Success is not final and failure not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts. Often, we find ourselves in unfavourable situations and start wondering why everything goes wrong only with us! Life is unbiased and time tests everyone, even the people that are reaching stars today have gone through rough times. Here are twenty most inspirational people of the twenty-first century to look up to when life isn’t all mellow.
20. Mark Zuckerberg:
Mark Zuckerberg has transitioned from a college drop-out to the youngest billionaire on this planet. From early ages, he always excelled in school and was considered amongst the top students. This brilliant mind got admission in Harvard University, one of the best schools in world. While in college, he made many websites who got controversially popular as one of them encouraged people to judge others on the basis of appearance. Later with his friends, he launched ‘The Facebook’ (now, Facebook) which became an instant hit. Today, Facebook has over 700 million users! Apart from being an entrepreneur, Zuckerberg is a philanthropist and invests a lot in projects all over the world to connect more and more people to the internet.
19. Desmond Tutu:
Desmond Tutu is a South African social rights activist and Bishop. He is known for his colossal work against apartheid in South Africa. Blacks in Africa were denied the right to vote and were forced to live in some specific isolated areas, Tutu raised his voice against the mistreatment and supported an economic boycott of his country. His work however was not only limited to Apartheid. He campaigned to fight against sexism, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty, homophobia and transphobia. He was awarded by the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. His achievements have instilled a pride in every student, a faith that everything is possible and we can become what the potential in us says we can become.
18. Bill Gates:
Bill Gates believed in achieving goals through hard work. The richest man on Earth, Gates is the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. He was only 15 years old when he developed a software to optimize road traffic and sold it for $20,000! When he opened Microsoft, he could not afford a pro sales manager which affected his products distribution and hence got his mom to do the job. Bill Gates was the first to propose that softwares needed to be protected too like other works. This has hugely contributed to today’s software systems.
17. Patrick Henry Hughes:
Patrick Henry Hughes is a super-talented, hard-working musician who was born without eyes and with crippled limbs making him unable to walk. His father introduced him to piano at a very early age of 9 months! His talent was spotted by the media and was later invited to play piano and sing at various places throughout the country. In 2008, he published his own book called ‘I Am Potential’. The recipient of many National Awards, this 28 year old blind, wheel-chair bound guy doesn’t fail to inspire the world.
16. APJ Abdul Kalam:
The ‘Missile Man’ of India is an epitome of humility, kindness and sheer intelligence. Before becoming India’s 11th President, he was a scientist at Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and is held credible for developments in ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. After becoming the President, he donated all his salary to charitable fund. He believed that as he was going to be under government’s care, all his savings and salaries should be used for better purposes. He died doing what he loved the most, interacting with young minds, as he was delivering a lecture at a renowned institute of an apparent cardiac arrest. He was an illuminating personality that inspired millions around the world, not only to be a diligent and hard working person , but to be a compassionate human being first.
15. Pope Francis:
He is the first Latin-American to lead a Roman Catholic Church. He is characterized by his humility, and an outspoken support for the poor and needy. He actively participates in environmental and political debates. He has a fondness for music and dancing. He is recognized as one of the most outspoken Popes of all times.
14. Liz Murray:
Liz Murray’s life has turned into a best-seller, “From homeless to Harvard”. Daughter of two drug addicts, she became homeless at the age of fifteen as her mother died of HIV and father was moved to a homeless people’s shelter. Her childhood was full of traumatic experiences. Sometimes she and her sister would split a tube of toothpaste for dinner, as they mostly starved while their parents spent all the money on cocaine. A 15 year old girl living on streets and sleeping on park benches sounds terrifying. While most of the people in such conditions would resort with being able to afford daily meal, Murray had bigger dreams. She attended a local school and after graduating, she got a scholarship for needy people to get into Harvard University. Today, she encourages teenagers to work hard and follow their dreams an not use childhood hardship as an excuse.
13. Stephen Hawking:
He is the living Einstein of today’s world. Known for his extraordinary work in the field of physics, he has devoted all his life to work on a single theory that describes our existence in the universe. But things never came easy in his life. Even after being almost fully paralysed, nothing has stopped him from working. An ill-fated disease never came in the way of this brilliant scientist as he still works non-stop in research and development.
12. Nick Vujicic:
Nick Vujicic is born with a rare disorder, Phocomelia, in which a person is born with absence of legs and arms. It is no shocker how much Vujicic must have struggled emotionally and physically, but he came to terms with his disability. He refused to believe that he was any less than others. He plays golf and soccer, surfs and swims remarkably well. He graduated at the age of 21 and became a motivational speaker and founded his own foundation called ‘Life Without Limbs’. This guy is a bundle of inspiration and a role model for anyone seeking inspiration.
