Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media
I am thrilled to inform you that we now have a wonderful new database which allows you to see concise excerpts of all of the best, most inspiring news stories we've ever collected in one place. Below are one-paragraph excerpts from 12 of the most inspiring stories in this awesome collection. Should you want to read the full inspiring story on any of these excerpts, links are always included to the original story. There are currently about 60 wonderfully inspiring news stories in the new database, though it will continue to grow. You can enjoy all of them by clicking here. Join us in spreading the inspiration, and you have a great day!
With heartfelt love and best wishes,
Fred Burks for the inspiring and educational PEERS websites
Former language interpreter for Presidents Bush and Clinton
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news articles reported in the major media. Links are provided to the original articles on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. These inspiring news articles are listed with the most inspiring articles first. If you've visited this page before and want to see the most recent inspiring stories posted to website, click here. For a concise list providing headlines and links to a number of highly inspiring articles and stories, click here. May these articles inspire us to find ever more ways to love and support each other and all around us to be the very best we can be.
Free-hug man speaks out
2006-09-28, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia's leading newspaper)
The man behind the latest YouTube sensation has spoken out for the first time about his global cuddling controversy. Serial hugger Juan Mann describes the free hugs he hands out...as fast-food emotion. His cuddling campaign received an international dose of publicity today, after a clip showing his public displays of affection won a coveted front page spot on the video sharing website. An American television audience of millions also watched him at work, when the video was broadcast on the prime-time breakfast program Good Morning America yesterday. Today, the hugger was at it again, brandishing his "free hugs" sign in the busy pedestrian thoroughfare, and having quite a few people take him up on his offer. "It's a way to make people smile," Mann said. "For every person who gets a hug, you see five walk past with a smile on their face." But his efforts to spread the love became a little too popular for some people's liking, according to a blurb on the YouTube video, which said: "As this symbol of human hope spread across the city, police and officials ordered the Free Hugs campaign BANNED." Undeterred, Mann collected more than 10,000 signatures on a petition he presented to the City of Sydney council. Demands for a halt to the hugs petered out shortly after, and the end of the clip shows Mann hugging an official. City worker Elly Mitchell, who handed out a few free hugs on her lunch break today, said she was inspired to organise [an] event after seeing the video online. "We're going to hug the city," Ms Mitchell said.
Note: If you haven't seen this powerfully inspiring four-minute video clip yet, join the over 5 million who have seen it at https://www.personalgrowthcourses.net/video/free_hugs_campaign. The free hugs movement is rapidly spreading around the world! Click here and here to see more. For several other short, deeply inspiring videos, click here.
Microcredit pioneers win Nobel Peace Prize
2006-10-13, USA Today/Associated Press
Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their pioneering use of tiny, seemingly insignificant loans – microcredit – to lift millions out of poverty. "Lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty," the Nobel Committee said in its citation. "Microcredit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights." Grameen Bank was the first lender to hand out microcredit, giving very small loans to poor Bangladeshis who did not qualify for loans from conventional banks. No collateral is needed and repayment is based on an honor system. Anyone can qualify for a loan – the average is about $200 – but recipients are put in groups of five. Once two members of the group have borrowed money, the other three must wait for the funds to be repaid before they get a loan. The method encourages social responsibility. The results are hard to argue with – the bank says it has a 99% repayment rate. Since Yunus gave out his first loans in 1974, microcredit schemes have spread throughout the developing world and are now considered a key to alleviating poverty and spurring development. Worldwide, microcredit financing is estimated to have helped some 17 million people. "Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development," the Nobel citation said. Today, the bank claims to have 6.6 million borrowers, 97% of whom are women, and provides services in more than 70,000 villages in Bangladesh. Its model of micro-financing has inspired similar efforts around the world.
Note: Here is an important quote from the Nobel Committee not included in this article, "Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life." To make a real difference in giving all people a decent life by helping to reduce poverty in a dramatic way, see our empowering microcredit summary which describes how you can easily participate this inspiring worldwide movement.
