There are some people you meet in life, even if it is only for a passing conversation, who inspire you and fill you up with a sense of optimism and possibility.
The people who, by the very virtue of who they are, show you what humans are capable of.
Why is it these people are able to stir the chords of passion and inspiration in us?
I think so often it is because these are the people who have made their own way.
They have followed their own path and poo-pooed the nay-sayers.
They are inspiring because they are true to who they are, and honesty in any form connects with people.
These are the people who by doing show us what we can achieve, and show us the power of each of us as individuals to shape our own lives.
People who have such deep-seated belief in their own place and purpose – or even more, those that don’t but do it anyway because they believe in something.
In a world where politicians change rhetoric on a dime (or an opinion poll), and where people continually re-create themselves online to fit the latest fad, coming across people who are so clear in who they are and where they want to go is refreshing.
Those who are not swayed by others or the pressures society places on them to coform, ‘get a real job’, ‘grow up’, or whatever the case may be.
They just quietly go about their business and without ceremony or fanfare achieve extraordinary things.
So often these are not the ones you will find posting inspirational memes on social media, they are the ones who just get on with it.
Interviewing author Heather Rose this week about her book The Museum of Modern Love, which has just been longlisted for the Stella Prize, I was left with just such a feeling of inspiration.
Because Heather is one of those people who does what she does purely for the love it.
“For me I write because I can’t stop writing, I have to write that’s my job in life – it’s a compelling force in me to be a writer, it’s my lifes work” she told me.
And when recognition does come along, it seems often to be a surprise because the task was never undertaken for recognition.
“When these moments of acknowledgement come along they're a really big surprise and they are truly delightful,” Heather said.
“It is a remarkable thing to see any work get recognition mostly because that’s not why we do it.”
It doesn’t even need to be anyone who has won and award, or been featured in Australian Story, who inspires.
Anyone has the opportunity to excel in their own world.
Even if it will never make the headlines, each person’s passion can have a positive effect on those around them.
Because the important thing is not the what, it’s the why.
What you do is regardless, why you do it is the thing that inspires.
So I set myself a challenge, to live for the why. To forget the what and the where and the who.
To cast off the askance looks, the whispered words and the open criticism and to follow my own path.
I hope one day I can inspire someone about their potential, to help them have the courage to do their life’s calling.
And yes, all this can be dismissed as naive – but I would rather be naive than cynical any day.