What Inspires You to Take Action?

Thomas Jefferson, a man of action, said, “Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”

With that in mind, I acted. I started to really look for inspiration. I found it in many different places.

I read a magazine article about a woman now in her 30s who survived cancer from the age of 15; she has dedicated her life to helping others with cancer.

The Steps To Success

That inspires me to use my talents to help someone.

My wife, Ellen, is inspired by interacting with people; she has a bright smile that draws people to her and she can carry on a conversation with a perfect stranger and know their life story in five minutes.

Being one of the GRITS (Girls Raised In The South), she has, on many occasions, brightened the day of someone who was having a bad day. She is inspired by helping people.

Awhile back Ellen helped a lady who had colon cancer; she helped her find a treatment center, she helped her with medication and she drove her to treatments every week.

She got very close to this hard-working lady, a gentle but courageous soul who was very good at what she did cleaning houses for people. But on one ride to the treatment center, she told Ellen she had one regret in life – that she didn’t play enough… “I wish I’d gone fishing more,” she said. She passed away before she had the chance to fulfill that wish to fish.

This ultimately, in part, inspired our move to South Carolina – where we now fish and shrimp and crab in the Inter-Coastal Waterway.

Inspiration is just a thought until you act on it, but I guess sometimes the things you are inspired to do seem just too difficult, too unreachable, too unattainable, too far outside your comfort zone.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt suggested that each day you should do one thing that scares you.

I interpret this to mean that you step outside your comfort zone: if you fear talking to strangers, make yourself talk to a stranger each day, even if it’s to just say hello; if you avoid writing because it’s hard for you, make yourself write at least 500 words about anything each day; if you have a great voice but fear singing in front of people, start singing in the shower, then for your family and friends, then find a stage and an audience; whatever it is that limits you, but inspires you, overcome the fear and allow inspiration to turn to perspiration.

I think people may avoid acting on inspiration for fear of failure, which is always possible. But I like Thomas Edison’s take on failure. He said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

It might be on that 10,001st time that you achieve success.

So on this Friday May 17th, my inspiration is to generate action by this writing; to maybe inspire somebody to action, to light a fire under someone to take an inspiration they’ve had, act on it, turn it into perspiration and just do it.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Start your inspiration by telling us about it right here, right now, on Week-Ender. Writing it down and sharing it with PRB readers will make it real and if it’s real you can take action on it.

Now, I think I’ll go fishing…

Randy Gaddo , a retired Marine who also served for 15 years in municipal parks and recreation, is now a full-time photojournalist who lives in Beaufort, S.C.; he can be reached at (678) 350-8642 or email cwo4usmc@comcast.net.