Archive for April, 2012

Well today (Sunday 22 April 2012) was the London Marathon or as its officially called now a days, the Virgin London Marathon. The people who ran the race are inspirational in each of their own rights. But the race made me think of one of my idols and someone I inspire to be like in life. Sir Richard Branson. I doubt I will ever match him pound for pound money wise with Richard and his millions. But I would like to think I can match him on his philosophy in life. Follow your dream no matter how extreme or out of the box it might be, if you believe in it you will make it happen.

Richard has undertaken all sorts of things in his life. From starting up a school magazine when he was 16, signing up Mike Oldfield as his first Virgin artist, to record attempts across the Atlantic Ocean and hot air ballon attempts around the globe. Richard does not quite seem to grasp the concept of the word “imposible” he goes out of his way to prove this word does not exist. Granted Richard has not always been “Mr Popular” as you have to be a bit ruthless to get to top of your game. Its a dog eat dog world out there. And playing with the big boys of industry can meen that some players don’t play by the rules. One of the things that inspires me about Richard is he does not hid behind this fact. He will admit that he may not have played by the rules. It takes a proud man who can admit things like that.

Other things that inspire me about Sir Richard Branson is how approchable he appears to be. I have never met him but you hear stories like how he knows the name of the people in his office, even down to the cleaner. Recently I started to follow Richard on Twitter  and came across the fact that Richard, like me, likes to blog ( you can see his blog here ) and one of the things he did was a series of video blogs.( Ask Richard Video Blogs ) These blogs were an open forum for people to ask him questions via Twitter or Facebook and other social networks. Normal people like you and me asking all sorts of questions. This just goes to show how approchable Sir Richard is, that he is taking the time to let us ask him questions. So many people in power or in the public view don’t take the time to acknowledge the little people. Especially if its the little people that have put them in this power.

I guess the other reasons I like Richard Branson so much besides his positive go getum attitude is that he has not let his dyslexia get the better of him. He has not played the disability card. I am dyslexia too and it has not stopped me from getting to where I am in life and at work. Richard is proof that this learning disability does not need to hold you back in life and the sky is the limit ( Richard is now reaching for the stars though with Virgin Galactic haha so maybe the sky is not the limit ! )

If you can dream it you can do it if you put your mind to it.

This is the motto of the 2012 London Olympic. “Inspire a generation”

Now I try not to be a cynic about things but the Olympic mmm its a hard one not to be cynical about. But when I saw today on the BBC News website that the motto for the 2012 London Olympic is “Inspire a generation” it annoyed me a bit  and my inner cynic has come to the front. Now when I started this blog it was intended to be positive and I will try and put a positive spin on this post if I can but only time will tell. I guess the same is true for the Olympic and if it will truly “Inspire a generation”, only time will tell.

My issue with the Olympic and its motto is that so far the 2012 Olympic has been plagued by being over budget and elitist. Its meant to be the games that will bring the Great back into Great Britain. But so far it seems to have failed on this one. People so far just see the games as being a way for the rich to get richer and nothing for the people. Tickets have been hard to come by and expensive.  Contracts have been given to companies out side of the UK all these things have not really inspired people here in the UK. Also not to mention the chaos that the Olympic’s will bring to London. The impact that it will have on businesses can not be fully realised just yet. My friend,fellow blogger and Londoner, Spectacular Sentience, has posted a blog about the 100 days to the 2012 London Olympic Games and how he too is worried about the chaos the games will bring to London and how he feels a lot like me and many others about how the Olympic’s may fail to inspire. You can read his blog post here.

The normal Olympic’s don’t really inspire me to be honest. Yes it has loads and loads of competitors all competing to be the best that they can be. Yes they have put in a lot of blood sweat and tears in order to become the best that their respective countries have to offer and they are the at the top of their game.  But its the Paralympic, thats where the true grit comes from. People who have decided that they will not be a victim of their disability but will show the world that they are as able as any abled bodied person in the world. Some of the Paralympian’s are probable more able now than they were ever before they became disabled. ( in our eyes ) These people are the true inspiration of the modern Olympic Games! And I am sure that it will be these athletes that will “Inspire a generation” and show us no matter what we can achieve great things against all odd’s with the right frame of mind and attitude.

