It is a favored belief that all men are equal. Indeed, the constitutions of many countries also reflect this thought. While people would love to subscribe to this view, it is an undeniable fact that some men are far superior to the rest of us. These are the people who have shaped and defined the world we live in today.
In our world, where the speed of travel is increasing at a rapid rate, what separates people is not distance but culture. And these people, who have influenced others across the globe, have impacted the basic principles of our society. They have changed not only the way we dress or our entertainment preferences but our very perception of how we view things, the values we have imbibed and a basic thinking pattern. These are the 20 most inspirational people who have ever lived on this planet. The order in which they are mentioned has no relation to their respective importance.
Imhotep, also known as the actual ‘Father of Medicine’, has left an overwhelming effect on the history of the world. He is remembered till date as one of the first and the most influential architect, physician and engineer the world has ever had. This intellectual was the brain behind the construction of the ‘Step Pyramid’, which was built to bury the Third Dynasty king, Djoser. Imhotep undertook many responsibilities during his life span, such as the Chancellor of the King of Egypt and Administrator of the Great Palace among the many other roles that he donned. He was one of the few people, who were designated with a godlike status after his death.
2. George Washington
Elected as the president of United States for two consecutive terms, George Washington has been one of the most influential people in shaping the future of America. He was venerated for his strong leadership qualities and his decision-making capabilities. Also addressed as the ‘Father of His Country’ Washington introduced a system of cabinet advisers, which is used till date.
3. Walt Disney
The animation industry is incomplete without Walt Disney, a popular cartoonist who has done more than his bit of filling people’s lives with the happiness of animated movies. This entertainer has won numerous awards for his outstanding work. To his credit are seven ‘Emmy Awards’ and 22 ‘Academy Awards’. In December 15, 1996, we lost this exceptionally talented legend, who was and will continue to be a source of entertainment for our future generations.
4. Che Guevara
Ernesto Guevara was a rebel from Argentina, who is also referred to as ‘Che’. It was during his travels throughout South America that he saw the miserable state of the people and this stark contrast with the rich invoked his Marxists beliefs. Guevara worked with Fidel Castro, a Cuba politician, during the Cuban Revolution. He is remembered by millions as a cultural hero. El Che wrote the following beautiful lines on his epitaph, “Wherever death may surprise us, let it be welcome, provided that our battle cry may have reached some receptive ear and another hand may be extended to wield our weapons”. This speaks volumes about his warrior spirit.
5. Sigmund Freud
Revered as the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud is one of the most controversial and inspirational thinkers of the 20th century. This Austrian neurologist was obsessed with deriving the meaning of the dreams that people get. His investigations with respect to the subconscious mind and their effect on the dreams produced interesting results, making him a popular and influential personality of that century. Even though Freud died 70 years ago, he has left an ever lasting impression in the field of psychology and on our minds.
Celebrated as the ‘Father of Western Medicine’, the influence Hippocrates has on the medical field is enormous. A proof of the impact that he has created is the Hippocratic Oath; which is taken by every new physician, before they can begin their practice. He is also regarded as the person who gave the world a new professional field—medicine. He was one of the first rational and logical thinkers of the 5th century BC, who put his foot down and refused to accept groundless beliefs. Though people believed that if someone fell ill it was because of the supreme divine forces, the Greek thinker refused to accept the notion.
7. Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin was one of the greatest biologists, fondly remembered for his famous, ‘Theory of Evolution’, also known as the ‘Darwinian Theory’. The scientist led his life in a way that was against the basic principles of Christianity, which resulted in Darwin constantly being under the spot light.
8. Galileo Galilei
Celebrated as the ‘Father of Science’, Galileo Galilei has made an ever lasting impression and changed the very dynamics of physics and astronomy. By improvising, he enhanced on existing instruments such as the microscope and telescope, which made research easier and hence effective. Hence, he is very rightly considered as one of the most influential people we ever had. The Italian astronomer was very infamous among the masses due to religious views, which the people called, devilish.
Popularly known as one of the finest arithmeticians the world has ever had, his work in the field of mathematics is unmatched. The Greek mathematician discovered an approximate value of Pi, and also coined the word ‘Eureka’. The term is used in today’s language to express elation when we come across something new.
