Stirring Inspirational Stories!

Reading inspirational stories—what an enjoyable way to change your attitude!

It's important to get yourself thinking about things from a different, more positive, point of view.

When you change your mind about what you're facing, what you're facing changes. It's like looking at your life through a different lens. And that's what this page of stories is designed to do—to help you look at life more clearly.

So when you're reading these inspirational stories, think about how you can apply their lessons to your life. And enjoy!

Inspirational Story about Achievement

The Daffodil Principle

My daughter telephoned me several times to say, ”Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive. "I will come next Tuesday,” I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove over. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house, I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, "We drive in this all the time, Mother." "Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her. "But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."

"Carolyn," I said sternly when we were on the road, "Please turn around." "It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”

After about 20 minutes, we turned onto a narrow gravel road, and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church stood a hand-lettered sign with an arrow that read, Daffodil Garden. We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path.

Yellow daffodils as far as the eye can see

Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. Daffodils were planted in majestic, swirling patterns—great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink and saffron- and butter-yellow. Each different-coloured variety was planted in a large group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn. "Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept small A-frame house, modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to it.

On the patio, we saw a poster with the headline: Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking. The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read. The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain." The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman I had never met, who, more than 40 years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty and inspiration.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal 35 or 40 years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start today," she said.

She was right. It's pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration, rather than a cause for regret, is to ask, "How can I put this to use today?"

The achievement of the daffodil garden teaches us one of life’s great lessons.

By moving toward our goals and desires one step at a time—often just one baby-step at a time—and learning to love the doing, we put the accumulation of time to good use.

When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

So use the Daffodil Principle! Stop waiting…
Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die...

Happiness is a journey, not a destination. There is no better time than right now to be happy.

~ End of inspirational story on achieving ~

Ready for another inspirational story? Here's a great one!

Inspirational Story about Adversity

Carrot, Egg or Coffee Bean?

A young woman told her mother how hard her life was. She didn’t know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as she solved one problem, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first pot, she placed carrots, in the second, she placed eggs, and in the last one, she put ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.

After about 20 minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "What do you see?" “Carrots, eggs and coffee," the daughter replied.

The mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did, noting that they had become soft. The mother then asked her to take an egg and break it. Pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its richness.

"But what's the point, mother?" the daughter asked. Her mother explained that each of these things had faced the same adversity—boiling water—but each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The fragile egg had an outer shell to protect its liquid interior. But after going through the boiling water, it became hard inside.

But the ground coffee beans were different. When they were in the boiling water, they transformed the water.

"When adversity comes knocking,” the mother asked, “how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

Which are you? Are you like the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do you wilt, become soft and lose your strength?

Are you like the egg that starts with a flexible heart, but changes with the heat? Did you start out with a fluid spirit, but after a loss, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have you become hardened and stiff? Does your shell look the same, but is your inside bitter and tough with a hardened heart?

A white cup of coffee with coffee beans scattered around it

Or are you like the coffee bean? When the water gets hot, the coffee bean releases its fragrance and flavour for everyone’s benefit. The coffee bean uses the hot water, the very circumstances that bring the pain, to transform itself and the water.

When times are darkest and trials their greatest, do you elevate to another level? If you are like the coffee bean, when things are at their worst, you can improve yourself and transform the situation around you.

Don't tell Life how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your LIFE is!

~ End of inspirational story on adversity ~

Inspirational Story about Attention

Look and See

During the second month of college, the professor gave his students a pop quiz.

One particularly conscientious student breezed through the questions, until he read the last one:

"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. The student had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would he know her name?

The student handed in his paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before the class ended, another student asked if the last question would count toward the quiz grade.

"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. Everyone deserves your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello."

The students never forgot that lesson. They also learned the cleaning lady’s name—Dorothy.

~ End of inspirational story on attention ~

Inspirational Story about Awareness

Here's an inspirational story to help you redefine what you think about as "normal."

Global Village

If we could shrink the Earth's population to a village of exactly 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look like this:

  • 57 Asians
  • 21 Europeans
  • 14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
  • 8 Africans
  • 52 females
  • 48 males
  • 70 non-whites
  • 30 whites
  • 70 non-Christians
  • 30 Christians
  • 89 heterosexuals
  • 11 homosexuals
  • 80 people would live in substandard housing
  • 70 would be unable to read
  • 50 would suffer from malnutrition
  • 1 would be near death
  • 1 would be near birth
  • 1 would have a college education
  • 1 would own a computer

When you consider our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, education, understanding and compassion becomes extremely clear.

~ End of inspirational story awareness ~

Inspirational Story about Focus

What Do You Feed?

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight, between two wolves.

"One is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

“The other is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

“This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee replied simply, "The one you feed."

