7 People That Inspire Me, With Whom I Have (Almost) Nothing in Common…

24Oct11

I recently read an article about a very old man who completed a marathon here in Toronto. His name is Fauja Singh and he is 100 years old. And he completed a full marathon. Without dying at the end. Seriously. I mean, that’s pretty impressive. I don’t think I can even complete a half-marathon…or even a 1/8 marathon.

So, all of this fuss about Mr. Singh got me thinking…what are some other incredible deeds that others have accomplished that inspire me? This, my friends, got me all distracted until I could do nothing else than scour the internet for crazy-smart-kid geniuses and old people who would put Jack Lalanne to shame.

And, now I give you, my Top 7 List of People That Inspire Me, With Whom I Have (Almost) Nothing in Common:

1) Michael Kearney

This guy is so smart that he graduated high school at the age of 6, completed an Associate’s degree by age 8, and then finished his Bachelor’s degree by age 10, which made him the youngest university graduate in the world. He then began teaching at a college at the age of 17. And, all the while, he suffered (is that really the right word here?) with ADHD.

GIve me a cheque that big and I'll graduate from whatever programme you want, as quickly as you want me to...

Michael and I clearly have much in common. I barely made it through successfully completed high school at the same age as everyone else in my graduating year, and I nearly drove myself insane and cried myself to sleep every night but completed my university degree in the appropriate amount of time, and I also now work at a college…but I’m not 17. I guess that’s our only difference.

I wish I could have accomplished as much as Michael did in my early years, but it’s not my fault that I didn’t…I suffer from ADHD.

Oh…wait a minute…

2) Leo Plass

Leo is one of my favourites on this list. As of 15 June, 2011, he became the world’s oldest college graduate at the age of 99. As a young student in his final semester at Eastern Oregon University, Leo was offered a teaching position at a small, 20-student school, which unfortunately, closed down before he was able to graduate with his teaching degree. With no job hanging in the balance and The Depression (yes, I mean THE Depression) running amok of things, he decided to leave school to take on a logging job as it offered more security in such trying times.

This guy is the business...

Well, the next 79 years just flew by and, before he knew it, he was 99 years old without a post-secondary education; he then decided to complete his teaching degree. I’ve never worked as a logger, and I’m not 99, but I sure admire this guy’s moxie (<— I’m told, by my colleagues, that’s a term from Leo’s era – I use it on a nearly-regular basis, so I’m known around the office as “old lady” because who else says “moxie” anymore?).

3) Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian is the youngest two-time Formula 1 champion in the world. Why do I respect this man? Because he is praised for his speed on the road and is paid millions for it. I also drive rather quickly, but instead of getting paid a sick amount of money, I have to pay speeding tickets.

Yeah, pay me Β£8 million a year and I'll be smiling like that too...

I am still hoping to one day be the fastest-three-time-female-Formula 1-champion in the age 24-32 category. (What? That exists…)

4) Kim Ung-Yong

This guy was speaking 4 languages and solving integral calculus problems at age 4, and has a reported IQ of 210.

Know what I was doing at age 4? Pulling out all of my Mom's pots and pans from the kitchen cupboard and sitting in it. That's what I was doing.

I am a whole lot older than 4 and can speak 1.5 languages (I can only kind of speak French), looking at a calculus book makes me cry, and I am too afraid to find out what my IQ actually is (what if the test confirms all of my secret fears that I am, in fact, a moron).

*Sigh*…how I wish I was Kim Ung-Yong…

5) Akrit Jaswal

This kid performed his first surgery at the age of 7. On an actual human being.

So, you have no training and are too small to even hold a scalpel properly. Sure, slice me open, kid! (Image Credit: http://www.oprah.com)

Akrit had never been formally trained in medicine, but doctors at local hospitals took notice of how interested he was in medicine, so they allowed him to observe certain procedures at the age of 6. By the same token, based on what I’ve watched on TLC, I should be allowed to do face lifts on over-the-top cougars and deliver babies.

Also, he was on The Oprah Winfrey Show. I’ve never been on Oprah. Just another thing we do not have (but should’ve had) in common. I did see the episode, though…

6) Daniel Cook

This kid is someone that I both wish I could have been and someone that I aspire to be. At the age of 6, Daniel had his own TV show, “This is Daniel Cook“, and travelled all over the place, learning about all kinds of things, like Tae Kwon Do, gymnastics, animals (among others) and has all sorts of adventures. It’s an ideal life. And I want it.

