By Akanksha Sharma
Being the Founder of an online magazine like Indspire Me, whose tagline is ‘Inspiring India and Beyond’, I cannot count the number of times that I have received the question. ‘Does reading inspirational stories really make a difference in people’s lives?’. My answer has always been an unequivocal, ‘Yes.’
Having faced this question so many times, I figured it was high time to sit down and pen a post to explain why I consider it a worthy effort to dedicate my time, energy and resources to running a platform that showcases inspirational stories.
My Life has changed because of One Person’s Inspirational Story
The year was 2016, and I was working in an NGO called Score Foundation, based in Delhi. I had just recovered from a debilitating slipped-disc injury which had left me bed-ridden for seven months. Finally, my health improved and I was able to re-join the workforce. Why I chose to join the non-profit sector after a successful professional stint in Singapore is a story for another day. Anyway, I was feeling quite pumped up after joining Score Foundation, as I was happy to be back to work; up and running. Honestly, my time on the bed had been a very gloomy and depressing time. I would wallow in self-pity and keep dreaming about a day when I could walk and even run, pain-free. I fantasized about getting ready of the heaviness in my lower back and replacing it with pure lightness. I cursed fate, and often asked myself, ‘Why me? Why at such a young age?’.
When I joined the NGO, I was not completely healed. There were days when I would have to wear a back-brace while coming to work in the metro. It was a very ugly thing and made me feel very self-conscious. I would have a problem with the office chair, and my back would randomly start aching. But there was one person whom I met in the office, whose story gave me an entirely new perspective on life.
Her name is Binni Kumari. She has been blind since she was six months old. She is a Manager with Score Foundation, and is one of the most capable young women I have ever met in my life. This is a woman, who lives with a friend in Garhi village, in Delhi. She travels to and from office by Rickshaw, all by herself. She uses a Smart Cane for mobility assistance and a phone application called Tap Tap See to take photographs. She goes to the temple on weekends, and is often found speaking and sharing her learnings at reputable platforms all across India. To top it all, she is one of the most positive, determined and playful people whom you will ever meet. To read Binni’s interview with me, click here.
When we read about Ordinary People who are Doing Extraordinary Things, We Can Learn & Relate
When we read about celebrities doing incredible things, we feel awe. We follow their lives and lifestyles because they are aspirational for us. However, we can’t really relate to them. They exist behind a screen of pomp, show and illusion. On the other hand, when we read inspirational stories of ordinary folks like us, we can relate to them. They are closer to us. We get curious to know how they achieved their success. We want to learn about the steps they took to get where they are right now. This is because their circumstances are similar to ours, and it is very likely that they faced similar obstacles or challenges in their journey as well.
The human mind is wired to be drawn to such information that it perceives will be helpful in ensuring its survival and success. Inspirational stories are good examples of such information.
If you Make Inspiration a Habit, then Inspiration Will Work For You
The more you feed your mind positive and inspirational content, the more positive your mind will become. The more positive your mind is, the more energetic and focussed it will become. Feeding consistent inspiration to your brain will make positivity a habit for you. Indeed, the information we consume has a big impact on the way we perceive the world as well as our mental state. In fact, one of the people I look up to most in the world, Bob Proctor talks about the power of the subconscious mind in this video. Bookmark this link and check it out later when you have time. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this.
Inspiration leads to Hope and Hope is the most Powerful Asset you or I can have
These days I am attending classes of the IIT Delhi WEE Fellowship on alternate Sundays. This Sunday, I had the privilege of listening to Paralympics Silver Medallist Deepa Malik and Popxo CEO, Priyanka Gill. They had came to the class to give guest lectures. I was simply blown away when I heard the two of them talk. In fact, I will go out on a limb and say that Sunday, the 3rd of June, 2018 has been my most inspirational day of the year thus far. I will write more about what exactly those talks were about at a later date.
Anyway, as a consequence of being surrounded by all that awesomeness, my energy when I went to work on Monday was simply unbelievable. I do believe I have got a new lease of life in my entrepreneurial journey. I am full of hope, and it is not empty hope. I now see patterns before me; of new ways of seeing, new ways of being and new ways of doing things. There are pathways that others have trodden before me. There are lessons and learnings and most importantly, there is hope.
So, I would say that make hope your cornerstone, and yes, be selective about the kind of media that you consume, be it Indspire Me or any other positive portal that you like. Your time is precious and you should be very judicious about what you are doing to your mind and your mindset with the kind of content you feed it.
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