A lot of people that I know have idols. I observed (among my friends and acquaintances) that when we were teenagers, these idols would be musicians, actors… famous persons we look up to because we think they’re cool and possess the abilities that we want to have. As we grew older, we look up more towards inspiring people who works hard to change the world with the abilities they have, because we also want to be able to make an impact in this world like they do.
Though, there are many cases where teenagers look up to inspiring figures and adults look up to artists, musicians, actors… There’s nothing wrong in that.
In fact, we all had someone we looked (or look) up to, usually them being famous figures.
I also have people I look up to. Famous figures who I look up to include Hayao Miyazaki, for his beautiful works with Studio Ghibli, & Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, whose book Totto-chan made me interested in creating train interiors & spaces suitable for children. I don’t know other names to mention because I mostly just admire what they do, but I don’t follow their works or try to find out more about them.
However, I realized a few weeks ago that my main source of inspiration comes from the people around me, from friends or acquaintances, from people who I’ve said “hi” to while passing by or schoolmates in high school.
To name some, without mentioning who they are explicitly, these close persons have inspired me in different ways:
- A close friend, who won a scholarship & is about to depart overseas, kind to everyone & has an excellent fashion taste, achieved amazing marks in college, and makes really thoughtful comments & gives excellent life advice. This person inspired me to keep on pursuing my dreams and be kind to everyone.
- Another close friend, an eccentric who lived life not giving too many f*cks about people around, went on to continue studying & travelling all around the world, and is one of the nicest persons you’ll ever meet on this planet. This person inspired me to live life as you want while being kind to people who matter to you.
- An acquaintance who restlessly studies around in different places & engages actively in social forums, to later become a speaker in various important events and seminars alongside remarkable & successful people. This person inspired me to go on doing what you do best because, in the end, you’ll make a change with what you’re good at.
- Another acquaintance who actively participated in sports, was key player in different kinds of sports, but was also one of the most brilliant students back in high school. This person inspired me to keep on being active because, honestly, I’ve been neglecting sports recently.
The point is that we all seek inspiration from other people (I’m talking about inspiration=people, not inspiration=Pinterest) because we always want to do more than what we are doing now. Having a person as our inspiration serves as a motivation for us to keep on doing what we do and achieve what we want to achieve. Having people as our inspiration makes us realize that our goals aren’t impossible to achieve, because there have been other people who had done so and started from a way lower level than us. So, if they can make it, why can’t we?
And the people as our inspiration… they don’t have to be famous. They don’t always have to be strangers, they can be our own friends, our own family members… they can be anyone.
I once struggled in middle school because I didn’t know who I look up to. I mean, I was a fan of many musicians, I loved a lot of authors’ books, I know and have read about famous & influential figures who change the world, but there wasn’t just someone that I look up to. So, I decided to pick someone from my family and made her my inspiration.
And the truth is… it worked.
Since then, I’ve managed to find inspiration in people around me, people I happen to pass by, people I happen to know.. it’s still difficult to point at one famous person (save Miyazaki or Kuroyanagi, of course) and say “I look up to them”.
I mean, for example, Malala Yousafzai is an activist for female education and human rights (especially in her home country Pakistan), and she has done and been through a lot of things (good and bad) to fight for what she thinks is right. She is amazing and inspiring, but she isn’t my main inspiration. And I think that shouldn’t make me feel bad because, even though I support her cause & admire her work, it wasn’t what I was looking for.
We shouldn’t feel bad for not picking a super top famous person as our inspiration, yet we shouldn’t look down to people who pick a super top famous person as their inspiration. Everyone has their own persons they look up to, because they seek different things in other persons.
PS: From next week onwards, I will include my own illustrations in this blog’s posts 🙂