If you’re receptive enough, you can find inspiration in anything. A meandering river that has carved its path out of rock shows you what being consistent can achieve. Stories of people overcoming adversity like losing a limb to help others often leave us in awe, while tales of teamwork helping to save the lives of helpless animals is always heartwarming.
Many “everyday” people can provide us with inspiration too. Someone who gets up each morning and toils away at work to put food on the table and the firefighters who run into danger to protect others are just two examples of this.
A large proportion of us find inspiration from sports stars and athletes too. They are often people who show us that even things that seem impossible can be achieved if we just put our minds to it. Here are some astonishing athletes that’ll leave you in awe.
Until recently, Michael Schumacher was statistically the most successful Formula 1 driver in history. Many F1 fans would argue that he remains the sport’s best talent, even after Lewis Hamilton has matched or broken many of his records, including most race wins, most wins at the same Grand Prix, most World Championships, and most pole positions.
Schumacher is one of the most inspirational drivers in the sport because of his methodical approach, his focus on his team, and his love of a challenge. He achieved this without coming from a wealthy background, using hard work, extreme focus, and unmatched levels of dedication instead.
After he won his second World Drivers’ Championship in 1995, Schumacher could have stayed with Benetton where he would have likely challenged for even more titles. Instead, he chose to move to Ferrari where he would play a key role in rebuilding the Italian team.
Before he joined, the Prancing Horse hadn’t won a Constructors’ Championship since 1983 and a Drivers’ Championship since 1979. After several years of toil and near misses, these droughts were ended in 1999 and 2000 respectively, beginning one of the most dominant performances ever seen in the sport.
Schumacher’s influence on F1 is just as strong today as it was while he was competing. Drivers train harder, spend more time getting to know their mechanics, and show much more dedication. That’s because the German raised the bar of what was required to compete in Formula 1 and drivers must do this today if they want even a slim chance of success.
Jennifer Shahade is a woman who has enjoyed success in just about everything she’s tried her hand at. She started out playing chess, becoming a Grandmaster after winning two US Women’s Сhess Championships, competing in the Chess Olympiad three times, and winning two FIDE International Master norms.
After enjoying so much success herself, she decided to help other women to follow in her footsteps. She did this in a number of ways, including becoming a board member of the World Chess Hall of Fame, hosting podcasts that focus on female chess players, and even writing books aimed at inspiring more women to compete in the male-dominated sport.
Success in one sport isn’t enough for Shahade though. She later decided to try her hand at poker and won her first-ever tournament in 2014. She’s since gone on to become a Mind Sports Ambassador for PokerStars and even hosts a poker podcast.
Shahade is a shining example for women everywhere and should be a source of inspiration for anyone that wants to try their hand at any sport.
Sadio Mané, a winger for the English Premier League side of Liverpool, was born in Bambali, Senegal but has played professional football in Europe for his entire adult life. While playing for RB Salzburg, he scored 31 goals from 63 appearances, nearly one every two games, a record he has come close to matching during his five seasons at Liverpool.
At an international level, Mané is the second-highest all-time goal scorer for Senegal and was named the African Footballer of the Year in 2020.
His contract with Liverpool means that Mané earns around £5 million a year. While nowhere near the highest sum ever earned by a player in football, it’s certainly a large sum that many people may never earn in a lifetime.
Many footballers take advantage of this wealth to buy expensive cars, clothes, and other gadgets but Mané has remained very humble. In early 2020, during Liverpool’s dominant run to its first league title in 30 years, Mané was photographed carrying a phone with a cracked screen.
The Senegalese player has made clear he intends to use his wealth to help others. In late 2019 he told TeleDakar he would rather build schools and buy food and clothes for poor people than to buy “ten Ferraris, 20 diamond watches and two jet planes”. He went further, adding that the phone with the cracked screen was a gift from a friend and that it had sentimental value beyond the cracked screen.