Strongest Dad in the World
2005-09-17, Canadian Runner/Sports Illustrated
Eighty-five times [Dick Hoyt has] pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars -- all in the same day. Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. And what has Rick done for his father? Not much -- except save his life. This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs. "He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life," Dick says doctors told him. But the Hoyts weren't buying it. [Eventually,] rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was...able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!" And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that." Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. "Then it was me who was handicapped," Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks." That day changed Rick's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"
Note: Don't miss the entire incredibly moving story with links to the Hoyt's beautiful website, inspiring photos, and lot more at this link.
Academic turns city into a social experiment
2004-03-11, Harvard University Gazette
Antanas Mockus had just resigned from the top job of Colombian National University. A mathematician and philosopher, Mockus looked around for another big challenge. Mockus, who had no political experience, ran for mayor of Bogota. Mockus turned Bogota into a social experiment just as the city was choked with violence, lawless traffic, [and] corruption. People were desperate for a change. The eccentric Mockus, who communicates through symbols, humor, and metaphors, filled the role. When many hated the disordered and disorderly city of Bogota, he wore a Superman costume and acted as a superhero called "Supercitizen." People laughed at Mockus' antics, but the laughter began to break the ice. Mockus ... finished his second term as mayor this past January. The fact that he was seen as an unusual leader gave the new mayor the opportunity to try extraordinary things, such as hiring 420 mimes to control traffic in Bogota's chaotic and dangerous streets. He launched a "Night for Women" and asked the city's men to stay home in the evening and care for the children; 700,000 women went out on the first of three nights. Mockus sees the reduction of homicides from 80 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1993 to 22 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2003 as a major achievement. Yet Mockus doesn't like to be called a leader. "To me, it is important to develop collective leadership." Most important to Mockus was his campaign about the importance and sacredness of life. "In a society where human life has lost value," he said, "there cannot be a higher priority than re-establishing respect for life as the main right and duty of citizens."
Note: Don't miss the entire, highly inspiring story of political transformation with great photos at the link above, or for a shorter version, click here.
A change of heart changes everything
2005-06-00, Ode Magazine, June 2005 Issue
A California institute demonstrates how people can actually make their heart beat in a healthier way. HeartMath's research shows that emotions work much faster, and are more powerful, than thoughts. And that–when it comes to the human body–the heart is much more important than the brain to overall health and well-being. Briefly re-experiencing a cherished memory creates synchronization in your heart rhythm in mere seconds. Using a simple prescription that consists of a number of exercises that anyone can do anywhere in a few minutes ... HeartMath is successfully battling the greatest threat to health, happiness and peace in this world: stress. A successful anti-stress strategy provides results precisely at the moment the stress is experienced. This is what HeartMath does, which is why its client list now includes such leading companies as Hewlett Packard, Shell, Unilever, Cisco Systems, and Boeing. HeartMath ... has published a large body of scientific research in established and respected publications such as the Harvard Business Review and the American Journal of Cardiology. You can learn the techniques in five minutes and get positive results if you do them a few times a day for 30 seconds. Feelings of compassion, love, care and appreciation produce a smoothly rolling ... heart rhythm, while feelings of anger, frustration, fear and danger emit a jagged ... image. When people experience love, they not only feel happy and joyful, but they also produce ... the hormone that prevents aging and gives us feelings of youthful vitality. HeartMath's slogan–a change of heart changes everything–pretty much sums it up. We can change the world, starting with ourselves.
Note: To visit the inspiring website of the Institute of HeartMath, see http://www.heartmath.org.