This right here? This is Daniel Cook.

Besides all of that, however, is the fact that Daniel Cook has had an incredible opportunity in life to do and see all sorts of amazing things at such a young age, but there is one thing that separates him from all of the other child prodigies; something that gives hope to us all that we may, one day, accomplish all that he has – he is not a genius.

That is why he and I are the most alike out of all of the people I’ve listed.

7) Fauja Singh

Of course, I could not finish this list without mentioning the man who inspired it all – dear Mr. Fauja Singh. He has completed a marathon and, I believe, is the only centenarian to do so. He is super old and yet has completed something that I still have not done in my young life. He has taught me that you’re never too old to live your dream – even if it takes more than 8 hours to do.

If anyone deserves a medal, it's this guy. I mean, he should get a medal for just staying alive throughout the race... (Image Credit: http://www.news.yahoo.com)

While he was rounding the last corner of the race, Mr. Singh said to his coach, “Achieving this will be like getting married again” – I’m still trying to work out if he meant that it was an accomplishment of which he will forever feel proud and excited over, or that it was something that will just kill him in the end.

Not sure.

Who are the people that you admire the most? Who inspires you?

Do you know any 100-year olds who have done something amazing (besides living to 100, of course)?

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38 Responses to “7 People That Inspire Me, With Whom I Have (Almost) Nothing in Common…”

  1. I found this very intersting. I had just posted a short story on my blog a few minutes ago. Maybe it will inspire you too if you want to take a look.

    http://markwintersphotography.wordpress.com/

    Have a great day in Canada.

    MARK

    • Thanks very much, Mark! I’ll be sure to pop by your blog!

  2. Fauja Singh is such an inspiration! A friend of mine recently ran her first 1/2 marathon and she asked me if I’d start training to join her in a few years to run a full marathon. I laughed and said “yeah right, I can’t do that.” I think I’ve just reconsidered. If Fauja can do it, I most certainly can… now where are those running shoes? πŸ™‚

    • Yes yes yes! That’s the spirit!! I thought the same thing too after I read his story. I mean, c’mon…the guy’s 100! If he can do it, then I certainly can too!

      Thanks again for dropping by and taking the time to comment, Amylleblanc! You’re awesome! πŸ™‚

  3. Haha! At 4, I was pushing cockroaches the size of my feet around our backyard like little toys.

    This is great! And how fun! How different would each of our lists look? Mine would start with Stephen King, but interestingly, not because I think he’s a good writer (which he is), or has an amazing, creepy imagination (which he does). I did emulate his writing style once in one of my short stories just for the challenge, but his style is not what inspires me, nor what we don’t have in common. At age 10, I think, he was publishing his own stories in a newspaper he and his brother printed on a mimeograph and sold and distributed by hand. I started putting my stories on a Facebook page about a year ago and I have a smaller circulation. Sigh. I suppose I could pretend I’m 10… Stephen King brings hundreds of characters to life in his stories who I’m sure he’s never met outside his own mind. I make up all my characters too, even my own, but I have a much shorter list, and I’m still working on that bringing them to life thing.

    I hope you don’t mind, but the Fauja Singh reference reminded me too much of one of my favorite posts I really want to share with you now. Walter’s World Record

    • You know, Anne, I am in NO way surprised that your list would start with Stephen King. You have so much and so little in common with him…lol. I must say, though, that even if you don’t think that you bring your characters to life, the rest of us certainly do! You’re a brilliant writer and always have me on the edge of my seat (like Stephen King does), but you don’t have a carefully sculpted beard (like Stephen King does), so you are both like and unlike him all at the same time.

      Brilliant writer? Check. Pencil-thin beard? Nope.

      And of course I don’t mind you sharing your post! I love when you do that! I’ll drop by now… πŸ™‚

      Thanks again, Anne! You always leave awesome comments!

    • LOL @ the beard! I drew a beard on my face before, maybe not the best look for me. πŸ™‚ You can see why I had to share that story in this spot. Thanks for reading!

