1. Nelson Mandela
Why are they inspiring? Nelson was a huge part of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. He was jailed for 27 years due to his efforts to in leading the transition for a multi-racial democracy but he eventually prevailed with his mission.
What can they teach? Be courageous in your efforts and fight for the things you believe in.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
2. Richard Branson
Why are they inspiring? Richard Branson created his first business at the age of 16 in the form ofStudent magazine. He founded the Virgin brand which today operates over 350 companies while risking his pride, bankruptcy, and even his life in the process.
What can they teach? Opportunities in life are abundant, if something in life doesn’t go your way, roll with the punches until something does. Don’t let one ‘failure’ make you turn around and give up.
Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.
3. Russell Simmons
Why are they inspiring? Russell Simmons launched Def Jam Records; a company that helped bring hip hop music into the mainstream, and give millions of kids that were living in the struggle some hope for a better future.
What can they teach? Never think that you are above the advice or intelligence of others. We can achieve so much more when working together.
I’ve been blessed to find people who are smarter than I am, and they help me to execute the vision I have.
4. Mahatma Gandhi
Why are they inspiring? He led the movement which led India to independence. This also inspired other movements for freedom and human rights across the world.
What can they teach? Act through your intentions. Only from following through with the things you believe in can you enjoy fulfilment.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
5. Warren Buffett
Why are they inspiring? He is one of the most successful investors of all time and became the world’s richest person at the age of 77.
What can they teach? Being successful isn’t always about taking on the biggest challenges. It’s about constantly growing and conquering the feats you can manage.
I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.
6. Princess Diana
Why are they inspiring? Instead of seeing her public position as one of Ego, Diana used her status to inspire millions around her. She was one of the first high-profile figures to be seen touching someone infected with HIV, she also braved minefields to raise awareness of the problem they were causing.
What can they teach? Don’t just help others for the sake of getting something in return. Help others in order to help others, nothing more.
Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.
7. Martin Luther King
Why are they inspiring? Martin Luther King is most prominently known for his “I have a dream” speech in which he stood up for what he believes in. This speech led to public awareness of civil rights movements and also made him known as one of the greatest orators in history.
What can they teach? Do things for the greater good of humanity, rather than just focusing on your own mind-made constraints.
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
8. Mother Teresa
Why are they inspiring? She spent 45 years of her life caring for the sick, poor and dying while raising awareness for her organization: “Missions of Charity”. Her work started in India then spread to other parts of the world.
What can they teach? We are all one, you are not alone in this journey of life, and therefore you shouldn’t see yourself as more or less than anyone else.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
9. Lord Buddha
Why are they inspiring? Siddhattha Gotama was thought of as the ‘enlightened one’ and still to this day inspires people with his messages of peace, oneness and living in the moment.
What can they teach? Do not take anybody’s messages as fact. Use what works for you and dismiss the rest.
Only accept what passes the test by proving useful and beneficial in your life.
10. Winston Churchill
Why are they inspiring? Winston Churchill was the prime minister of the UK, a Nobel-prize winning writer, an author and a officer in the British Army. He was also made the first honorary citizen of the United States.
What can they teach? Don’t take life so seriously, enjoy the simplicity in everything.
A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.
11. Muhammad Ali
Why are they inspiring? In 1999, Ali was crowned ‘Sportsman of the Century’ by the BBC after retiring with three boxing heavy-weight world championships to his name.
What can they teach? Be willing to grow and evolve on your journey through life. Don’t remain stagnant in your ways and mindsets.
A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.