Inspiration Corner
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February 5: 5 POWER Lessons From 5 Leaders Who Made History On This DAY!

Blessed are the ones who have someone to look up to and learn from. We must all today feel lucky while we take a journey, although we face challenges, we can see someone who has already achieved (with multiple resources, especially the internet!), learn from someone and move on. It is more challenging when you are the first one to do so without any examples or resources or mentors to guide you. We believe that the lessons below, from the journeys of truly great leaders who have walked the paths taken by none other and still reaching the pinnacle of success.

1. “Many a times, life takes unexpected turns. At such time, it’s good to just go with the flow. Change the direction but never your goal.”

As mentioned, life is so unexpected that it sometimes gives a completely opposite result than what is expected. This might, a lot of times, make way for you to understand a new dimension of yourself. So never miss to explore the new you. Just go with what’s best for now. Living with such principles, just going with the flow and trying to explore himself, was what made actor John Carradine begin a non-stop film career. John Carradine best known for his roles in horror films, Westerns, and Shakespearean theatre, is considered to be one of Hollywood's most prolific character actors. Carradine grew up in Peekskill and Kingston, New York, and attended Christ Church School. He worked as a painter and sculptor in the South before making his acting debut in a production of Camille in New Orleans in 1925.

He moved to Hollywood to try his luck as an actor, but didn't make his screen debut until 1930 in Tol'able David. In 1935, he signed with Fox and began a non-stop career both vast and varied. Though his performances were significant, in numerous character roles, he took on an increasing number of parts in horror flicks, eventually appearing in more films of that genre than virtually any other actor. In addition, he toured in one-man Shakespeare productions and continued to play every imaginable role, including Dracula, Presidents and Nazis.

His unusual credits and booming presence earned him a reputation as an eccentric, and he became known as the "Bard of the Boulevard" because he often recited Shakespeare while strolling the Hollywood streets.

2. “Gender, race and religion are only a part of the systems made by humans. It never defined your limits and never will.”

During the early 20th century when woman were seldom employed, this lady became one of the first few women entrepreneurs of the country. Meet Ruth Fertel, a Louisiana businesswoman, who was best-known as the founder of Ruth's Chris Steak Houses.

Growing up in Louisiana's rural Plaquemines Parish, Fertel always was determined to become successful at anything she did. She also earned a thoroughbred trainer’s license, becoming one of the first women horse trainers in Louisiana. When her life seemed to be moving smooth, she had to suffer when she and her husband divorced, leaving her as a single mother of two young boys. She began to earn some money sewing but also knew that it wouldn’t be enough to send the boys to school. When she read an advertisement that read “steak house for sale,” she decided she would buy it and grow through it. With no bank ready to give her a business loan, she took out a mortgage with her home, the only asset she had. Despite having no experience as a restaurateur, Fertel taught herself every single part of her business from taking orders, to cooking, to mixing drinks, to handling food suppliers, always keeping an eye on the quality of the food she served.

She spent all her time improving the business tirelessly, and became known as “Miss Ruth.” Failure was never an option for Fertel. “The restaurant staff was expecting me to fail . . . especially since I was a woman,” she once said. Various other struggles were faced by her as an entrepreneur and as a woman, including people’s criticizing voices, which never limited her success. Soon her steak houses spread all over the country and currently serves all over the world. The next time you see or visit a Ruth’s Chris restaurant, you are sure to feel more proud of it having known the struggling success story behind the creation of it.

3. “Your status during your birth doesn’t define your status during your death. How you live between the two occasions does.”

While many still complain about what they do not have, many of our leaders have proved through their journey how important it is, to utilize the available resources and one can still achieve great heights. One such leader was Arthur Keith, a distinguished Scottish anatomist and anthropologist, who made remarkable contribution in the study of human evolution.

The journey to create his identity wasn’t easy for Keith who was born in a modest family who made remarkable contribution in the study of human evolution. With not much money to reach a career of his dream, he was bound to make sacrifices and work truly hard to work his way up. He was interested in medicine right from his childhood days and had to gain scholarships at each step of his education. He graduated with a degree in medicine but later shifted his interest to anthropology.

According to Keith, the evolution of the human race was as per the evolutionary harvest of nature. He also shared views with regard to the evolution of human society arising from competition based on patriotism, resentment, revenge, morality, leadership and many others. An extraordinary active and creative man, Keith made more than 500 publications, was much sought after by the popular press and engaged in several public debates largely revolving around his Darwinian beliefs and agnosticism. Throughout his journey, the struggles he experienced, were never the reasons for him to stop doing, rather they became reasons to push him harder. One must not forget that, it’s how you think at the time of such challenging situation, that decide what you become.

4. “You don’t have to lead 100s of people to achieve a goal. You can still do your best as one among the 100s and help achieve the end goal.”

Many a times, we have heard a lot of youngsters saying “I don’t want to work for someone else and want to be on my own and be a leader.” Well, the truth is – one can be a leader even when you work for someone; you could rather call it “working with someone.” It’s about the purpose you wish to live for, that matters; it’s the vision that you wish to achieve that matters irrespective of the position you are in.

One such was Georgia Gilmore, a midwife, cook and restaurateur who was also a civil rights activist, who founded the fundraising group known as the ‘Club From Nowhere’, to help fund the expenses of Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama, led by Rosa Parks. Gilmore actively participated in the boycott, walking to her destinations and fending off taunts from local youth. She was fired from her post at National Lunch after she testified in court about a driver. Gilmore then started a restaurant in her own house. Her spot was a haven for civil rights strategists.

The Club From Nowhere, which consisted of African-American women cooking cakes and pies, sold goods to both black and white customers. The money received from the sales went to funding boycott transportation costs. Gilmore was the sole officer of the club, responsible for turning in funds at the weekly mass meetings. Gilmore hoped that the success of the group had encouraged other "ordinary folks" to do the same. This organization and others like it are cited by some as what kept the boycott alive by providing money as well as grass-roots support within the community. Although Gilmore was just a part of the community, she never failed to do her best and contribute to achieve the goal.

5. “The journey is always more important than the destination. The success may or may not teach you lessons, but the ups and downs during the journey are sure to.”

This is a common lesson we’ve all heard of, but how many of us do focus on the lessons to learn, rather than the results. We are struck in this world which only needs results and hence, our focus shifts to the final destination. But it’s important we go through struggles and challenges, handle and overcome them, which are what help us move further to the next journey too. Red Buttons (born Aaron Chwatt) was a renowned comedian and actor who had to cross various hurdles to reach where he did.

Born in 1919 to Jewish immigrant parents, he attended Evander Childs High School in the Bronx, and had to work on different jobs for supporting himself. As a teenager the stand-up comedian earned his stage name by working as a singing bellhop in a bar. He started his career singing on street corners as a child. At 16, he got a job as part of a comedy act playing the famed Catskills resort area in New York. A gifted performer on stage, screen, and television, Buttons was equally talented in drama or comedy genres, but it was his comedy that brought him fame. In September 1942, the comedian got his Broadway debut in the show Vickie.

He was also chosen to perform in the Broadway comedy show Winged Victory. In 1952, the red-haired comedian got his own TV series "The Red Buttons Show" on CBS. The comedy show lasted three years and the comedian won an Emmy for Best Comedian. After 1955, his career went into decline, but the gifted comedian made an auspicious comeback playing a love-struck American soldier. After his Oscar-winning role (for the soldier role in Sayonara movie), he performed in numerous feature films. The stand-up comedian was number 71 on Comedy Central's list of the ‘100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time.’ (Sources:,,,

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 5th February 2017.
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