~ End of inspirational story on focus ~

Inspirational Story about Giving

Wholly Wealthy

The world’s first billionaire was a man who knew how to set goals and follow through.

He tailored every decision, attitude and relationship to create his personal power and wealth. At the age of 23, he became a millionaire; by the age of 50, a billionaire.

But three years later, at 53, he became gravely ill. His entire body was racked with pain and he lost all the hair on his head. In complete agony, the world’s only billionaire, who could buy anything he wanted, could digest nothing but milk and crackers.

He could not sleep, he would not smile, and nothing in life meant anything to him.

His personal, highly skilled physicians predicted he would die within a year. That year passed agonizingly slowly.

Approaching death, he awoke one morning with the vague memories of a dream. He couldn’t recall the details, but he knew it had something to do with not being able to take any of his successes with him into the next world.

The man who controlled the business world suddenly realized he was not in control of his own life. He decided to make a choice. He called his attorneys, accountants and managers, and announced that he wanted to channel his assets to hospitals, research and mission work.

On that day, John D. Rockefeller established his foundation. This new direction eventually led to the discovery of penicillin and cures for strains of malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria.

The list of discoveries resulting from Rockefeller’s choice is enormous. But the most amazing part of Rockefeller’s story is that the moment he began to give back a portion of all he had earned, his body’s chemistry altered so significantly that he got better. Instead of dying at 53, he lived to be 98.

Rockefeller learned gratitude and gave back from his wealth. Doing so made him whole.

~ End of inspirational story on giving ~

Inspirational Story about Gratitude

This inspirational story will help you think twice before the next time you want to complain about something!

You Wanted It—So Be Grateful!

In the Just So Stories, English author Rudyard Kipling tells the tale of a drab, grey, four-legged animal who lived in Australia a very long time ago. But the animal was tired of being drab—it wanted to be different, and wonderfully sought after.

So the animal went to the Big God and said, "Make me different from all other animals."

The Big God said he would grant this wish. But then, to the drab animal's surprise, the Big God turned a hungry dingo loose on him. The drab animal ran, because it had to.

The dingo chased him all over Australia. The animal ran and ran, and his hind legs grew stronger and larger. Then the animal began to hop to stay ahead of the dingo. And as he hopped across Australia, he transformed, bit by bit, into what we now call a kangaroo.

When the dingo finally got tired of running, he and the kangaroo stopped to catch their breath.

A grey kangaroo

The Big God asked the kangaroo: "Aren't you grateful to Dingo? Why don't you thank him for all he's done for you?"

But the kangaroo was angry, not thankful.

So the Big God said, "Perhaps I'm mistaken, but didn't you ask me to make you different from all other animals, as well as to make you truly sought after?"

"Yes," said the kangaroo. "But I wish I hadn't. I thought you would suddenly transform me with charms and incantations, but this was like a bad joke."

Yet in reality, the kangaroo got exactly what he wanted—just not in the way he expected.

Sometimes, it may seem as if we're moving farther and farther away from our goal. But the important thing is to keep going. In the end, we'll see that we've transformed in the process.

Our "dingoes," or struggles, help us become the people we want to be—so be grateful for them!

~ End of inspirational story on gratitude ~

Inspirational Story about Integrity

No Bull

A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," the turkey sighed, "but I haven't got the energy."

"Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients."

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch.

Finally, after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched in the treetop, where a farmer spotted him, and shot him out of the tree.

So you see, bullshit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there!

~ End of inspirational story on integrity ~

Inspirational Story about Living in The Moment

Take the Time

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC one cold, December morning, and began to play the violin. He played six pieces by Bach for about 45 minutes. It was rush hour, and thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

No one paid any attention to the violinist at first. Then after three minutes, a middle-aged man noticed him playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds before hurrying on to keep to his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip. A woman threw the money in the box as she walked by.

A few minutes after that, a man leaned against the wall to listen to the music. But soon he looked at his watch and left.

The one who paid the most attention was a three-year-old boy. His mother was in a hurry, and dragged him along, but the child stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother tugged hard, and the child continued walking, turning his head back to see the violinist all the while.

Several other children repeated this action. Without exception, all the parents made them move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, about 20 people gave him money as they walked by without stopping. Only six people stopped and stayed for a while to listen. The musician collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew it, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, a world-class musician. And he played one of the most intricate pieces of music ever written, on a violin worth $3,500,000.

Two days before playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theatre in Boston, where the seats averaged $100 each.

This is a true story. The Washington Post organized Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station as part of a social experiment about people’s perception, taste and priorities. The outlines of the experiment were: In a commonplace environment and at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

Consider one of the conclusions of this experiment:

If we do not take a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the best music ever written, how many other beautiful things are we missing?

~ End of inspirational story on living in the moment ~

Inspirational Story about Love

The Installation of Love

Tech Support: How can I help you?

