Inspiration Muses

It was a panel discussion unlike any others held at the university. For a state university, the number of Rhodes Scholars as alumni was extraordinary. Six of the Rhodes Scholars had agreed to come to campus for a Day of Inspiration. The event was designed to inspire current students to think about what they could achieve in their lives. The panel discussion was entitled: My Inspiration Muse. Each panelist was asked to start the discussion with a brief description of their muse.

Ralph:   My muse was a former professor. What inspired me were the stories he told. I don’t know how, but those stories always seemed to be told at exactly the right moment when I most needed to be lifted up. I’ve remembered those stories and often used them in my work.

Josie:     My muse was a woman I met the first day at work. In fact, I met her in the parking lot. I was confused about where to park, and she helped me. I’ll never forget that there was a handwritten note to me on my windshield. That note was just what I needed after a rough first day. Over the years, I would go to her for advice. She never let me down. But she always knew just the right thing to help me over a hurdle and restart my energy and enthusiasm.

Sheila:   My muse was my first boss. Our first day we met to help me plan my career. She was very honest with me about where I was weak and where I was strong. There was never a day when I worked for her when I didn’t feel like I was being stretched. Years later, she was still in the same job, doing the same thing. She had never advanced in her own career. It wasn’t because she didn’t have the opportunity to advance. But she knew what she wanted out of life, and that was to develop talents in others.

John:     My muse was our family minister. Rather than speaking behind a podium on a raised stage, he talked with us while sitting on a stool. And I never felt that he was preaching to us. He just shared his thinking from the heart. There was no prepared text. Sometimes he used stories, other times he talked about current events. I learned a lot about history from his messages. But the final two minutes of every message was inspiring. I remember thinking, Wow! at the end of every talk.

Jerry:     I’d like to take a little different approach. Let me synthesize what I have learned from each of you. Inspiration comes from things that rest in our consciousness throughout our lives. These things are based on values that guide us that we learn from someone who inspired us.

Inspiration comes from the unexpected acts of kindness and support that make us want to achieve beyond our dreams. We need people who genuinely care for us, and we are inspired by the joy we can return to them with our success.

Inspiration comes from helping up make connections between the past and the present, the good and the bad, the wise and the unwise, the common and the extraordinary, as well as the routine and the unusual. We are inspired by our awareness and we owe it to others to share our insights.

At the conclusion of the opening statements, volunteers handed out a survey to each participant to explore their thinking about inspiration. The survey’s then became the basis for follow-up interactions with the panelists. At the end a surprise announcement was made.

“If you would like to continue to explore the topic of inspiration, please provide your name and email     address on the survey form. I will share the surveys with the panelists, and they have promised that one      of them will follow-up with each of you to continue this discussion.”

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“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” –Isaac Newton

How To Use

Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.