work as presented in "The Presence Process " is, in my perspective, a direct progression from Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, Genpo Roshi, Jon Kabat-Zinn and many others. The specific contribution of Michael Brown's work is that he recognises and addressses the deep seated emotional and physical blockages that many of us carry...
  • Andrew Newberg - is regarded as one of leading pioneers in the field of neuroscientific study of religious and spiritual experiences, increasingly referred to as – neurotheology.  His research work focuses on the nature of religious and spiritual practices and experiences and specifically how brain function is associated with various mental states, especially the relationship between brain function and mystical or religious experiences. Andrew Newberg's work matters because it provides some of the compelling evidence for the neurological underpinning of the core theme of this site, namely how to think and how to not think.
  •  Charlie Munger - is probably best known as the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc and long term business partner of Warren Buffett. Aside from his extremely successful business career as an investor and his various philanthropic ventures, Charlie Munger is also well known for his thinking skills and especially for his emphasis on developing multiple mental models to cut through complexity and make good judgement calls and good decisions. We can learn from some of the core principles of his thinking skills and adopt and incorporate them into our balanced toolkit of thinking skills as we learn how to think more effectively.
  • Elon Musk - is an extraordinary man. He has founded, co-founded, and leads a cross-section of the world's most technically innovative companies. One of the most interesting things about Elon Musk is the thought processes that lead to his ideas and innovations, followed by his skill, persistence and patience to see them through to implementation. I believe that Elon Musk has much to teach us about thinking skills.
  • Cal Newport - is a computer science professor at Georgetown University, who in addition to his academic research writes about the intersection of digital technology and culture. He is a millenial with a counter-cultural/counter-generational message: [1] Re-framing the old skills of focused and sustained attention  as Deep Work and [2] Reducing - if not eliminating - your reliance [addiction?] to digital distraction. He provides tools and resources to  enable you to apply these thinking skills.
  • Philip Zimbardo - and the  Stanford Prison Experiment  as updated and with revised analysis in The Lucifer Effect offers a situationist perspective on the psychology of evil. Zimbardo has contributed greatly to our understanding of why people can change and choose to exercise bad/evil behaviour in response to the pressures and demands of the environment upon them.There are 5 lessons from Philip Zimbardo's story, and the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment, to be aware of.
  • Massimo Pigliucci - a philosopher and modern advocate for Stoicism and has created a wealth of easy to understand material that is readily available online. He doesn't just talk about Stoicism he lives it. For him, stoicism is a practise.
  • Julia Galef - her contribution to the field of thinking skills is her articulate work on advancing the popularisation of applied rationality. She introduces the metaphor of soldiers and scouts and shows how we can learn how to combat biases and make smarter decisions by adopting the scout mindset.
  • Naval Ravikant - Angel Investor / Practical Philospher.
    When self-improvement fails work on finding the truth. Reference "The Almanac Of Naval Ravikant". Incomparable wisdom and insights on life the universe and nearly everything!
  • Marcus Aurelius - was Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoic philosopher. His reign was marked by years of military conflict. He practiced Stoicism and wrote about his own Stoic practice in a series of journals which he wrote solely for his own personal use. They have become one of the most influential philosophy books in the history of the world and have come to be known as:  “The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius”.  
  • Nassim Taleb - spent 21 years as a risk taker (quantitative  trader) before becoming a researcher in philosophical, mathematical and (mostly) practical problems with probability. He is the author of 5 books: "Skin In the Game", "Antifragile", "The Black Swan", "Fooled by Randomness", and "The Bed of Procrustes". He describes his work as an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision making when we don’t understand the world. But despite all that - he makes some very strong points about risk and probability that are important for the lay reader to be aware of! Check the [internal] links shown.






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