Devil’s advocate: inspiring souls or ideal branded Icons?


In recent weeks I have come to think of inspiring people,  the role of “iconic” characters or historical figures that could be the source of my inspiration. I have asked around me “who inspires you and who’s your icon?”. I have read blogs and Pinterest quotes and watched videos about the subject, just to finally come to the conclusion that no one seems to fit that title for me. It felt like I would select a name because it sounded cool or because my friends would name someone when I asked. I am no one to judge, but in my personal opinion, I have come to the conclusion that a lot of people are bored with their own lives and themselves and thus need to put their longings into another person and call them Icons. Psychology describes this phenomenon, but let’s not focus on that angle just now. Let me just say that I respect everyone with an actual “Icon” to follow, but I am not that person and I don’t think I’ll ever be, let me explain my point.

Sure I have some name that comes in my mind with inspiring journeys or career paths, or even some magnificent personalities that have brought something to our society, but overall let’s just say that these people that I think of are inspiring – and inspiring only.  They are wonderful people, but that is it. Nothing more to say. I have come to realize that praising someone to the point where you defend that person no matter what, and want to resemble them at any cost or define your life as the way they live theirs, well let me tell you, it’s just a way to escape your real-life – it’s avoidance at its best. I am pretty well convinced that having a role model is healthy and positive, but as long as you don’t let it consume you. You are not them and never will be. In fact, you should not try to be them at all. What I am trying to say is that people should invest time and energy on themselves and defining how to inspire others and create something good with your life and being. Your identity is yours to discover and yours to share, yours to create and to shape in the function of you are.

There is so much more to life than being famous. Likes, captions and grandiose self-concept are not the answers. Yet, this seems to be what the young generations are soaking up on social media and television. There is so much more to life than man in suits, money and expensive cars, as the things we truly live for are  love, beauty and the smaller things of life. Ultimately when life feels uncertain or our longings go unmet, it’s easy and comforting – for a slight moment of breath – to grasp onto someone whose life inspires us. But whatever we treasure, I think it’s important to stay away from idolatry because then we are shifting our focus to greater things and more important presence and figure in our life, for an illusion and an idea that sold us to what seems better.

We never meet people by accident. Everyone is meant to cross our path for a certain reason. Some encounters will teach us something we needed to learn whilst others will teach us about the things we need to let go of . One day someone will walk into your life and get it right where everyone else got it wrong. I am convinced that not everyone who comes into your life is supposed to play a big role or a long-lasting one. Sometimes people come into your story to show you what is right and what is wrong, to show you who you can be, to teach you to love yourself, to make you feel better for a little while. And so, because of all of this, the quest in which I found myself, looking for who inspires me, was two-folded.  At first, it was primordial that I found an inspiring figure that could positively influence my future relationships (friendships and colleagues), but it was slightly more important – at the end run for me – to learn how to inspire them in return. When I say ‘them”, obviously I mean my people in general, but anyone really, that crosses my path. We are what we do, we are what we think, not what we say we do or should do. Reality is hard to face sometimes, which is why I think a lot of people find refuge in “fandom” or “iconic” characters. Nonetheless, it is very much more important to realize that worshipping something or someone to the point where it becomes idolatry, sure it gets you something to do, but it never gets you anywhere. And so, I find it more important than ever, to focus on your thoughts, your being, your values, your emotions, than on someone else’s character. An author I particularly appreciate is Paulo Coehlo. One of my favourite books from his collection is The Alchemist. It’s a psychological novel, or so I would think. It tells the story of a Spanish shepherd who creates his own personal legend. The story suggests the theory that people only discover themselves when they understand how to listen. It also provides us with the idea that If we are faithful to what we truly are, the whole world changes and the things we touch and encounter will also turn into something wonderful as gold.

On top of that, my personal quest made me realize that everyone is inspiring me in some way. From that perspective, I also realized that experience, age and self-analysis come into play at some point when you have a role model or an inspiring soul in front of you. The answer to my first question “who’s inspiring you?” resides in the fact that I – such as everyone on this planet earth – need to belong. I need to feel « normal » and feel like I am doing the right thing. This is why I have learned not to underestimate the value in being able to inspire someone and the value of people who inspire me — they are parts of my soul. You can be inspired by just about anyone and everyone. Pay attention around you! Furthermore, through the realization of my own identity and my meanings, I have made some good decisions, but also bad ones. Most importantly I learned and I fought and now that I’ve settled into a comfortable relationship with my dreams and the person that I am, I’m doing some reflection upon the things that make this work better. Of course, there is work and life still happening…but it’s easier to continue walking toward my goals every day with people besides me or whom I can relate to frequently. These people are the ones that inspire me to do better every day, but not to walk for me but only to be with me. Einstein said, “ if you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects.” 

Beyond this, life can get tricky sometimes. (surprise surprise!) It can overpower us, it can force us into some pretty quirky situations, and we all know that total lack of desire or vision can just destroy us even more. I guess I am not so wrong to say that this particular year was rough on a lot of people, myself included. In those moments, inspirational characters, partners, friends, colleagues or parents are our best friends. They invigorate us, they help us to see what’s important and what we want, and they remind us, importantly, that we still have a lot left to lose and a lot more to gain. Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t absolutely inspire you to be a better version of yourself…and do the same for them.

  • with all my love, B
Photo by Diana Akhmetyanova

1 thought on “Devil’s advocate: inspiring souls or ideal branded Icons?”

Leave a Reply