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The Simplest Ways To Inspire People And Change Their Life

The Simplest Ways To Inspire People And Change Their Life

Has anyone ever inspired you to change your life in a significant way that made you healthier, happier, or more fulfilled? If so, you understand the difference that positive inspiration can make in a person’s life. Inspiration is powerful, but it isn’t easy. Would you like to return the favor by making a positive difference in the life of your friends, family, or co-workers? If you want to be a positive influence capable of inspiring your loved ones to become better versions of themselves, please consider these 20 ways to inspire people around you.

1. Care.

If you can’t show a person that you genuinely care about them, do you think you will be able to inspire them? The answer is a resounding, “NO!” Show people you care in your words (“How are you today?”) and your actions (small acts of kindness go a long way). 

2. Be enthusiastic.

The saying “enthusiasm is contagious” is common enough to be cliché, but it’s a cliché because it’s true. Reflect enthusiasm every day to the people you are in contact with and I’m willing to wager your genuine smiles, positive energy, and caring concern will be returned ten-fold.

3. Earn trust.

If a person you know and love tells you a secret, it stays between you and them. Trust takes a long time to build, but it can be destroyed overnight, so don’t take part in workplace gossip or unnecessary drama in your social networks so you can be a positive influence that people are unafraid to talk to.

4. If it’s not positive, don’t say it.

It’s easy to criticize people, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Think about it: how do you react if someone insults your intelligence, makes fun of your outfit, or criticizes your performance? Whether the criticism is justified or not, I bet you get upset. No one likes to be criticized, so if you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say it at all.

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5. Build people up.

Small compliments have a way of brightening any day, irregardless of the dark shadows that may be overhead. Don’t believe me? Find someone in your office wearing a frown, tell them how cute (or handsome) they look today, and watch a bright smile take over their face. If your compliment doesn’t make their day, I’ll buy you a beer.

6. Stand your ground.

It’s easy to let life-stress shake our foundation of inner-strength as human beings, but if you want to inspire people around you, learn to stand your ground through thick and thin. Stand firm if you want to show the people around you that even the worst of circumstances can be overcome with positive thinking, continuous improvement, and a never-say-die attitude.

7. Admit your flaws.

Although it is important to not flinch when life throws us a curve-ball, it is equally important to acknowledge the fact that we are all human beings here, and thus are all inherently flawed. Everyone has at least one glaring weakness or two, so accept your short-comings to humanize yourself so people can relate to you on a deeper level. Show me a person who claims to be without fault and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

8. Be an active listener.

Anyone can hear the words other people say, but not many people can actively listen and comprehend those words to fully understand the meaning behind them. Make eye-contact if someone talks to you about their problems and ask follow-up questions to show them you care about what they are going through and want to understand where they are coming from as well as you can.

9. Reach for the stars.

No one will be inspired by a person who resigns themselves to “reality” (such a dreadful place that sounds devoid of hope or personal growth in my opinion). Be ambitious, aim high, and never surrender if you want to inspire people that they, too, can accomplish anything they set their mind to.

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10. Deliver constructive criticism.

First of all, constructive criticism should only be delivered if it is asked for. Remember point #4: if it’s not positive, don’t say it. If you criticize someone for their flaws without any input requested, you’re just going to upset them. But if you are asked for input, deliver it in a positive manner. For the sake of example, let’s assume someone asked you for feedback about an article, blog, essay, or resume that they wrote. You might deliver your feedback like this:

“First, thank you for asking me for input: it means a lot that you trust me! I looked it over and let me just say that I love what you did with [insert positive compliment here]. But I think it might be even better if you did this instead [insert constructive criticism and feedback for improvement here].” 

11. Treat everyone equally.

We are all equal human beings regardless of our gender, politics, race, religion, and other factors. Love and care for people without consideration of these irrelevant factors that have no influence on the quality of a person. Treat others how they want to be treated, no matter their background, to inspire trust and confidence.

12. Walk with confidence.

Keep your head high and eyes forward so you can say, “Hello,” or, “How are you?” to everyone you walk past. Walk with a friendly swagger that reflects confidence in who you are.

13. Stay calm and cool.

How people react to insults or criticism speaks highly about their ability to inspire others. If you respond to hate with more hate, how are you any better than the person who started the confrontation? (Hint: you’re not!) No matter how out-of-place or harsh an insult was, it’s best to stay calm and cool, because getting upset will not make you feel any better (and it certainly won’t inspire people around you). Shrug off insults like they didn’t happen and those who witness your unflinching nature might be inspired to do the same.

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14. Share your influences.

What books have made a huge impact on who you are as a person? What sources of inspiration help guide the most important decisions in your life? How did you become the happy, healthy, positive person you are today? Share the influences that shaped who you are so others can also benefit.

