Inspirational Messages For LIfe

Hypeless Messages To Show Life Is Not Hopeless

Archive for the ‘Inspirational Stories’ Category

Inspiration Messages From Hannah Cockroft

 
 

Hannah Cockroft Winning A Heat At The 2012 London Paralympic Games

 
In the 2012 New Years honours list many Olympians, Paralympians and other people who have provided inspiration messages for us during the year received well-deserved recognition. For me, one of the most deserved awards was an MBE for the wheelchair athlete Hannah Cockroft.

Born on 30 July 1992 in Halifax, Hannah suffered two cardiac arrests as she was born and these damaged her brain so that she had impaired balance and mobility, weak hips, and deformed feet and legs. Doctors believed Hannah would never be able to walk, talk or live beyond adolescence. It was expected she would never be able to look after herself.

Hannah told reporters “I don’t like people telling me what to do. My parents put me in standing frames I hated them for it at the time but now I cannot thank them enough.”

With the support of her parents, Hannah did not let her challenges stop her and in school she became interested in sport, competing in swimming, seated discus, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair racing. Her bubbly personality meant she found the inspiration messages to enjoy her sport. Her father was a welder and built a racing wheelchair for her.

In 2007, Hannah went to a British Paralympic Association open day at Loughborough University where she met Dr. Ian Thompson who was married to the wheelchair-racing champion Tanni Grey-Thompson. Hannah says, “Ian let me have a go in his wheelchair and I loved it. I’d never experienced anything like it before. You go and you don’t stop.” Dr. Thompson agreed to coach Hannah for the first year, providing the words of motivation she needed to get her career started.

Hannah received a new wheelchair from the WhizzKids charity, which helped her mobility and the following year a dance academy she attended gave her the money to buy her own racing wheelchair. This was the famous chair she named ‘Sally’ and she used to gain great success in subsequent years.

Hannah was invited to join the British Paralympic team.

At the 2010 British Wheelchair Athletics Association International championships she broke four world records. Initially she was aiming for success at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro but her new coach Peter Eriksson provided the words of motivation she needed to aim for London 2012.

Hannah continued to break records leading up the London Games and, once the events started, she won the first track and field gold medal for Great Britain winning the T4 100 metres in a new Paralympic record time. A week later she won her second gold in the T34 200 metres – again in a record time.

Voted by FHM magazine as ‘the sexiest Paralympic athlete’, Hannah has managed to retain her down-to-earth bubbly personality and is now training for future races. “There is always something to aim for, you’ve just got to find it and concentrate on it.”

In the meantime Hannah finds time to provide inspiration messages for other people, using her newfound fame to help others achieve in the way she has.

“You meet some people who’ve had accidents and they’re like ‘my life is so terrible, I’m disabled, feel sorry for me’, and then you meet others who say their life is so much better now and that’s just amazing to hear. I’ve been disabled since birth and I’ve always been a bit cocky, but it’s really inspirational to meet people who don’t think that life stops when you get put in a wheelchair.”

“Miss Hannah Lucy Cockroft MBE has a certain ring to it don’t you think?” She says on Facebook.

The video below gives a great impression of the personality of this strong but endearing athlete.
 


 
 

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Words Of Motivation: The Inspiring Simon Weston

 
 
We all need words of motivation in our lives at some time or other. Things go wrong and we feel frustrated or even desperate.

Somehow we need to find the inspiration messages that help us to carry on and even drive forward to achieve what we dream about, what we desire, whether that involves money or simply quality of life.

One man found his life turned upside down during the Falklands War 30 years ago. Simon Weston was in the hold of the ship the Sir Galahad when a bomb pierced the side and exploded close to him. He watched his friends die before he managed to struggle out with horrific injuries. It took surgeons 70 major operations over a period of years to help Simon back to a position something approaching normality.

Many of us would crumble under such circumstances but Simon Weston has made his experiences his inspiration to do a lot of good for his fellow human beings. He has become a successful author and television presenter but most significantly he has become a tireless worker for charities and a compelling inspirational speaker. I was lucky enough to see him talk once and can tell you his words of motivation had a great effect on me.
 