      • Well, I mean…if you wanted to have a sculpted beard, I’m pretty sure you could pull it off, but we’ll see when the times comes, I suppose… πŸ˜‰

    • πŸ™‚ I need a sculpted beard like I need billowing white cotton-bale eyebrows! I just remembered I forgot to applaud the strike-throughs, so yay!

      • You never know, though, Anne…the beard and eyebrows may actually look quite becoming on you. Don’t knock it till you try it. πŸ˜‰

      • Hehe! This really made me giggle! It’s so impossible for me not to visualize things. I so wish I had the time to sketch this!

      • Oh, please do it! I want to see that sketch! lol!

      • I’m too slow at sketching. Something like that would take me days! Statistical Analysis will post at 10:41 pm Pacific time. You asked me to let you know. πŸ™‚

  4. Very well researched article! Great informative blog! Thanks for posting πŸ™‚

    • Thanks very much, Sumukh! I always appreciate you stopping by! πŸ™‚

  5. That’s crazy! All of them. Yeah, at age 4 I was probably just picking my nose in public. Cool profiles.

    • So, have you broken that habit yet, Clay? If not, it’s cool…I won’t judge you for it. I’ll mock you, sure, but I won’t judge you… πŸ˜‰

      Thanks so much for stopping in again and also for the shout out on Twitter! Very much appreciated! πŸ™‚

  6. Haha, love the marriage question at the end. And moxie is not my favorite post. One if my inspirations and heroes is Corey Dillon. Kid grew up in gang infested streets and turned out to be a phenomenal athlete. He had to overcome his past and that colleges turned him down for scholarships despite his good grades and his skills. Eventually he overcame his past and starred as the starting running back in Superbowl victory. Something very few could earn, and it took him his entire career, retiring from injuries the following year. Maybe it’s just me, but that story always gets me pumped to keep working.

    • Ooh…I LOVE that story about Corey Dillon! Why didn’t you tell me about him before I wrote this post, MrTalksTooMuch?? πŸ˜‰

      Seriously, though, that’s a great story – very inspiring indeed! Thanks so much for dropping by and for taking the time to comment! πŸ™‚

  7. These are the kind of absurdities that I find really inspiring! The turban was yellow and Indian guy is a 100 years “marathoner.” Wow! that’s really Wow!

    • I know, right! He is amazing!! I wasn’t joking when I said I am a lot younger than he is and I couldn’t do that now! So inspiring!

      Thanks for dropping in, Healing Eye! Greatly appreciated! πŸ™‚

  8. Moxie!

    • Aha! You say it too! πŸ™‚

  9. 24 gulfamx

    good i like your blog ……..iand your thinking are very positive, keep it up.God Bless you.

    • Thanks very much for taking the time to stop by, read through, and comment, Gulfamx! Greatly appreciated! πŸ™‚

  10. 26 Harper Faulkner

    Write more.

    • Aw…thanks very much, Harper! I literally just published a new post called “As Soon As Google Interfaces With My Toaster, We’re All Dead…” if you want to check it out. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for the encouragement!

  11. Inspirational post πŸ˜€

    • Thanks very much, Ibrahim! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. πŸ™‚

  12. Michael Kearney and Akrit Jaswal are truly inspiring.

    • Yes, I agree!! Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment, Lafemmeroar! πŸ™‚

  13. You have a knack for awesome titles – I admire that in a blogger!
    By the way, great list, but I can’t stand that Daniel Cook kid!
    He even annoyed my daughter when she watched his segments!

    • Is that because he’s Canadian? Because I think you were annoyed by him because he’s Canadian…not cool man, not cool.

      P.S. It’s okay. He kind of annoys me too. Probably because he’s Canadian…

      Thanks for stopping in again, Hook!

  14. Interesting list. I’ve only heard of Plass, and good for him!

    • Yeah, Plass is the guy that may impress me as much as the 100 year old marathoner!

      Thanks very much for stopping in again, MovieBlog8! It’s always appreciated! πŸ™‚

  15. 36 FΓ‘bio Pinho

    They move by dreams!

    • They sure do! Thanks for stopping in, Fabio! πŸ™‚


  1. 1 As Soon As Google Interfaces With My Toaster, We’re All Dead… « PCC Advantage

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