I hope you all are fine and are taking proper measures of social distancing against COVID-19. What if I ask you the question, who inspires you the most? Of many things on which I have pondered during this lockdown is this very question. When someone asks you this question, typically, your first response is a celebrity from your favorite TV show or a widely known inspirational idol.
I have recently watched a TV show with the name Self-Made, a series inspired by Madam C.J. Walker, the first African American woman to become a millionaire. I was deeply moved by her story which gives you that extra push to be successful despite being an African American woman in a male-dominated world. Walker is definitely an inspiration for many African American women and men. But after some reflection, I concluded that, though I am highly impressed and deeply moved by Madam C.J. Walker, but she isn’t my inspiration.
To me, when someone inspires you, they have an influence over you that motivates you to achieve something. When you aspire to be someone, it involves a personal drive that is prompted by the personality from which you draw the inspiration. Think of the person that inspires you the most and answer this; do you aspire to be as successful as that person or is this person implanting that feeling of enthusiasm in you which keeps you restless unless you achieve your goals?
Here is the vital difference in terms that you need to understand.
Inspiration fills someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
Aspiration direct one’s hopes or ambitions toward achieving something
Personally, I draw inspiration from the person that made a difference in my life, the person I look up to, and feel a connection which is both ways, someone who knows me at a personal level. And that person is my mother, who has the greatest influence on my life and pushes me to be the best version of myself. When I was a kid, I remember myself saying to her, “Mom, I want to be just like you when I grow up.” But as I have gotten older, I’ve changed it to, “Mom, you have influenced me to achieve all the goals I have ever set my mind upon and have achieved them through the wisdom you have instilled in me.” My mother coaches me throughout life with lessons she learned from experiences in her life. She always tells me that she lived her life and learned from her mistakes, so I don’t have to repeat the same mistake. With that said, we don’t live in a perfect world, mistakes happen (and I make a lot of them) but I know she is always there to put me back on track.
She is a successful woman and thrives in her place of business, which historically has remained the men’s domain. It is not a secret that there is a gender disparity within the patriarchal computing world. It is because of her that I chose a career in the field of Computer Science; to help diminish that gender gap.
Society teaches women to shrink themselves not to threaten the man; you can be successful, but not too successful or you can be ambitious but not too ambitious. My mom has taught and encouraged me to change that narrative. But it is not just her success that inspires me, but her confidence and positive mindset. When she walks in anywhere, it is as if she owns the place and everything and everyone with it, while still being the most loved person. She also does not let time define her. My mom went straight to college after high school, but unfortunately, life got in the way, she had a failed marriage and became a single mother. But she did not let that stop her from getting her degree. Even after securing a successful job, she finished college and received her degree a couple of years ago because she knew that was something she had always wanted to achieve. That is what I admire about her; once she has her mind set on something, there is nothing that is going to stop her from accomplishing it.
My mother inspires me the most, not because she is the model of success against all the odds and adversities. It is because she is the woman that is and will always be in my corner and believes in everything I set my mind upon.
Now ask yourself once again, who inspires you the most?