Find out more about Simon on his website SimonWeston.com.
 


 
 

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Short Inspiring Stories: Shirley Bassey – The Tiger From Tiger Bay


If you are looking for inspiration messages to find ways to achieve what you want then the story of Dame Shirley Bassey, one of the most powerful singers alive today, will give you the words of motivation you need.

Born on 8 January 1937, Shirley’s first years were spent in Tiger Bay on the edge of Cardiff. It has been said she was born above a brothel in a dockyards slum, the seventh and last child of a Nigerian father (Henry – real name Okun Apauso) and Yorkshire mother. Her mother, Eliza, had been married before and had four children from that relationship.

Sadly, her father was imprisoned for having sex with a minor and then deported. The mother and children then moved to the steel working district of Splott where they lived in grinding poverty, even finding food was a problem.

Even at school, Shirley’s voice was remarkable and she was asked to tone it down for the school choir. After leaving education, she worked as a packer at a local factory whilst singing in pubs and clubs after work and at weekends. It was Eliza who always encouraged the young Shirley to sing to keep her out of mischief.

The first professional contract came in 1953, when Shirley sang in a musical based on the life of Al Jolson and then a musical called ‘Hot From Harlem.’ At the age of 16, she became pregnant (her daughter, Sharon) and took a job waiting on tables.

In 1955 an agent, Michael Sullivan, heard about this talented singer and decided she would become a star. He had her touring theatres until the bandleader and impresario Jack Hylton saw her and booked as the star of a musical in London’s West End. This lead to a recording contract with her first single, ‘Burn My Candle,’ in 1956.

Her popularity slowly climbed until, in 1964, she recorded the theme to the James Bond film Goldfinger. This song made her a household name on both sides of the Atlantic, something Shirley had hoped for since starting a cabaret act previously. She has recorded three themes for the Bond movies now and rumours suggest she may be about to record a fourth.

Her singing career has continued to offer inspiration messages to everyone. In 2007 Shirley had a deserved hit with The Living Tree, 50 years after her first chart single.

Unfortunately her personal life has not been so successful. Shirley married Kenneth Hulme in 1961 before realizing he was gay. They divorced in 1965 after she had an affair with actor Peter Finch. In 1968 she married Sergio Novak, a manager of a hotel in Rome and subsequently Shirley’s own manager. This marriage also ended in 1979.

Shirley Bassey, made a Dame in 1999, had two daughters, Sharon and Samantha although the fathers are unknown. Sadly, Samantha died in 1985 at the age of 21 in circumstances that are still to be explained. There is also one son, Mark, from who Shirley was estranged for some time but all seems to be reconciled now.

Sharon gave her mother four grandsons and Mark one granddaughter, who was a contestant on the X-Factor television programme.

Dame Shirley Bassey, now living in Monte Carlo, appeared at the Queens Jubilee concert on 4 June 2012, cementing her place as one of Britain’s great and most successful entertainers. Already a UNESCO Artist For Peace, she has also recently become patron of the Cardiff Women’s Aid charity, offering help for victims of domestic violence.

Clearly this larger-than-life personality has inspiration messages to offer us all.

Find out more on the Shirley Bassey Blog.


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Short Inspiring Stories: Violette Szabo

When it comes to short inspiring stories, can any be more so than those of the British Secret Agents who were part of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War?

I can remember, as a child, watching the film Carve Her Name With Pride.  It told the story of Violette Szabo.  Born in France, Violette had a French mother and English father. She was brought up in Brixton in South London and was working in a local department store at the start of World War Two.

Aged 19, she married Etienne Szabo, following a whirlwind romance. He died, two years later and Violette decided to offer her services to the SOE.

Violette’s first mission was successful.  It involved reorganising a French Resistance network that had been destroyed by the Germans. She led the group in sabotaging road and railway bridges and sent extremely important information by radio that informed Allied bombing raids.