All to often you hear of stories of people being involved in accidents or have debilitating illnesses that changes a persons life completely. Quite a few of these people often wish they were dead and play the victim card. We never really hear about them people as they seem to just fade away. They have no reason to just fade away nor do they have no reason not to make the most of their life. Granted its hard to get back up on the horse once it has bucked you off and try to have a positive out look on life after it has dealt you a massive blow.  But with the right mental attitude and the willing and support of others, the sky is the limit.

Or in the case of the next two really inspirational men, The Isle of Man to Durban South Africa is the limit. Bushy McKelvey and Hylton Smith are in the process of planing an epic aventure that will take them on a 28 000 km journey from the Isle of Man through 30 counties down through Africa to Durban, South Africa. This trip will take these two adventures and their support team around 100 days to complete. So what makes there two any more special than the likes of Ewan McGregor or Charley Boorman, of Long Way Down fame?

Out On A Limb

Bushy McKelvey who is the initiator of the “Out On A Limb” project is a bilateral below the knee amputee and has two prosthetic legs. He lost his legs in two separate accidents. His right leg after being struck by a taxi minibus while riding his bike in 1999. And if that was not bad enough! Then, nine years later, riding with one prosthetic leg, he was again hit by a car in Pietermaritzburg while on his way to a biker’s function. Many people by now would have hung the bike leathers up and stayed off the bike, but not Bushy! No Bushy has got back on the bike and it planning on one hell of a bike ride.

Bushy is not completely mad! He has enlisted the help of fellow rider and personal friend of mine, Hylton Smith and a support and production team to document the trip.

Hylton Smith, two times former South African off-road champion as well as multiple KwaZulu Natal off-road champion, will be co-rider and co-presenter with Bushy in the “Out On A Limb project”. He began his racing career at an early age and progressed over the years to be a consistent contender in multiple facets of off-road racing. In 2006 Hylton had a major collision with a tree at the Swaziland off road race and sustained extensive internal injuries to his liver as well as losing a kidney. In 2007, after a year of intensive rehabilitation and training he courageously took part in the UAE Desert Challenge in Dubai, during an unfortunate accident in this race Hylton suffered extensive nerve damage to his shoulder. This damage is irreparable but has not stopped Hyllton from continuing to ride.

So as you can see from the short bio’s of both Hylton and Bushy they have both had quite life changing events in their lives. But not wanting to be victims in these events they have got back on their bikes and continued to ride. Now they want to use something that has been a major part of their life to make a difference in others lives that are less fortunate than themselves.

The aim of “Out On A Limb” is to raise funds for disabled people by producing a series for broadcast that documents his (Bushy ) travels and experiences by motorcycle through 30 countries/destinations visiting and assisting numerous Non-Profit Organisations and covering approximately 28 000 km’s within 100 days.

Bushy’s 100-day expedition will kick off on the Isle of Man in the UK and end in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This awareness campaign was a “dream” for which he had worked tirelessly for two years. Two co-riders and a In the Dark Productions film crew will accompany him.

Please be sure to visit the Out on a Limb website for more info – Out On A Limb

What these lads are doing is truly inspirational.  They could have so easy have parked their bikes up and called it a day after the tragic events that have changed their life’s but nope they are turning a negative into a positive and using it to help others. Some may even go as far as heroic.

I wish Bushy, Hylton and the team all the very best on their epic journey and I hope I may get to meet them during there trip though the UK sometime in May

We are part of the species called “Homosapien” so we are in fact animals. Some of our specie behave worse than some of our animal cousins but they do not inspirer me at all. The great things about animals is they don’t discriminate. There is no racial, religious, sexual or sexual orientational discrimination in the animal kingdom. Except in our own species. I often wonder where did this learnt behaviour of dislike to others that don’t conform to our own narrow mindless come from ? I am not going to enter into a debate about what I think has caused this as thats now what this blog is about. 

What this blog is about is an email that was sent to me this morning from a friend. A heart warming email that made me think of the above. Why are we the only specie that discriminates against our own kind? I don’t have the answer to it and to be honest I don’t think anyone has the answer to this conundrum with an argument that holds water. 

