Those Who Breathe Life And Inspire Action
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:
 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.
 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,
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:
 Re-framing the old skills of focused and sustained attention as Deep Work and
 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.
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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