For her second mission, Violette was flown to the Limoges area. It was June 1944 and Germany was trying to stop the effects of the Normandy landings. Her role was to co-ordinate efforts by the local Maquis to sabotage German communications.  During this mission, Violette was captured. She was interrogated and tortured and suffered hard labour and malnutrition.  Violette still managed to help save the life of a Belgian resistance courier.

Reading about women like Violette Szabo provides words of motivation. The poem written for her by Leo Marks as the basis for coded messages to England offers words of inspiration and strength.  It starts with the verse:

The Life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have is yours

 
H.G.
 
 

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Short Inspiring Stories: Lewis Hamilton’s Drive

 

In December 1995, Ron Dennis, the team principal of the McLaren Formula 1 team, attended the Autosport Awards ceremony. Whilst there, Dennis was approached by a small ten year old boy of mixed race for an autograph. The boy looked at Dennis and announced “Hi. I’m Lewis Hamilton. I won the British Championship and one day I want to be racing your cars.” Dennis smiled and wrote these words of motivation in the autograph book, “Phone me in nine years, we’ll sort something out then.”

Lewis Hamilton was born on 7 January 1985 in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. His father, Anthony, was himself born of Grenadian parents who came to England in the 1950s. His mother, Carmen Larbalestier was white British. Lewis (named after sprinter Carl Lewis) was brought up by his mother for ten years after his parents split in 1987 and then by his father and stepmother.

Lewis showed promise in motor sport very early on. His father bought him a radio-controlled car in 1991 and he came second in the BRDA national championship the following year against adult competitors. This success brought Lewis to the notice of the BBC and he was featured on the Blue Peter programme.

Motor racing is an extremely expensive sport but Anthony Hamilton told his son that he would support him as long as Lewis worked hard at school. To keep this promise, Anthony had to take redundancy as an IT manager and become a contractor, often working three jobs at a time to support his son. Eventually this determination led to Anthony setting up his own IT company and becoming manager for and giving words of motivation to Lewis and is now doing the same for the new boy in the Formula 1 world, Paul di Resta.

Lewis did work hard at school but even better at sports. He played cricket for his school and football too. Lewis feels if his racing career had not taken off he might have become a professional footballer. Interestingly he was bullied at school and took up Karate to help overcome this.

At the age of eight, Lewis began karting and began to achieve success in that field. In 1998, after he had won his second British karting championship, the telephone rang and it was Ron Dennis delivering on his promise early. Lewis was signed to the McLaren driver development programme, which included the option of a Formula 1 drive in the future.

In 2001, Michael Schumacher raced Hamilton in karts and was full of praise for his driving style. Shortly after this, Lewis started racing cars in Formula Renault.

After rising up through the formulae, Lewis Hamilton finally got his drive in a Formula 1 car in 2007 and celebrated with a third place in his first race. He went on to be the youngest driver to lead the world championship. In 2008 he went on to become the youngest world champion.

Lewis is very much determined to win, despite controversy along the way. In Spain in 2008 he was racially abused by spectators and recently his sometimes aggressive driving style has lead him to incur penalties from race stewards. He reflected after on race that he had “a platinum membership card” to the stewards’ office. One other driver has also been criticized for aggression in the recent past and that was seven times world champion Michael Schumacher.

Interestingly, Nicolas Hamilton, Lewis’ half-brother has cerebral palsy but has just started a racing career himself in the Renault Clio Cup. He is often to be seen with his father cheering Lewis on at Formula 1 races and was recently filmed at the 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix glaring as Lewis served a drive-through penalty.

Lewis Hamilton has both entertained and thrilled Formula 1 fans with his determination and his humanity. Presently teamed up with Former champion Jensen Button at McLaren, the two of them have always shown a sense of humour off the racetrack but a will to win on track.

To watch Lewis Hamilton drive is to think how lucky he is to have the career he has but, as is so often the case, this ignores the perseverance and sacrifices made by both father and son to get him to this point.

Lewis Hamilton has a lot of inspiration messages to give us.