15. Acknowledge contributions of others.

No matter how wonderful you are, you’re just one person, so I’m sure others have contributed to your greatest successes in life. If you’re a writer and receive a compliment about a particular passage that one of your friends inspired, say something like, “I so appreciate that, but you know what’s funny? It wasn’t even my idea! My super talented and brilliant friend _______ gets full credit.” Acknowledge the contribution publicly if at all possible to show people you’re humble and thoughtful enough to give credit where it’s due.

16. Keep your promises.

If you volunteered to help with a cause and you get invited to a movie or concert, you need to keep your word, no matter how much more fun the other thing may be. It’s easy to ditch our responsibilities when a more interesting opportunity presents itself, but this is a sure-fire way to destroy the trust you’ve worked so hard to earn, so you’d be wise to keep your word no matter what.

17. Stay true to who you are.

A lot of us have a variety of “selves” that come out depending on the social situation: home, work, and friends all require a different song-and-dance. But putting on a different show for every group of people you encounter is super exhausting, and it’s certainly not a good way to inspire people around you. Would you place your confidence in a person who was so uncomfortable in their personality that they felt the need to pander to whatever crowd they were with? Embrace your true self without apology.

18. Explore alternative thoughts and ideas.

Anyone who thinks they have all the answers is kidding themselves, so make a point of challenging your beliefs on a regular basis. If you’re fiscally conservative, explore a well-thought out piece by someone on the opposite end of the political spectrum so you can see the other side of the story. If you’re a Christian, explore the thoughts of the most highly regarded Muslims to discover why they believe what they do. Have conversations with people who believe differently than you do to learn what makes them tick. It’s unlikely you’ll change your mind, and if you really believe something with conviction, it should hold up to scrutiny. Your openness will show others that you are so firm in your convictions that you’re willing to challenge your beliefs. You’ll also develop trust in people who think differently than you do, who otherwise might have been afraid to approach you. 

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19. Never add insult to injury.

If you win an argument, there is no need to brag about it. Proclaiming, “I told you so,” will make you look arrogant and discourage people from approaching you about the important things (and rightfully so!)

20. Set people free.

Don’t merely give people step-by-step advice, but instead give them the freedom to figure it out by themselves. No one likes a micro-manager. If you’re asked for help, deliver a rough guideline to get a person moving in the right direction, but intentionally leave something left to the imagination so they will have the freedom to fill-in-the-blanks. When a person discovers they are capable of figuring things out by their lonesome, they will discover they are more powerful than they ever thought possible.

How Do You Inspire People Around You?

Have you had the pleasure of inspiring a person to take a positive step forward to a better life? Or has someone helped inspire you to overcome a significant struggle? If so, we’d love to hear all about it in the comments!

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on October 14, 2019

12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

12 Inspirational Speeches That Teach You the Most Valuable Life Lessons

The most valuable thing an experienced person has is their experience. People make mistakes, learn from them, and adapt their life around them to become better people. Those people would then tell tales to others to help teach those lessons so that others would not have to make the same mistakes.

People still tell these stories today but in a slightly different format — they use speeches to express their experiences. Here are some valuable life lessons you can learn from some of the greatest inspirational speeches:

1. JK Rowling teaches us to not fear failure no matter how bad things become

It is a well-known fact that JK Rowling’s now-famous Harry Potter series was turned down by several publishers before it was finally picked up. Those publishers are likely kicking themselves in the pants right now. However, before that, JK Rowling was in a fairly dire situation and was on the brink of failure. Despite being turned down time and time again, she kept trying. Her efforts paid off. Harry Potter is now a ubiquitous character in today’s world culture. Despite failing over and over again, Rowling kept trying and fulfilled her dreams. You can watch her deliver some valuable life lessons in her Harvard commencement speech video above.

2. Steve Jobs teaches us to never settle

Steve Jobs had a fairly tumultuous life. He co-founded Apple, was kicked out of the company, came back, and then re-defined the mobile phone space with the iPhone. Even if iPhones aren’t the rage they once were, its iconic value is forever written in stone. One thing Jobs never did was settle. He lived life on his own terms and was rewarded for it by being dubbed one of the most revolutionary voices in technology of our time. In the Stanford commencement speech above, Jobs explains how you should never settle for what someone else wants out of your life. It’s your life and you should do what you want with it.

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3. Admiral William H McRaven teaches us to make our beds every day

Anyone who has gone through the basic training of a military service will tell you it’s pretty difficult. However, every seemingly obnoxious step is actually a life lesson in disguise. This even applies to flawlessly making one’s bed every single morning. As Admiral William H McRaven teaches us, recruits are taught to make their beds every morning to remind them that even the little things in life matter. After all, how can you be expected to handle the biggest obstacles in your life if you can’t even handle the small and the mundane like making your bed every day? You can watch the entire speech in the video above.

4. Author David Foster Wallace teaches us that we’re a part of a greater existence

David Foster Wallace found fame in 1987 with his book The Broom of the System. Nearly 20 years later in 2005 he game a commencement speech at Kenyon College that is worth listening to at least once. In his speech, he reminds us that was are but a part of a huge, dynamic, ever changing interaction of life forms. In order to truly experience life, we need to leave our personal bubbles and interact with others even if it’s in an unpleasant way. Wallace states, “It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.” You can watch the whole speech above.

