Below you find a list of inspirational people throughout history. These people push themselves to achieve greatness and made significant changes in history. They were not afraid to step out of their comfort zones, make sacrifices, take risks and believe in themselves. They are filled with passion, enthusiasm and are optimistic about their journey. This list of inspiring people from history should help you to gain the confidence to go out into the world to make extraordinary changes. They are just regular people, the only difference is hard work, determination, resilience, and bravery. Don’t be afraid to step out and create groundbreaking history like these folks.
Albert Einstein (1879–1955)- He came from a working-class family. He is known to be an original free-thinker. He self-taught himself and said the following quote “School failed me, and I failed the school. It bored me”. For those that are struggling with school, desire to pursue an entrepreneurial path, trouble following rules or want to invent things. Einstein can be used as an example to discover your own unique talent to live a remarkable life.
Helen Keller (1880–1968)- Despite having the disability of being both blind and deaf, she manages to become the first deaf-blind person in history to earn a bachelor’s degree and an advocate for disability issues. We can use Helen as an inspiration to overcome difficult circumstances and keep going until we achieve our dreams.
Martin Luther King Jr (1929–1968)- Known to a brave inspiring leader in history. He attended a segregated school and didn’t like the racial inequalities in America. He was very passionate and wanted an equal society. He stood out and protest, which lead to drastic political changes. We can use Martin Luther King Jr as an inspiration to make the world a better place regardless of race, gender or social class.
Buddha (c 563–483BC) was a young prince, born into a palace with all comfort and luxuries. He eventually realized that there are many people in this world that are suffering from illness, greed, and gratification. He was unhappy and decided to take control of his life and follow his own destiny to discover a deeper meaning of life, which was mediation. From Buddha inspirational story, we can learn that wealth alone does not bring long-term happiness, and it is okay to not seek approval from others. He escaped the luxurious lifestyle as a prince and pursue his own path in life through meditation and teaching others.
Rosa Parks (1913–2005)- She became famous for her refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a bus. Rosa Parks story illustrates how ordinary people can make a difference through everyday actions. She believed it was unfair to surrender her seat to another human being because of race. She fought, was arrested and went to trial. Rosa Parks inspirational action can teach us to never settle for unfairness and injustice and to stand up for what we believe in. And, someday we can also earn an iconic status in history like Rosa Parks.
Dalai Lama (1938– present) Was chosen to be a Buddhist monk. He was a political leader for a country under invasion and corruption. He followed a non-violent approach to deal with issues. Despite the environment, he manages to wake up early in the morning to exercise, meditate and follow a vegetarian diet. From Dalai Lama story, we can learn to prioritize qualities that are most important such as our health, wisdom, and peace. In this chaotic world, it is important to not let external factors affect your wellbeing. If we prioritize important qualities like Dalai, we can be the best version ourselves. This means to not be involved in gossiping, drama (or stalking your enemy on social media), those are useless things.
He witnesses geographical conflicts as a result of religious differences. He said the following quote “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” He believes the world needs more kindness, and love regardless of religious beliefs.
Pope Francis (1936– ) Became the Pope in 2013 of the Catholic Church. He tends to focus on the traditional principles of the gospel such as modesty, helping less fortunate people, and humility. He has a reputation for a simple lifestyle and refuses to live in luxurious apartments and fancy clothing. Pope Francis has a ritual of washing the feet of the poor, even those in jail or hospital. From his inspirational character, we can learn to always remain humble. Even after becoming pope, he didn’t become arrogant like many wealthy people and felt like he was on top of the world. He treated poor people equally and with respect. Regardless of our wealth and possessions, we are all equal in this world. If we all can think like Pope Francis, we would have more inner peace from the elimination of competition and live happier lives. He said the following quote, “If money and material things become the center of our lives, they seize us and make us slaves”.
Nelson Mandela (1918–2013)- Grew up in South Africa, under the Apartheid system of government, where racial inequality was present and a man could have a higher paying job because of his skin color. Nelson Mandela had a strong vision to change the system of government. He dedicated his entire life for this and was thrown in prison for 27 years. Then later president of his country in 1994. From Nelson Mandela legacy, we can learn to never give up on passion and dreams, no matter how long it takes, or the obstacles that may come our way. He said the following quote “Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.” In other words, when you follow your destiny, you gain a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment and the end of our journey, there won’t be any regrets, which leads to eternal peace.
Jesus Christ (c5 BCE–30 CE)- A prophet and inspiration to Christianity and people from all walks of life. He taught the message of forgiveness, love, and faith. After his crucifixion, his teachings and life lead to the emergence of Christianity and became the dominant religion in the western world. Jesus is a great inspirational leader because he accepted outsiders, the people who were rejected by society. His disciples were not religious, but he accepted them to start his church. From this, we can learn to accept everyone that crosses our path. Regardless of their status in society, their education or race. Everyone has unique gifts and ability to contribute, and we can all learn from each other. The Bible and Jesus also place an emphasis on teamwork. With the 12 men that Jesus called “disciples”, he encourages people to work together. As Proverbs 27:17 states, “Iron sharpens iron”, with teamwork we can accomplish great things. As humans, we are designed to need each other. Nobody has all the wisdom, skills and gifts necessary for a successful life. And, if working towards a common goal, jealousy and competition should not be part of teamwork. As quoted in the bible, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor” Ecclesiastes 4:9–12. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help, establishing a team, or having a partner to work with. The results and success will be abundant.
Mother Teresa (1910–1997) A christ-like modern figure. Our source of happiness can come from many things such as music, good food, spending time with our loved ones, etc but for Mother Teresa, it was helping the poor. She lived a selfless life filled with love, compassion, and generosity. Her ‘career’ was basically charity work, that she was extremely passionate about. She said the following quote, “Work without love is slavery.” A large portion of our days is spent at work, an average of 35 hours weekly. Our work has a huge impact on our lives, it is important to be passionate and love what we do, or else it would be a life wasted.
Leonardo da Vinci ( 1452–1519) is a creative genius. He is well-known for his famous works of art such as The Last Supper, Mona Lisa, and The Vitruvian. He was also a scientist, anatomist, engineer, biologist, and experimenter. His education level was very formal, with just basic writing, reading, and math. Most of his achievements and success came from self-education. He questioned everything about his surroundings, and he actively seeks answers to his questions. From dissecting animals to operating machines and to paintings– they were no boundaries to his imagination and creativity. From Leonardo da Vinci inspiring personality, we can learn to embrace curiosity and question things. Also, learning and success takes time and requires patience. It took Leonardo years to discover the human anatomy. In his career, he didn’t limit himself to one field. He had multiple interests and pursue all of them.