Sometimes, I struggle to stay optimistic on a daily basis. It is not the easiest task to motivate myself, especially when I go through a rough week at work. I motivate myself by reading motivational books, or even listening to motivational podcasts.
There is one book which inspires me the most – ‘How Starbucks Saved My Life’ by Michael Gates Gill. It’s about a man who had it all in his life – a mansion, a wife and loving children, and a lucrative salary. However, he lost his job, got divorced, and was eventually diagnosed with a brain tumor.
His life fell apart until he was forced to work in Starbucks. He had to scrub toilets, serve coffee, and learn how to manage a cash register. That experience of working in Starbucks taught him many valuable lessons in life, from friendship to self-worth and happiness.
Locally, we too have our own motivational figures. Here are five Malaysian motivational speakers which definitely motivate and inspire me.
1. Kevin Zahri
Kevin Zahri, better known as Cikgu Fitness Malaysia, is an award-winning fitness and health influencer. He is one of the pioneers of fitness in Malaysia. He founded Jom Kurus, a six-week weight loss challenge which emphasizes on fitness education, where participants are taught exercise and proper nutrition.
He may not be a conventional motivational speaker, but he has motivated and influenced many people to lose weight and live healthier lives through his e-books, videos and blog.
If you need six tips and some motivation to lose weight, you can watch this video. Maybe it’ll help push you to challenge yourself and fit into that pair of jeans you’ve been eyeing for a long time!
2. Izmir Yamin
If you’re a fan of the The Big Bang Theory, you’ll know that Howard Wolowitz is a rocket scientist. In Malaysia, we too, have a rocket scientist – his name is Izmir Yamin.
Izmir Yamin is the founder and CEO of Independence X and Pulsar UAV, which won the 2017 Frost & Sullivan Malaysia Excellence Award.
His company, Independence X, was one of the finalists for Google Lunar XPrize competition. There, participants race to finish a few tasks – which includes successfully landing a space craft on the surface of the moon, then have a space rover travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, before sending images and videos of the above tasks back to earth.
In fact, Independence X is the only ASEAN country in the finals, competing against 16 other teams from all over the world.
Even though Izmir Yamin did not win that competition, but his perseverance and enthusiasm in aerospace continues to inspire many others to follow in his success.
3. Jonathan Low
Jonathan Low is not a familiar name to many, but his motivational keynotes are influential. He focuses on those who work in the sales and services industry.
His 25 years of experience in professional and international business has put him in the same league as other successful motivational speakers. He is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), who has worked with many brand names like Maybank, Berjaya Hotels & Resorts, and IOI Properties, just to name a few.
He has also written and published a book titled, “Winning Clients’ Loyalty: Seven Proven Practices to Convert Clients into Amazing Fans.”
His empowering and energetic motivational talks can be viewed in this link.
4. Marina Mahathir
Marina Mahathir’s name is no stranger to the Malaysian community. Even though her father is famous, she has made a name for herself as a human rights activist for women, children, and sufferers of AIDS/HIV.
She is also the founder of Zafigo – a website for women travelers in Asia and the Middle East.
Her column in The Star, Musings touches on many important social and political issues in Malaysia. One of her articles, Let’s stop the ‘hatewave’, talks about freedom and equality for all races in Malaysia, which she thinks should be the heart of Malaysian culture and politics.
Her strong personality has garnered many supporters as well as haters, but her determination to continue to fight for what’s right is truly inspiring.
5. The late Yasmin Ahmad
I grew up watching the humorous and heartwarming Petronas advertisements during the festive seasons. My favourite in particular was the Merdeka Petronas ad about three elderly men who had been friends since they were young.
They were reminiscing the good old days where friendships were much simpler without technology, and anyone can be friends with each other if we all just learned to be a little less judgmental.
To many, Yasmin Ahmad was the greatest storyteller. Her touching videos and movies of our culture and country inspired many other talented local filmmakers and producers to spread their wings.
After all, Yasmin Ahmad once said,” God gave everyone the same amount of talent. It’s just up to you to korek (dig).”
Yasmin Ahmad may have passed on, but her legacy will always be remembered.
Those are some of the famous motivational figures in Malaysia! Hopefully, they’ll encourage you to live life better, and continuously work on yourself. After all, self-improvement is a lifelong endeavor.
For more articles on Motivation and Self-Help, read 5 Life Mistakes I Made Without Realizing It, and 5 Things Teens Need to Learn Growing up into an Adult.