You know that feeling when you get moved or inspired by something? It can be a life-changing event, or something that just makes your day better.
Inspiration can be a small or big change. At best it can be one of those things that make the world a better place.
You can be positively influenced by someone you do not know, or by someone who is close to you. I have personally been inspired by hundreds of people over the years from human rights activists to authors, sports personalities, and politicians. My greatest sources of inspiration come from family, friends, and colleagues.
People such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa have surely been an inspiration to all of us. They changed the world, made it better. As did hundreds of scientists, including Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin.
Inspiration can come from old and young alike. Malala Yousafzai, human rights activist for education and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace laureate, has been a source of encouragement for millions around the world. Her perseverance in fighting for women’s education in Pakistan almost cost her life. And she continues the fight.
Finland has had its share of visionary personalities from writer and social activist Minna Canth to military leader and statesman C.G. Mannerheim. Sports have always been a big part of our inspirational DNA. Legendary long distance runners including Hannes Kolehmainen, Paavo Nurmi, Ville Ritola, and Lasse Virén have spurred an entire nation.
Inspiration has many sources. Recently, I was touched by a young 11-year-old boy, Valtteri Saarinen, who spoke on national television about the racism he faces in his day-to-day life in Finland. It took personal commitment and courage for him to speak out.
And inspiration can also come from those close to you. My father has always been a great source of motivation. I looked up to him as a kid, and I still do. For me, he is a source of calmness and stability, always willing to help everyone.
I have close friends who have gone through hard times and come back stronger. A friend of mine, Antti Hagqvist, is a two-time leukemia survival. His motto has always been that “giving up is not on option.” That is how he leads his life and teaches the rest of us to follow his example.
So, the next time you look for inspiration, remember that it can come from near and far. At the end of the day it is up to you. Small things matter. You can be an inspiration to all of us.