The beaten path is the safest, but the traffic's terrible.
- Jeff Taylor
Everywhere you look the world is filled with inspiration, even a world full of problems.
AA cofounder Bill Wilson famously said the world is a problem place because it is filled with problem people. I think the same can be said for inspiration. The world is likewise an inspiring place because it is filled with inspiring people, many of whom appear in Guideposts magazine and on Guideposts.org. At the risk of sounding presumptuous, I believe we are the national experts on inspiration, a clearinghouse of hope. At least that’s what our readers and users say we mean to them.
What constitutes inspiration? To turn another well-known phrase on its head, I’m not sure but I know it when I see it.
Inspiration is a very personal, almost intimate experience. An inspirational story moves us in a way other stories don’t; they make us feel more than think, perhaps, and touch us deep in a place most experiences never reach. They can send a shiver down our spines and a ripple through our souls. They can swell our hearts with joy and reaffirm our faith in our fellow human beings (and animals, too). They can deepen our connection to God. Inspiration can motivate us, comfort us, even change us. It can make us laugh or cry…or both. But a great inspirational story never leaves us feeling the same.
Everybody loves end-of-year lists. This year the editors tried to pick the 10 most inspiring stories from the hundreds we’ve published in 2010. There was a lot of back and forth. Ten seemed like far too small a number but lists are supposed to be short. Somehow we all finally agreed on 10. What surprised me most was the number of celebrity stories that made the final cut. Yet who could forget actress Glenn Close’s brave and honest personal telling of her family’s struggle with mental illness.
I don’t have a favorite among these 10. I love them all. Take a look and see if you don’t agree.
Here’s to a truly inspiring 2011.
Which of these stories did you find most inspiring? Comment below!
No More Secrets
Mental illness in actress Glenn Close's family has inspired her to campaign for awareness and hope.
What Inspires Emily Procter
The CSI: Miami actress recounts the story of how she finally found happiness in Los Angeles, and who helped her get there.
The Town That Saved Their Bakery
The French bakery had given their town hope. This inspiring story about a motivated community proves anything is possible if you try hard enough.
Meet a surgeon who found hope in the devastation of an earthquake.
Ike Ditzenberger, Not Your Average High School Football Player
The inspiring story of a high school football player's shining moment.
Advice for Life: Repurpose!
Working in the town dump wasn't inspiring, until one woman decided to change her thinking and "repurpose" her life.
A desperate single mom returns to the home where she was fostered as a child, finding hope and strength again.
Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of Guideposts Publications. Edward lives in New York City with two blondes—his wife, Julee, and Golden Retriever, Millie, who has been featured in his blog and popular videos. Edward loves cycling, hiking with Millie at his house in the Berkshire Hills and Wolverines that hail from Michigan.
If you need a little boost of inspiration, pick up a copy of Edward's book The Promise of Hope: How True Stories of Hope and Inspiration Saved My Life and How They Can Transform Yours.