Click here to watch a fascinating 2007 BBC documentary on the career of Lewis Hamilton.

 

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Short Inspiring Stories: Ernestine Shepherd

Now I can’t say I am a great fan of bodybuilding (take a look at my physique and you will know) but a short inspiring story caught my eye the other day.

Having written about the fear of old age recently the story was particularly apt.

Ernestine Shepherd is a dedicated female body builder. She wakes up at three every morning to go for a 10 mile run before starting a strict weights routine. She is a certified personal trainer and a part-time model too.

So what? You may ask. Mrs Shepherd is 74 years old and only started training at the age of 56. At that time she was overweight and had no previous interest in fitness at all. Her sister and she decided to get fit but then the sister sadly died. Ernestine decided to continue the fitness regime as she knew that was what her sister would have wanted.

She runs marathons and has had no aches or pains since she started working out. She has a permanently positive attitude and supports Michelle Obama in campaigning to overcome the obesity problem in the USA.

Inspired by this short inspiring story? Then visit Ernestine’s website here.

Watch a video about Ernestine here.

 

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Words Of Motivation: Free Youth, Free Running

Many adults fear the ‘younger generation’ will let us down.

I can give you words of motivation that say no they won’t.

Why? Watch this video below.

In France, in the United Kingdom and increasingly around the world, young people are giving themselves words of motivation and are getting involved in what at first seems a crazy sport…

Parkour or Free Running.

Teenagers and young adults are pushing themselves to become awesomely fit so they can undertake the most astonishing street gymnastics in safety.

No matter how many rules and regulations there are, those who excel at Parkour do so entirely with their own words of motivation. The sport blossoms because it is free of rules and restrictions.

This is what youth can do without interference.

Believe in them and the world will be safe.

 

 

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Word Of Motivation: Restrictive Labeling

 

My garden is quite small but mature. I have decided to make it a wildlife garden (that is another way to say I do no gardening) and now birds fill it during the day and at night it is owned by hedgehogs.

One of the birds is a majestic sparrow hawk. He is the scourge of the smaller birds as every now and again he plunges into the garden and grabs and kills another bird. That is what he is meant to do. That is his role in life. He is a sparrow hawk and kills birds; he will never become a vegetarian.

Here are some words of motivation for you: humans are not sparrow hawks. We can choose our way in life. Yes we can.

And yet most people accept labels. I wish I had money for every time someone has said to me, ‘I can’t do that because I am…’ It is almost pandemic. Perhaps it is a product of a world that needs to label people to produce statistics or perhaps it is a result of the accessibility of mass media, but whatever the cause, we are placed into prisons of labeling.

No matter what words of motivation we hear there is always some propaganda that tells us why we are unable to fulfill our potential.

In Britain one of the most restrictive labels I hear increasingly is based on class. ‘I am working class’ or ‘I am middle class’ as if that somehow defines who we are. If somebody can tell me where to go to find out which class I belong to I would be grateful. I don’t see myself as in one class or another. I am me.

Many countries of the world now, including Britain, operate a meritocracy. In other words, if you are prepared to make the effort you are able to reach any level in society you desire. Really. Now these are not simply words of motivation, this is reality.

Other people label themselves in ways that seem like a comfort zone to them. There are many examples; perhaps they feel they can’t get a job because they didn’t go to college or they can’t drive on a motorway because they do not know how or it frightens them.  They can’t do this because they are a man or a woman; they are too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, too young, too old, too ugly, too beautiful.
 

Why should these things hold them back from achieving their dreams?

There are always methods to change the situation and frequently what seemed a barrier before just evaporates in the face of determined action.

Oh, sure there are always going to be people who will agree with you and say your label is a valid reason to restrict your prospects. And then there is Lacey Henderson, Or Nick Vujicic. Or David.

Lacey Henderson is a young college student in Denver, Colorado who lost her leg at the age of nine and yet is more active and enjoys life more than most others of her age. She describes herself as not disabled but “differently abled.”