This Magic Moment
It was like many Maui mornings, the sun rising over Haleakala as we greeted our divers for the day's charter... Near the last level of the dive ... three of us caught the current and drifted along the outside of the reef, slowly beginning our ascent until, far below, something caught my eye. I made out the white shoulder patches of a manta ray in about one hundred and twenty feet of water. So I started calling through my regulator, "Hey, come up and see me!" I had tried this before to attract the attention of whales and dolphins, who ... will come sometimes just to see what the noise is about. Once my brain clicked in and I was able to concentrate, I saw deep V-shaped marks of her flesh missing from her backside. She had fishing hooks embedded in her head by her eye, with very thick fishing line running to her tail. She had rolled with the line and was wrapped head to tail about five or six times. The line had torn into her body at the back, and those were the V-shaped chunks that were missing. Forgetting about my air, my divers and where I was, I went to the manta. I moved very slowly and talked to her the whole time, like she was one of the horses I had grown up with. When she had steadied, I took out the knife that I carry on my inflator hose. I cut through one line and into the next until she had all she could take of me and would move away, only to return in a moment or two. I could have stayed there forever! ... I was totally oblivious to everything but that moment. I loved this manta. I was so moved that she would allow me to do this to her. But reality came screaming down on me. With my air running out, I reluctantly came to my senses and pushed myself away...
Note: Don't miss the entire moving story at the link above.
Researchers Seek Routes to Happier Life
2006-11-26, Washington Post/Associated Press
As a motivational speaker and executive coach, Caroline Adams Miller knows a few things about using mental exercises to achieve goals. But last year, one exercise she was asked to try took her by surprise. Every night, she was to think of three good things that happened that day and analyze why they occurred. That was supposed to increase her overall happiness. "I thought it was too simple to be effective," said Miller. "I went to Harvard. I'm used to things being complicated." Miller was assigned the task as homework in a master's degree program. "The quality of my dreams has changed, I never have trouble falling asleep and I do feel happier." Miller said the exercise made her notice more good things in her day, and that now she routinely lists 10 or 20 of them rather than just three. That exercise is one of several that have shown preliminary promise in recent research into how people can make themselves happier – not just for a day or two, but long-term. There has been very little research in how people become happier. The big reason ... is that many researchers have considered that quest to be futile. But recent long-term studies have revealed that the happiness thermostat is more malleable than the popular theory maintained. One new study ... followed thousands of Germans for 17 years. About a quarter changed significantly over that time in their basic level of satisfaction with life. Another approach under study now is having people work on savoring the pleasing things in their lives like a warm shower or a good breakfast. [Yet] another promising approach is having people write down what they want to be remembered for, to help them bring their daily activities in line with what's really important to them.
Daring rescue of whale: Humpback nuzzled her saviors in thanks
2005-12-14, San Francisco Chronicle
A humpback whale freed by divers from a tangle of crab trap lines near the Farallon Islands nudged its rescuers and flapped around in what marine experts said was a rare and remarkable encounter. "It felt to me like it was thanking us, knowing that it was free and that we had helped it," James Moskito, one of the rescue divers, said Tuesday. "It stopped about a foot away from me, pushed me around a little bit and had some fun." Sunday's daring rescue was the first successful attempt on the West Coast to free an entangled humpback. It was a very risky maneuver...because the mere flip of a humpback's massive tail can kill a man. "I was the first diver in the water, and my heart sank when I saw all the lines wrapped around it," said [James] Moskito. "I really didn't think we were going to be able to save it." Moskito said about 20 crab-pot ropes, which are 240 feet long with weights every 60 feet, were wrapped around the animal. Rope was wrapped at least four times around the tail, the back and the left front flipper, and there was a line in the whale's mouth. Moskito and three other divers spent about an hour cutting the ropes with a special curved knife. The whale floated passively in the water the whole time, he said, giving off a strange kind of vibration. "When I was cutting the line going through the mouth, its eye was there winking at me, watching me," Moskito said. "It was an epic moment of my life." When the whale realized it was free, it began swimming around in circles, according to the rescuers. Moskito said it swam to each diver, nuzzled him and then swam to the next one.