I have attached the email for you too see and read. I hope it inspires you like it has done with me. 

Glen the Squirrel

Debby Cantlon, who plans to release Glen, the young squirrel, back into the wild, bottle-fed the infant squirrel after it was brought to her house.

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When Cantlon took in the tiny creature and began caring for him, she found herself with an unlikely nurse’s aide: her pregnant Papillion, Mademoiselle Giselle.

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Glen was resting in a nest in a cage just days before Giselle was due to deliver her puppies.

Cantlon and her husband watched as the dog dragged the squirrel’s cage twice to her own bedside before she gave birth.
Cantlon was concerned, yet ultimately decided to allow the squirrel out and the inter-species bonding began.

 

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 Glen rides a puppy mosh pit of sorts, burrowing in for warmth after feeding, eventually working his way beneath his new litter mates.

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Two days after giving birth, mama dog Giselle allowed Glen to nurse; family photos and a videotape show her encouraging him to suckle alongside her litter of five pups.

Now, Glen mostly uses a bottle, but still snuggles with his ‘siblings’ in a mosh pit of puppies, rolling atop their bodies, and sinking in deeply for a nap.

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Glen and his new litter mates, five Papillion puppies, get along together as if they were meant to.

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Glen naps after feeding.

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Glen makes himself at home with his new litter mates, nuzzling nose-to-nose for a nap after feeding.

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We could all learn from this story. Why can’t we all be like Giselle and just get along with everyone and put our differences aside?  

I don’t think there is a rule book or any set of guidelines to what makes someone or something inspirational. But I do have some idea’s to what I find inspirational in my world.

There are quite a few things that make me think “WOW! That inspires me!”

When it comes to people it does not take a lot to inspire me. After all I am but a simple person really.

For me people that inspire me because of things they have done. This could be in there local community or further afield. Normally its some selfish act of kindness that does it for me. But what really inspires me are people who have overcome and put aside their own daemons in order to help others. Quite often these people will go out of their way and put others first over them-self’s. Thankless heros I feel. They also are quite humble people who just feel they are doing what comes naturally and that its something that needs to be done.

I came across a YouTube video the other day while looking at bits and bobs for this blog that I feel highlights the thankless hero mentioned above. Its from a US TV show called “What would you do?” The basis is that they have 3 actors that are stranded with a flat tire. A man, a woman and a Muslim lad. The show is almost a social experiment into how people will react to the scene. Its quite interesting viewing really. The man and woman get help without too much effort but its the Muslim lad where it all gets quite interesting. Over 100 people walks past the Muslim lad and only 2 people stop to offer help. But its the young lad that really inspires me. Watch the video – I have started it where the young lad comes to help the Muslim lad out. Its his outlook on life and his own beliefs that inspires me.  Click here to see the YouTube video. 

For photos, music and art that inspire me thats a little harder to explain as art and music are so subjective. These things hit the heart and psyche in a person in different ways. For me if it strikes an emotional cord or just gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling then there is a good chance I might be inspired by it.

A great example of what I meen would be found in a song by a South African artist that I will blog about as Johnny Clegg himself has inspired me over the years. Johnny Clegg and his band Savuka performed the song “Great Heart” just the name of the song its self should inspire people. I will let the song speak for its self and later on I will blog about both the song and Johnny Clegg

Johnny Clegg – Great Heart ( Music Video ) Savuka

So let me know what inspires you in the world in the comments box bellow.

Welcome to my blog. Its been a few years now since I last blogged but in that time I have been inspired by many people. People I know personally in my life like, family, friends, people I work with ( current and past ) but also people I have come across on the web in the news etc. Its because of these people I feel I should tell the world about these people so that their stories can inspire others like they have inspired me.

Some of the things that inspire me are not just people and what they have done or do but sometimes its the photos, music or art that inspires me. Makes me feel humbled by what ever it is they have done and gives me faith in mankind again.

All to often in this day and age we are quick to point out the negatives, or be the victim in something. We don’t always take the time to reflect on how bad others have it. Or take the time to recognise the good in others. This blog I hope will change that.