Then there is Nick Vujicic. Nick is an Australian public speaker, spreading words of motivation to millions of people during his entertaining talks. So what? Nick has no arms and no legs and yet he loves and enjoys life to the full. See a video on Nick and his words of motivation here.

David (not his real name) was a young Scout when I was involved in the movement as an instructor. He joined in all the activities, including long hikes at night and through muddy and rocky terrain. He would get upset if he didn’t get involved in everything that went on. Yet David was a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. To go hiking we would tie ropes to the front and back of his wheelchair and drag him through everything.

Today David is a successful computer programmer.

Contrast Peter with David. Peter lived the other side of the road to David and he had a clubfoot. Peter could not get involved in any physical activities as he was ‘disabled.’

A while ago I was told someone could not have a long-lasting relationship because she ‘builds walls around her emotions.’ Now I am never going to be so crass as to be anything but sympathetic and it is not always easy to break free of our labels even using words of motivation others (like me) might dispense but I was so tempted to say ‘well, don’t – it is entirely up to you.’

It is. It is entirely our choice. We build the fences around us. We accept the labels people give us.

I have a bad back. Big deal. A few years ago a medical professional suggested I should be registered disabled and I considered the idea. But something inside me said ‘cobblers, I am not disabled and I will not be unless I decide to be.’ So I kept away from the idea and today I feel as fit as anybody.

So it is your decision. What label do you want? I know a few labels I do want; I want labels like ‘successful,’ ‘loves life’ and ‘pushes boundaries.’ Now those are some words of motivation I like.

What about you?

 

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Inspiration Messages: The Lessons From Cheating In Tennis

A few weeks ago I was able to watch a tennis match during a national championship at a local club. It was a lovely sunny day so it should have been relaxing and there should have been no inspiration messages for me to write about.

The match I was watching was between a young girl, I will call her Lucy, the daughter of a friend, and an adult player. Lucy is in her early teens but an extremely talented player (she is always highly ranked for her age despite a series of injuries). She was playing a Russian professional or semi-professional in her twenties who has played in the early rounds of Wimbledon.

On paper the match should have been a foregone conclusion. However the Russian gave the impression that she lacked talent and soon started to get rattled by the sheer talent of her opponent. And this is where things started to change.

The older player started to cheat. She would call shots out when they were in and would question or alter the score. It soon became clear she was bullying her opponent, as she was much younger.

It got to the stage where Lucy’s father asked the senior umpire to watch the game (umpires tend to walk around and not watch one match unless asked). The Russian started to bully the umpire.

Although there was now an umpire present, the damage was done. Lucy lost her nerve and the match.

As the game progressed and I realized what was happening I started to think: ‘why would somebody cheat like that?’

At first I thought the older woman was so keen on winning she would do anything to do so. And then another thought entered my mind. The Russian was panicking. Her body language was very negative and I could see it in her eyes. It was not just that she was not winning, she was consumed by a fear of failure.

Perhaps she felt she was slipping back, her time had passed. Here she was facing a girl half her age who was undeniably more talented. She had run out of ability and was facing defeat, which was something she could not handle.

In life and especially in sport, defeat is something you need to experience. Often losing teaches you a great deal more that winning. Of course you never want to lose but on the other hand you need to be able to lose and learn from it.

What do you gain by winning through cheating?

Certainly in tennis cheating will only get you so far. Once you get to the levels where each match has an umpire and you meet the talented players, like Lucy, your lack of talent becomes obvious.

I’m told cheating is common at the junior levels of tennis. The inspiration messages to be learned then are learning to be equal to it.

If Lucy had kept her nerve, she could have won the match. How could she have helped herself? The truth is her Russian opponent’s cheating had been telling Lucy that she had run out of talent and was frightened. This should be one of the signs Lucy needed to stay calm, grit her teeth, up her game and go in for the kill.

As the athlete Roger Black said, “I could lose all my money. I could lose my house. But I can’t fail, because there is no such thing as failure. If you’re an athlete or whatever you do, the worst thing is to be afraid of failure.”

 

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Change Your Words, Change Your Life