11. Barack Obama:
He is the first black person to ever become President of the United States. That’s not it, he won the presidency twice in a row in 2008 and 2012. He faced a lot of challenges while in power. America was officially declared in ‘recession’ and he boosted the economy and helped struggling financial institutions. Every time you see that black man, you would see hope. By becoming the first African-American President, Barack Obama has created the idea that anything is possible within the black community. And he has proved it, that’s the most important thing in the world.
10. Ben Underwood:
Ben Underwood was a blind teenager that ‘sees’ with echolocation! He was diagnosed with retinal cancer at the age of two and had both of his eyes removed. He defied blindness as a disability. So, what is echolocation after all and how does it help him ‘see’ things? Echolocation is a technique used by bats, dolphins and a lot of other animals to navigate and determine where objects are in space by sending out sound waves using the echoes to derive their distance from the person. While echolocation is tough to learn, Underwood became so good at this that he could even differentiate between a truck and a car and even the different materials. He died at the age of 16 as the cancer grew to his brain and spine but this magical kid will inspire us for years.
09. Ratan Tata:
Entrepreneur and philanthropist, Ratan Tata is the mastermind behind building the world’s cheapest car, ‘Tata Nano’. Although he was the grandson of Jamsetji Tata, an Indian pioneer industrialist, he joined Tata Group as a general worker. Under his leadership, Tata acquired huge companies like Jaguar Land Rover, Corus and started a consulting firm called TCS which is responsible for employing scad of engineers in India and the world.
08. Kailash Satyarthi:
The Nobel Peace prize laureate, Satyarthi is known for “Bachpan Bachao Andolan”, which worked against child labour. He works for children’s rights and education. He has acted to protect the rights of more than 80,000 children across the world from round 144 countries. It was due to Satyarthi’s tremendous efforts against child labour that International Labour Organisation adopted convention 182 on worst forms of child labour, which is now a fundamental guideline for governments in most of the countries.
07. Oprah Winfrey:
Apart from being the host of one of the most watched talk show in the world, ‘Oprah Winfrey Show’, she is an influential author, philanthropist and actor. She has broken cultural, social and gender barriers, letting the world know that it’s not your circumstances, but your heart that determines how far you go in this world. She did not have a promising childhood and had to face a variety of hardships in her teenage life. She lived in extreme poverty with her grandparents after her parents separated. At the tender age of nine, she was raped by her cousin, her uncle and a family friend. Frustrated from her life at home, she ran away at the age of thirteen. Oprah brought focus to various important issues of American women through her books and shows. She is considered to be one of the most philanthropist person in the world with her contribution equivalent to approx $303 million. She is a role model for black women around the globe.
06. Indra Nooyi:
The Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi is an India-born American. She has earned a top-20 spot on the list of World’s 100 Most Powerful Women since 2006. Yup, 10 years in a row! She has directed PepsiCo for more than a decade now and it is her hard work and innovative skills that the company has increased research and development by 25%.
05. Dalai Lama:
The Dalai Lama is a Tibetan leader living in exile. The Chinese invasion in Tibet has destructed a lot of Tibetan culture and has caused a threat upon it. Dalai Lama is a preacher and practitioner of Buddhism ideology and is known worldwide for his exceptional books on spreading non-violence and compassion.
04. Muhammad Ali:
The most celebrated boxing athlete, Ali is an American with numerous trophies in his name, an Olympic gold shining on top. Initially, Cassius Clay, he changed his name after converting to Islam in 1975. His struggle with Parkinson’s disease and his public stance against the Vietnam War is what he is famously known for. He refused to serve in battle as his religious beliefs prevented him from fighting. He devoted much of his time in philanthropy and is an inspiration for athletes, Blacks, Muslims and everyone around the world.
03. Leo Messi:
Lionel Messi is recognized as the best player in soccer. Even after a lot of struggle in early life, he never slowed down. At the age of 11, he was diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency and required immediate medical treatment. Many local clubs wanted to hire Messi but didn’t want to pay for his treatments. Barcelona then signed a contract with him and paid for all his medical expenses. Messi kept improvising and breaking his own records, now to be one of the greatest footballers of all times.
02. Malala Yousafzai:
Malala Yousafzai took a bullet in the head for what a lot of us take for granted, education. She is a Pakistani women’s education right activist. At the mere age of 11, she started writing blogs for BBC on the conditions of girl’s education in Pakistan, for which she constantly received life threats and was later shot by a Taliban gunman. She survived and spoke more wisely, articulately and strongly than ever. She received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her tremendous work in this field.
01. Nelson Mandela:
The former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela is known for his tremendous work against the unjust nature of South American Society. Mandela fought for equal rights for black people and the journey wasn’t easy. He was arrested and sentenced to life-imprisonment. Life at prison was rough but he made sure he utilized every bit of time there. Through a slow and difficult process, he was finally released in 1990. This made headlines and was a very emotional moment around the world. Four years later he was appointed the President of South Africa. Nelson Mandela’s story is a true inspiration for generations to come.
If we remain true to ourselves and keep working forward, however slow, achieving success isn’t hard because every accomplishment starts with a decision to try.