I was walking to a restaurant with an amazingly inspiring social entrepreneur from Brazil. And I told him what countless others had also told him on countless occasions: that he was so very inspiring. A nice friendly compliment and meant too. His reaction was extraordinary and taught me a lot about the responsibility associated with being inspiring. He told me he hated being inspiring. That being inspiring was just not enough. That he needed support, cash, contacts and other real things. That is’s a great cop out to just come up with the idle and selfish compliment that he has inspired one. Because all the responsibility and all the action remains with the inspiring guy. All the rest of us can lean back in our armchairs, be comfortably and even dramatically inspired, applaud, compliment, and go on leaving the dirty (but inspirational) work to others.
Inspiration is a bit like pornography. It’s not really a substitute for sex. We should stop just greedily and lewdly admiring others and being inspired and get out and do it ourselves. Being inspired should mean that we change something about how we do things and – at the end of the day – make ourselves and the world a better place.