Who helped inspire the “you” that you are now?

Taras Zaluzhny on Unsplash.com

Look back on your journey called life, and remember the people who helped make you the person you are today:

  • parents or grandparents who taught you a special skill,
  • teachers whose lessons remain imprinted in your mind,
  • mentors who guided you on your path,
  • friends who supported you through the toughest of situations,
  • and even critics who inadvertently helped push you even closer to your goals.

Here’s my silly little story to get a different perspective on Thanksgiving…

The first time I went to Japan, I knew a little Japanese in my head, but had only spoken a few words here and there in my high school classes. Now that I was living with a host family and going to high school in Japan, I needed to eventually say something. So I started with one word…

「ありがとう。」Thank you (informal)


Then I added on to it:

「ありがとうございます。」Thank you (formal)


Applause, seriously? Well, the next time I added on some more:

「どうもありがとうございます。」Thank you (more formal)


What in the world? Were these people crazy??

But this happened over and over again. With different sets of people. In different cities.

Over time, my vocabulary grew, and so did my network of supporters.

I am fortunate to have been surrounded by such supportive people in Japan. It is because of them that I am here today. 

I am so happy that Japan was one of my first stepping stones into the world. I did visit Poland as a teen, but living in Japan was like a sneak peek into the world. I was then inspired to travel to to other countries.

I am thankful to have spent time in a foreign country, because it opened my eyes to the beauty of other countries.

When you think back to why you made your decisions to take a certain class, apply to a particular college, pick your specific major, consider your future career path – who do you remember as being particularly helpful? What skills do you have now that were inspired by a particular person?

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