My Top 10 Inspirational Role Models

Often, our best learning doesn’t come from textbooks or lectures. Our most memorable lessons almost always come from our role models. Role models come in all different forms, from family members to celebrities. In recognition of the incredible impact these people have on our lives, November is National Inspirational Role Models Month. In honor of this observance, I want to dedicate this blog to the top ten role models who have been especially influential in my life. I hope you find them as inspiring as I have!

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10. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This activist played a huge role in the civil rights movement. He became famous for his peaceful, nonviolent acts of civil disobedience that he used to spread his message. He strongly believed that every single person makes a difference in the world. The only thing we need is the hunger, the insatiable drive, to make it happen.

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9. Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was late learning to speak and slow to learn throughout much of his childhood. He didn’t even graduate high school, yet he is heralded as one of the most brilliant minds in history. He is famous for developing his general theory of relativity and for greatly influencing the studies of both science and philosophy. I particularly love two of his quotes: “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” and A person who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”


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8. Muhammad Ali

I have talked before about the incredible lessons we have to learn from Muhammad Ali, but this top ten list would not be complete without mentioning this famous boxer once more. His quote “impossible is nothing” epitomizes his message of never giving up. You can check out my earlier blog post for more inspirational quotes by Muhammad Ali.

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7. Bob Marley
I am an avid music fan, and there is always music playing in my house. Hippie jokes aside, one of my favorite musicians is Bob Marley. I specifically love his lyrics and the lessons they have to teach us. One of my favorite quotes of his is “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to positively affect those around him.”

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6. Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill was the British Prime Minister during much of World War II. During this challenging time, he delivered multiple inspiring speeches that are credited with maintaining the morale of his whole nation. What many people do not realize is that while he was building morale for everyone around him, he was simultaneously engaged in a personal battle with chronic depression. Perhaps the biggest lesson we can learn from him is that depression can be managed. It does not have to control your life or existence. 

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5. Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe is regarded as one of the most beautiful women of all time. She is a fantastic role model for women of all ages because, in spite of her immense fame, she managed to never take herself too seriously. She is famous for saying, “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it is better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” She also provided a real, healthy body image for women to strive for. She was 5′ 5″ tall and weighed a healthy 120 pounds for the majority of her life, and was still considered to be incredibly attractive by the whole country.


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4. The Dalai Lama
No top ten list of inspirational role models would be complete without mention of the Dalai Lama. I love his message that “our primary purpose in life is to help others,” and that “if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” He leads by example and truly practices what he preaches. I especially love his message in The Paradox Of Our Age

We have bigger houses but smaller families; more conveniences but less time.


We have more degrees but less sense;


more knowledge but less judgment;


more experts but more problems;


more medicines but less healthiness.


We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet our new neighbor.


We built more computers to hold more copies than ever, but have less real communication.


We have become long on quantity but short on quality.


These are times of fast foods but slow digestion;


tall mean but short characters;


steep profits but shallow relationships.


It’s a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room.



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3. & 2. Simone Biles & Aly Raisman
These two talented gymnasts were part of the “Final Five” team that won gold medals for the American team at the 2016 Summer Olympics. They are each outstanding individuals and powerful role models in their own rights. Though they are still young (Simone is 19 and Aly is 22), I admire them for recognizing and respecting the responsibility of being positive role models. I especially admire the lessons they worked together to teach the world: at the end of the day, teamwork, supporting each other, and encouraging one another matter more than anything else.
My dad when he graduated med school and his parents.
1. & 1. My Dad & His Dad
Those of you that know me know that I don’t often discuss myself, but I cannot write a list of my top ten role models without including a section about my dad and my papa. While they may not have international fame like the others do, they inspire me every single day and have helped make me who I am. They raised me to cherish traditions, to be myself, and to never give up. Unfortunately, my papa is no longer with us, and my dad’s health issues mean that he won’t be here as long as some other people’s fathers will. Life doesn’t always seem fair, but we must survive anyway. These two taught me that.
Who are the inspirational role models in your life?

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