People do not just suddenly decide to do things, follow a trend or support a leader.

A spark comes from somewhere or someone that lights the creative juices which in turn create and give energy to new sense of hope and direction.

We all look for this in our lives. Mostly we look outside of ourselves for this light. This is all good and well and on occasion we are lucky. But, if we really look hard enough within ourselves, we will probably find something that kick-starts the creative turbines that eventually result in us going beyond where we ever imagined possible.

Inspiration is such an ephemeral and fragile thing. Now you see it, feel it; now you do not! More importantly, the question should be how each of us can inspire others to do what they never thought they could do on their own. It is an essential question that we should all wrestle with. It would have such a beneficial effect on humanity. Imagine if every one of 8 billion people fully realised their potential, individually and collectively?  What a different place our world would be!

Most of us, maybe even all of us, never fully realise our full potential. To do so requires the inspiration in the first place to fully understand our potential. This is extremely difficult to do and mostly it is discovered by trial and error until suddenly something switches and we feel the release of pent-up inspirational energy. All of us benefit from the help provided by those around us and present in our consciousness. This is perhaps one of the reasons why a good mentor can be of such essential help, especially in our developmental years. All of us can remember a teacher, an adult, who encouraged us to take a step that we had not thought of taking on our own. Why do we stop allowing this as we grow older? Athletes and teams have coaches for this very purpose. To inspire them to a greatness they could not imagine on their own.

Real, impactful inspiration is not a short-term event. It does not suddenly come and then almost immediately depart. Worthwhile inspiration becomes a life’s work. As Michelangelo is reported to have retorted when asked how he got his statue of David to look so perfect he said, “I started with a big rock of granite and kept chipping away until he was perfect”!  This is what inspiration is like. Think of Mandela who spent a lifetime working on the creation of a nation at peace with itself and an inspiration for the world.

The spark for inspiration can come from anywhere and oftentimes at an unexpected moment. In my case sometimes an idea is so powerful it wakes me up in the dead of night and I just have to make a note of it so that it is still a conscious thought when I awake properly for the new day.  As a writer I can be anywhere when a thought comes to mind which I know needs exploring; or an idea which is so obvious and which should have already been in the manuscript that I wonder why it was left out in the first place!

But the idea itself is just that – it is an idea. For it to reach its full inspirational potential it needs to be thought through, developed and worked on until, like Michelangelo’s David, it starts to approach something as close to perfection as possible. This is no easy or short-term task. It takes effort, persistence and focus. The thinking around an inspiration reverberates around the brain for ages. It seldom reveals all of itself in the beginning or at one go. It is sly and only allows itself to be seen bit by bit. The harder you work at it the more it begins to take on shape and form and beauty.

I once asked my mother what the job of a captain is after I had been made captain of my rugby team. She said to me, after some thought, that if I failed to inspire my teammates I would have failed as a captain. That was almost 60 years ago! I am still working on finding the secrets of effective and inspirational leadership. I have come closer but there are still mysteries which elude me. Maybe I will never uncover all of them but I do think I have come much closer and more intimate with these than when I started out on this fascinating journey.

And so it was with the 1965Ride. The spark came from a discussion with the Headmaster of Queen’s College, Queenstown. When asked what we could do to help he said he needed bursaries for boys to come as boarders to the school. It took time for the spark to become a flame and even longer for it to turn into a fire but now ten years later it burns bright and people all over world know about it. History will show that the little spark has grown into something far larger and more permanent than was ever envisaged at the beginning! But it did not just happen. A great deal of effort from many people help to fuel the flame to keep it going!