• Dr. Rajesh Mohan Rai

Being a source of inspiration

Article originally published in The New Indian Express.


To be inspired is great but to inspire is an honour. Inspire: To instill in someone the motivation, enthusiasm and courage to do better things and achieve more. This is how dictionary defines the term. Motivating others leads you to success whereas inspiring others leads to greatness. The words, Motivation and Inspiration, which are used interchangeably, have been differentiated very clearly by Ken Poirot.

In order to master how to inspire others, you must lead by example. This means exhibiting conviction and courage to act, to stay relentless yet flexible and agile, being authentic, the true you in everything you do. In the 1980s, AIDS arrived on the world stage. It was a new disease, alarming and with no cure, and was spreading at a rampant pace through communities and countries. Most people believed that you could get infected from AIDS by touching someone who had it. Sufferers were shunned, and up to 50 percent of the people polled in the US believed that those with AIDS should be isolated.


On April 19, 1987, Princess Diana, one of the most famous people in the world at that time, opened the first unit in the UK dedicated to treating people with HIV and AIDS. During her visit, she shook the hands of a patient without wearing gloves, and changed people’s perceptions of the disease forever. This incident inspired many. What you do has a far greater impact than what you say ~ Stephen Covey.


To inspire others, you must be able to connect with them at an emotional level. Martin Luther King was the most prominent leader in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s (until his assassination in 1968). He developed his movement of civil disobedience and nonviolence on the successes of Mahatma Gandhi and received the Nobel Peace Prize. On October 14, 1964, he made a speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that continues to inspire people even today. He connected with the people at the emotional level. You must utilise empathy to discover what other people want and need. By considering their perspective, you’ll discover their point of view while also easing your own anxieties. With practice, you’ll learn that connecting with emotions, especially empathy, is one of the most powerful tools in mastering how to inspire others. Extraordinary people always inspire others ~ Ron Baratono.



To inspire, the gap between preaching and practice has to be nil. I would like to mention about Alagarathanam Natarajan. After moving back to India from London, the sweltering heat of Delhi summers prompted Natarajan to turn his attention to water and how he could help address this issue. He took it upon himself to install several matkas, or earthen pots, in various parts of South Delhi, this feat has earned him the nickname of ‘Matka Man’. He refills each one of them through a van that he drives around himself. He is working on a mission to make his colony the symbol of kindness and care. More and more people are joining him in his mission. The desire to inspire and the ability to inspire are two very different things ~Anonymous.


Inspiration is all about success and improved performance. A key component to driving a successful transformation is to inspire new behaviours in others. To achieve this, you must clarify the purpose. The purpose must be clearly communicated to them while reaching up to the ultimate needs and wants of others. The purpose must get aligned to the value system of the people. Weave a story. You make a difference by inspiring others to make a difference ~ Anonymous.


Storytelling is a powerful tool to creatively outline the elements of the changes needed for the transformation. A good story includes a hero, the destination i.e. what transformation really looks like, the challenges that are in the way and the ways in which they can be overcome. The story has to be repeated again and again until sparks are turned into embers. You have to ensure that the narrative becomes a shared story. This brings the commitment in others to do more and achieve better results. To get people to follow us, first we have to believe in ourselves and our potential to do more ~ Tanveer Naseer.


When someone reaches out to you for help, provide the tentative guidelines for the person to move forward in the right direction; however, leave something for the person’s creativity and imagination. It allows them the freedom to fill in the blanks. When people discover that they are capable of figuring things out by themselves, they will find out that they are more powerful than they ever thought. You don’t inspire people by revealing your superpowers. You inspire people help them discover their superpowers ~ Anonymous.

Success is not just about what you accomplish in your life, it is about what you inspire others to do.