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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Astrophysicist & communicator extraordinaire

Who inspires you?

Who inspires you? Who do you inspire? Do you ever think about that? Inspiration is not a small deal, in fact it's quite important. I've talked about it often (see Inspiration Matters from last year). Most good presenters inspire the audience. Good leaders and good teachers certainly inspire others and are also inspired by those around them. I've found a lot of inspiration from TED over the years, and Sir Ken Robinson is without a doubt my favorite TED presenter of all time. Below Sir Ken gives an amazing 2-minute talk on his source of inspiration.

Make a list
Who (or what, etc.) inspires you? You probably do not think about it so much. I hadn't. So I made this list. What's your list look like? Here's mine:

Who: My beautiful mother, my departed father, my lovely wife.
What: Jazz, the Zen arts, nature, the sun, the ocean.
Where: Japanese mountains and villages, the Oregon coast, Hawaii.
When: Always when I don't expect it.
Why: No inspiration, no life. Simple.
How: Keep eyes & ears open always; listen more than speak.

Above slide: Lone runner, Cannon Beach. Oregon (USA).

So, who inspires you?

Sir Ken Robinson's new book
I highly recommend The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, Ken Robinson's brand new book. Inspiring indeed.


Trevor Black

That is remarkable. Just last night I had one of those moments you never forget of inspiration. I started reading 'Out of our minds' by Ken Robinson and eventually had to put the book down else I would have read through the night. I forced myself to write a post about it before I hit the pillow (Creativity Block) and sited both the inspiration and the fact that you had introduced both TED and Ken Robinson to me.

Ken, Seth Godin and yourself have sparked a level of creative energy in me that I admittedly had, but is now bubbling over.

Thank you.

Emmanuel Gobillot

A lovely post and a wonderful 2 minutes from Sir Ken some years ago in the UK the government ran a very memorable (not sure about how successful) advert to recruit teachers. the advert just said 'you never forget a good teacher'.

That advert stayed with me as I realized that the people who inspire us are simply the people who make us stronger. Whether politicians, academics, family members (such as Sir Ken's father or others from any walk of life those who make us stronger who make us feel more capable are the ones who inspire us.

It is not necessary for them to make us feel good (as we are reminded in the clip when Sir Ken's father makes him study harder) yet because of their intent directed towards making us strong they inspire us.

And at the risk of sounding sycophantic, I am often inspired by your posts. Thanks you as always.

Jonathan Thomas

One of the most inspirational things is to see passion exuding from someone. No matter what their passion is, to see them embrace it (especially if it leads them off the path of certain success to one of uncertainty) inspires me.

Also, the "Presentation Zen" book, which inspired me to commence the journey I've been on for the past few months. See you at Presentation//Reboot!


I love that you kick off with mother/father/wife.
For me most of my inspiration comes from my feisty elderly female relatives (102, 89, 92). They have lived lives I can not imagine and come through the other without a dollop of bitterness but JOY in simply being alive.

love your blog.


This post inspired me to think about who inspires me. Thanks!


Seth Godin talks about this in his book Tribes, and in a presentation he said that leaders should "inspire to be inspiring." I agree to 100%. And, isn't that what you do for us with the Presentation Zen blog? Sure it is.

Milan Davidovic

"Who inspires you?" is a *very* different question from "Where do you find inspiration?". The former makes someone else the subject; the latter makes *you* the subject, and is (I think) a more effective prompt to reflect on yourself:

- Where do you find inspiration?
- Why those places, and not others?
- etc.

Gabe O'Neill

All the children featured on the web site called KidsAreHeroes.com inspire me. Kids as young as 7-years-old are doing some amazing things to help others. They are our future world leaders. It is important to surround yourself with people that inspire you.

Twitter ID @KidsAreHeroes

Maureen Thomson

Thanks for a thought-provoking post. For me:

Who: My 4 year old granddaughter, my husband, Barbara Winter (www.joyfullyjobless.com), my clients, my friend Dixie.
What: walking the beach, in the bathtub, walking in nature, reading an inspirational work
Where: anywhere I travel
When: when I'm receptive to it
Why: it keeps me from being beige!
How: Anticipate inspiration around every corner!


Great video and thoughts posted here. My friends and family inspire me every minute that I'm open to receiving inspiration (admittedly, not all the time). So that is something I can work on.

Marc, Paris

You! (no kidding)

Mike Fladlien

In my class, I dedicate my presentations to former students. This inspires me to present the material with enthusiasm in creative ways. Your book was inspiring and so is Bill Stickland.

Mark Juane

Great question, Garr!

I can't live without inspiration. It is the fuel of my heart and soul.

Who: Tom Peters, Lee Kuan Yew, Erwin McManus, Louie Giglio
What: musical theatre, underdog movies (Miracle, Remember the Titans), passionate artists, oceans and mountains
Where: Edmonds, Washington...Vancouver, BC
When: Each and every day when possible.
Why: No inspiration, no life. Simple. (I agree with Garr here)
How: Seek out inspiring people, places and experiences.


So many inspiring people. From the chick at my local Subway who greets a gazillion lunchtime patrons with "sweetie" and a smile and means it, to the famous: Dan Pink, Pam Slim, Jeanette Maw, Guy Kawasaki, Jonathan Fields. And so many new people I, too, have discovered at TED.com!

Inspiration usually comes in the form of personal development topics or art (art includes gardening, writing, painting, etc). Presentation Zen combines both! Awesome.

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