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An inspired teacher changes how you think. A powerful teacher changes how masses of people think. The most powerful teachers go even farther--they elevate our collective consciousness. But this ultimate power can't exist without the first step, inspiration. The seven people on this list fulfill both requirements.
Deepak Chopra is the author of over 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality. He is also an adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
No. 1: Gloria Steinem
Founding Editor, Ms.
She is symbolic of a revolution that required many other smart, brave, committed feminists. But in her own right she possesses all those qualities in large measure. Her abiding lesson is about equality.
No. 2: Al Gore
Former Vice President, United States of America
He spoke about an inconvenient truth when there was no glory or reward in it. He showed us it is our responsibility to think globally. His abiding lesson is about deserving nature's gifts.
No. 3: Muhammad Yunus
Founder, Grameen Bank
Yunus is the Bengali banker who won the Nobel Prize for conceiving of mircrocredits--tiny loans that change lives in the developing world. His abiding lesson is about opportunity for all.
No. 4 Nelson Mandela
Former President, South Africa
He survived political oppression in its harshest forms and emerged to reshape a racist society. Personally, he has lived every word of his teaching, whatever the cost. His abiding lesson is about forgiveness.
No. 5: Tenzin Gyatso
Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tibet
He is world-famous as the face of Eastern spirituality. His life embodies every truth he speaks, but he also works tirelessly to advance knowledge of the brain in its higher functions. His abiding lesson is about compassion.
No. 6: Michio Kaku
Physicist, City College of New York
Kaku is more than an acclaimed physicist rooted in string theory. He pioneers the physics of the impossible, where the universe can produce anything we could imagine. His abiding lesson is that there are no boundaries.
No. 7 Dean Ornish
Founder, Preventive Medicine Research Institute
He made waves medically by alleviating heart disease through lifestyle choices instead of drugs and surgery. Now he's pushing the envelope by showing that lifestyle alters our genes. His abiding lesson is about taking control of your own life.
"It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things." ~Machiavelli