Other legendary personalities like Leonardo da Vinci and Newton have also been influenced by his outstanding work so much so that it played a role while they were discovering their own concepts.
10. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart is considered as one of the most persuasive musicians of the period 1750-1820. Some of his sensational compositions comprise of the ‘The Magic Fruit’ and ‘The Marriage of Figaro’, among others. Till date, his songs have had a deep impact on western music. By the time this genius was 5-years-old, he already was proficient in playing the keyboard and the violin. The prodigy composed his first ever music at the same age. The evergreen artist created innumerable songs in his short lifespan of 30 years.
11. Julius Caesar
A discussion about Roman History would be incomplete without the mention of Julius Caesar, considering the impact and the influence he had on the people. A proof of the inspiration that he was can be measured by the fact that even today he is remembered in history and literature books all over the world. Also known as the ‘Father of Leap Year’, Caesar was considered by many chronologists to be one of the greatest army commanders the world has ever witnessed.
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher, fondly called as ‘The First Teacher’ by the learned Muslims of the medieval period. With assistance from Socrates and Plato, he laid the building blocks of reasoning and rationalism, which continues to be used in the prevalent thought structure. According to a survey done by a reliable source, he is undoubtedly among the most significant people who have ever lived on this planet.
13. Alexander the Great
Alexander was the monarch of Macedonia. The Greek ruler conquered and governed the largest empire of those times, at an early age of thirty. Mentored by Aristotle, this great ruler is a prominent figure in history and has left a huge impact on the Greeks. He was the fountainhead for people learning about Greek Philosophy in the world, giving rise to the Hellenistic period.
14. Saint Paul
Saint Paul was a Christian preacher of the first century who dedicated his life to preach the gospel. He was a prominent figure in the early expansion of Christianity, which was propagated mainly through his writings. ‘Saul of Tarsus’ as he is originally called, used his Roman and Jewish nationality to tell the people about Christianity.
15. Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein is an eminent Physicist, who established The General Theory of Relativity, without which physics would be incomplete. This German brain is widely known for his dominance in the field of science and his academic abilities, which makes him one of the most intelligent people who have ever lived.
One of the greatest thinkers of the world, Confucius gained immense popularity during the ‘Age of Philosophers’. The ‘Five Classics’, a popular book which was authored by him actually is a recording of his teachings, and it has a huge effect on the Eastern Asian civilization. He is well known for this saying of his: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”.
17. Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was a mastermind in nearly every discipline that you can think of; such as literature, engineering, astronomy etc. However, it is his artistic skills which have been unbeatable till date. The portrait of ‘Mona Lisa’ is the most talked-about painting and the world is yet to see another portrait that can match its mysterious allure.
18. Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton is a well-known mathematician and physicist who is celebrated for discovering various laws and theories. These theories have formed the basis of the field popularly known as ‘Newton physics’. This renowned personality has to his credit, ‘The Three Laws of Motion’, which are used even today and widely accepted. Another famous law that this great scientist has established is ‘The Universal Law of Gravity’, which helps us estimate the force between 2 bodies. During his time, he was regarded as the ‘Natural Philosopher’ and is one of the most celebrated scientists till date.
19. Prophet Mohammad
Known to be one of the greatest and the most popular Prophet in Islam, Mohammad spent his entire life dedicated to Islam. His aim in life was to impart the teachings of Quran to everyone, and his sermons are considered to be the foundation of Islam. Today, his teachings are prevalent and inspire millions of people.
20. Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ has been named as the most significant person in human history ever, according to a large number of surveys. He is popularly considered to be the genesis of Christianity and has been instrumental in spreading the faith throughout the world. He is known to be the ‘Son of God’, who gave up his life to free people of the sins they had committed. The monumental impact he has on people today can be seen by the faith reposed in him.
As children, we all had some heroes in our lives; Superman, Batman or Spiderman to name a few. We always tried to emulate them and for some of us, their costumes were our prized possessions. But as we grew older, we outgrew these heroes, and they got relegated to being just ‘childhood fascinations’.
As adults, it is the influential people listed above, who could be our heroes. They inspire us to strive to be better than what we are. They have not only influenced the world but have also set a benchmark for dedication and excellence, and have pointed us towards the worthwhile goals in life.