7 People That Inspire Me, With Whom I Have (Almost) Nothing in Common…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Tags: College, Daniel Cook, Education, genius, humor, marathon, oldest person, Sebastian Vettel, youngest