Brazil city slashes crime by closing its bars early
2006-05-10, San Francisco Chronicle
A bold and controversial law that shuts down bars and restaurants after 11 p.m. has turned Diadema, one of Brazil's most violent cities, into an urban model. The law has cut homicides by nearly half and has slashed other crimes by as much as 80 percent after forcing nearly all of the city's 4,800 bars and restaurants in 2002 to stop selling alcohol between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Since then, the homicide rate has dropped by 47 percent, traffic accidents by 30 percent, assaults against women by 55 percent, and alcohol-related hospital admissions by 80 percent. "Diadema had a large homicide rate, and we estimated that based on the data they gave us, the intervention prevented about 270 homicides over a three-year period," said Joel Grube...director of prevention research. The law's success has municipalities across Brazil adopting similar measures. At least 120 towns and cities have restricted the hours in which alcohol can be served, and the federal government now offers additional funds for law enforcement to localities that implement such measures. With little federal control over alcohol sales or consumption, closing bars in troubled areas is an effective way to cut alcohol-related problems, said Ronaldo Laranjeira, a Sao Paulo physician who led the joint Brazil-U.S. study of homicide rates in Diadema after the law took effect. "They made a relatively modest intervention that doesn't really cost any money, and they got these dramatic improvements."
Finding happiness outside the GNP
2006-01-23, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
You don't have to live in a remote mountain kingdom to rise above the world's frantic pursuit of wealth and consumer goods. Anyone can do it, says his Excellency Lyonpo Jigmi Thinley, minister for home and cultural affairs for the Himalayan nation of Bhutan. He wants to encourage others to do as his country has done, which is to seek "Gross National Happiness [GNH]" more than gross national product [GNP]. "What we need," Thinley said in a phone interview Friday, "is a more caring and compassionate society. Bhutan has made Gross National Happiness -- which its officials also call GNH -- its official index for evaluating development. Production-oriented societies suffer from high rates of mental illness, crime, alcoholism, family breakups and personal alienation; their devotion to the profit motive and self-satisfaction undermines human harmony and fosters the plundering of the Earth's resources, he said. "How many governments are truly committed, how many communities are truly committed to equity, to sustainability?" he asked. To achieve GNH, Thinley said, Bhutan has committed itself to sustainable and equitable development, environmental conservation, preservation of culture and good governance.
Are They Here to Save the World?
2005-01-12, New York Times
If you have not been in an alternative bookstore lately, it is possible that you have missed the news about indigo children. They represent "perhaps the most exciting, albeit odd, change in basic human nature that has ever been observed and documented," Lee Carroll and Jan Tober write in "The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived." The book has sold 250,000 copies since 1999 and has spawned a cottage industry of books about indigo children. In "The Indigo Children," Mr. Carroll and Ms. Tober define the phenomenon. Indigos, they write, share traits like high I.Q., acute intuition, self-confidence, resistance to authority and disruptive tendencies, which are often diagnosed as attention-deficit disorder, known as A.D.D., or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or A.D.H.D. "These children are the answers to the prayers we all have for peace," said Doreen Virtue, a former psychotherapist for adolescents who now writes books and lectures on indigo children. She calls the indigos a leap in human evolution. "They're vigilant about cleaning the earth of social ills and corruption, and increasing integrity." Marjorie Jackson, a tai chi and yoga teacher....said that schools should treat children more like adults, rather than placing them in "fear-based, constrictive, no-choice environments, where they explode."
Note: ABC has a six-minute news clip on these special children (after a short commercial) available at: http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=1333197 For another amazingly inspiring video clip of one of these unusual children, click here. For an upcoming film on indigo children and lots more, click here
You've got to find what you love [by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs]
2005-06-15, Stanford Report of Stanford University
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. This is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation – the Macintosh – a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Note: The full speech (available at the link above) is highly inspiring. For some excellent ideas on how to find what you love and develop the courage to follow your heart and intuition, click here.
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Inspiring News Stories