Customer: Well, after much consideration, I've decided to install Love. Can you guide me through the process?

Tech Support: Yes. I can help you. Are you ready to proceed?

Customer: Well, I'm not very technical, but I think I'm ready. What do I do first?

Tech Support: The first step is to open your Heart. Have you located your Heart?

Customer: Yes, but there are several other programs running now. Is it OK to install Love while they’re running?

Tech Support: What programs are running?

Customer: Let's see… I have Past Hurt, Low Self-Esteem, Grudge and Resentment running right now.

Tech Support: No problem. Love will gradually erase Past Hurt from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory but it will no longer disrupt other programs. Love will eventually override Low Self-Esteem with a module of its own called High Self-Esteem. However, you have to completely turn off Grudge and Resentment. Those programs prevent Love from installing properly. Can you turn them off?

Customer: I don't know how to turn them off. Can you tell me how?

Tech Support: With pleasure. Go to your start menu and invoke Forgiveness. Do this as many times as necessary, until Grudge and Resentment have been completely erased.

Customer: OK! Done! Love has started installing itself. Is that normal?

Tech Support: Yes, but remember that you have only the base program. You need to begin connecting to other Hearts in order to get the upgrades.

Customer: Oops! I have an error message already. It says, "Error—Program not run on external components." What should I do?

Tech Support: Don't worry. It means that the Love program is set up to run on Internal Hearts. In non-technical terms, it simply means that you have to Love yourself before you can Love others.

Customer: So, what should I do?

Tech Support: Pull down Self-Acceptance; then click on the following files: Forgive Self, Acknowledge Your Limitations and Realize Your Worth.

Customer: OK, done.

Tech Support: Now, copy them to the "My Heart" directory. The system will overwrite any conflicting files and begin patching faulty programming. Also, you need to delete Verbose Self-Criticism from all directories, and empty your Recycle Bin to make sure it is completely gone and never comes back.

Customer: Got it. Hey! My Heart is filling up with new files. Smile is playing on my monitor and Peace and Contentment are copying themselves all over My Heart. Is this normal?

Tech Support: Sometimes. For others it takes a while, but eventually everything gets it at the proper time. So Love is installed and running. One more thing before we hang up. Love is Freeware. Be sure to give it and its various modules to everyone you meet. They will in turn share it with others and return some cool modules back to you.

Customer: Thank you.

Universe/Tech Support: You're welcome! Anytime.

~ End of inspirational story on love ~

Inspirational Story about Obstacles

This inspirational story has a great moral to it—one I keep reminding myself of as I build this website!

Obstacles in Your Path

In ancient times, a great king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would move the huge rock.

Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around the boulder. Many of them loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none of them did anything about getting the rock out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.

After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king. The note said that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

The peasant learned what many of us never understand: Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve your condition!

~ End of inspirational story on obstacles ~

Inspirational Story about Self-reflection

Mirror, Mirror

Long ago, in a small, far away village stood the House of a Thousand Mirrors.

A happy little dog learned of this place, and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway, and looked through, his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could.

To his great surprise, he found himself staring at a thousand other happy little dogs, with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and a thousand great smiles just as warm and friendly as his answered him.

As he left the house, he thought to himself, "This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often."

In this same village, another little dog, not as happy as the first one, also decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs, and his head hung low as he looked through the doorway.

When he saw the thousand unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them. He was horrified to see a thousand little dogs growling back at him.

As he left, he thought to himself, "This is a horrible place. I will never go back again."

All the faces in the world are mirrors. What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the people you meet?

~ End of inspirational story on self-reflection ~

Inspirational Story about Trust

When Bad Things Happen...

Have you ever wondered, "What did I do to deserve this," or "Why did this have to happen to me?" Here is an explanation.

A daughter is telling her mother how everything is going wrong. She's failing at school, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.

Meanwhile, her mother is baking a cake. She asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, "Absolutely Mum, I love your cake."

"Here, have some cooking oil," her Mother offers. "Yuck," her daughter says.

"How about a couple of raw eggs?" "Gross, Mum!"

"Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?" "Mum, those are all yucky!"

Homemade sponge cake with fruit on top!

To which the mother replies: "Yes, all those things seem bad by themselves. But when they are put together, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!”

Life is like that. Many times we wonder why we have to go through such bad and difficult times. But Life knows that when we are put through these things, it’s for our own good—so we can grow and fulfill our potential.

Trust, and have faith, and eventually, all your difficulties will help you change in such a way that something wonderful emerges!

With this attitude, you can make your sufferings help you make your life "a piece of cake!”

~ End of inspirational story on trust ~

~ End of inspirational stories ~

If you'd like to read some more inspirational stories—with a different slant—please go to the Touching Inspiring Stories page.

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