5. Stephen Colbert teaches us that life isn’t something you can plan

If there is anyone who knows about improvisation, it’s comedian Stephen Colbert. In his commencement speech at Northwestern University in 2011, Colbert reminded students that you cannot plan life. Life throws too many curve balls. There are too many unpredictable things that can happen. The most successful and happy people are not those who have a plan, but those who can roll with the punches and overcome the obstacles. He goes on to site his time as an improv comic and how all of the actors working together to create a scene out of literally nothing are all working for one another. He states that like improv comedy, you don’t know what happens next in life. You just make it up as you go along. You can watch the whole speech above.

6. Kurt Vonnegut teaches us to not sweat the small stuff

Some of our younger readers may not know Kurt Vonnegut. He is a famous author that found of of his success during the middle of last century. In 1999, Kurt Vonnegut was at Agnes Scott College giving a commencement speech. During the speech, he mentioned that in order to live a more complete life, people needed to let stuff go. He argued that you cannot reasonably expect others to forgive you for your mistakes if you cannot forgive others and that you cannot live life fostering a personal vendetta against others.

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7. Neil Gaiman teaches us that success can be distracting.

Neil Gaiman is most known for his work in a number of literary mediums including journalism, comic books, and novels. In 2012, Gaiman gave a speech at the University of the Arts where he talked about success. He stated that when you become successful, you may be unintentionally swayed from performing the actions that made you successful. Gaiman recalled his early success and how he felt pressured to answer emails all day long and it actually prevented him from writing as much as he wanted. So he reminds us to keep doing what makes us successful and to not let others get in the way.

8. Barack Obama’s life lessons teaches us that you really can beat the odds

We know that not everyone likes Barack Obama but that doesn’t mean the man can’t deliver an amazing speech. In this 2004 keynote speech at the Democratic National Convenction, Obama reminds that it is possible to beat the odds and become something great. He cites his own upbringing as an example and how he was never expected to make it as far as he did. It shows that when you’re passionate about something and when you try hard enough, you can accomplish almost anything. It’s important to note that Obama talks about this in 2004 and would become the President of the United States just four years later.

9. Robin Roberts reminds us that we each have the courage to overcome challenges

Robin Roberts knows a thing or two about courage. She is a breast cancer survivor and has done battle with a rare blood disease called myelodysplastic syndrome. Her sister once had to donate bone marrow just so Robin could remain alive. She was also ESPN’s first African American broadcaster in the early 1990’s. She’s a woman who works in an industry predominately populated by men. So when Robin Roberts takes the stage at the ESPYs and delivers a short lecture on having courage, we would do well to listen!

10. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that some things are more important than success

We all know the story of Martin Luther King Jr. So much so that we have a day of the year to celebrate him as a national holiday here in the United States. Most of us have listening to segments of his famous speech where he told the world about a dream he had. The main message of his famous speech is that racial inequalities needed to end and he was absolutely right. However, he also reminds us that there are things that are more important than success such as equal rights and treating each other with respect and kindness. If you somehow made it through school without watching the famous speech, we’ve got it linked above.

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11. Jim Carrey reminds us that even if you keep it safe, you can still fail so you might as well go big

Jim Carrey delivered a commencement speech at Maharishi University recently that went absolutely viral. You may know it as the one minute video that will change your life. They weren’t lying but they weren’t telling the whole truth because the speech was actually 28 minutes long. During the speech, Carrey talks about his father who wanted to be a comedian but decided to take the safe route and become an accountant. As it turns out, his father was laid off and his family ended up poor anyway. With that, Carrey tells us that you can still end up failing even if you play it safe so you might as well swing for the fences and do what you want to do.

12. Bill Murray teaches us that it’s the hard times that determine if someone really loves you

You may have heard the story about Bill Murray crashing someone’s bachelor party and delivering a speech. It turns out the speech was both short and fairly epic. During the speech, Bill Murray challenged the bachelors to travel around the world with the women they love and go to places that are difficult to go to and deal with. He says if you can get back to the United States and you still love each other, then you should get married right then and there. It’s a great message. It’s easy to love one another when times are good but do you still love each other when the times are bad? If so, that’s true love according to Bill Murray.

Final thoughts

Inspiration comes from everywhere and from anyone. There are a countless number of speeches and stories that can teach us an incalculable number of life lessons.

All these speeches almost share the same message: Don’t be afraid to fail and keep trying.

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If you also want to live your best life like the above successful people, this is what you should start doing:

You’ll Only Live Your Best Life Once You Step Out

At the end of the day, everything is inspirational. It’s just a matter of finding the message that we need to hear to change our lives.

Featured photo credit: Miguel Henriques via unsplash.com

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