Inspiration on LinkedIn - Udacity

When we’re down, feeling unmotivated, and in need of a spark, we often turn to the internet for help. We go looking for those stories that energize and inspire us. We want to be uplifted. But inspiration is not all we go looking for—we seek information as well.  We want knowledge, evidence, facts. We want to know what it takes to succeed, and how to get it.

There was a time when inspiration-seekers would go to LinkedIn for all the above and more.

But today, many people complain of shady recruiting solicitations, and too many self-proclaimed influencers parroting empty clichés. They bemoan a ceaseless parade of pinterest-esque aphorisms about leadership, and smug recitations of how someone hired someone despite their lack of qualifications. Many have taken to LinkedIn to complain about the above, and many others have complained about the complaints.

If these trends have put you off LinkedIn, you’re apparently not alone.

But we encourage you to look again at LinkedIn, because amongst all the noise and chatter, there can still be found powerful stories from hard-working lifelong learners who are accomplishing amazing things in their lives every day.

These people are sharing their stories because they’re justifiably proud of what they’ve learned and achieved, and they’re receiving heartfelt congratulations from people who are genuinely moved and inspired. More than that, they’re sharing because they want to give back, and pay it forward. They’re providing valuable guidance, insights, and support. These lifelong learners may not be confirmed “influencers” or established “thought leaders,” but their stories matter deeply, and we are the better for experiencing them.

Omar Albeik shared recently that he has just completed his sixth Nanodegree program.

Omar - Udacity - Lifelong Learning
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“I’m officially in love with lifelong learning,” he says.

“Omar Albeik, take a bow,” says Nirmal Khatua, one of many who commented on Omar’s post.

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Two weeks ago, we celebrated the first graduates of our pioneering Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program. Among the wonderful expressions of pride and achievement that were posted to LinkedIn was this one, from Sampath Vanimisetti.

Sampath - Udacity - Lifelong Learning
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Sampath is a Senior Engineering Manager at General Motors—by any measure a success in his career. Yet here he is on LinkedIn, humbly sharing how honored he felt to receive this recognition. In his post, he actually thanks us for our work! Then he dedicates the award to his wife. I have read this post so many times, and I am still brought to tears.

“I dedicate this award to my wife (Swetha K) who has patiently supported the family in the background, while I chase wild dreams of autonomous vehicles.”

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Marco Finadri recently had some wonderful news to share—he earned an important and competitive scholarship opportunity. In his post though, he speaks primarily of his ongoing efforts to better himself, and his work to support other developers. He speaks about companies that care. And he shares his gratitude for the opportunity he’s earned.

Marco - Udacity - Lifelong Learning
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Witness this post from Bill Kapsalis, who just graduated from our Machine Learning Nanodegree program.

Bill - Udacity - Lifelong Learning
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Not only does he thank his instructors, he thanks the Careers team and his mentors as well! But best of all, how is this for a perfect expression of the lifelong learning ethos?

“Onward to deep learning and AI. The job type I want to have in 5 years does not exist yet.”

Here is an excellent article published on LinkedIn from Brigitta Bunford:

Challenge completed!

Brigitta is a Google scholarship recipient like Marco, above. In her article, she provides a wonderful expression of the lifelong learning spirit:

“Why I decided to learn a skill that I thought I would never be able to learn? The answer is simple. I love challenges.”

If you’ve left LinkedIn because of the not-so-inspiring content that has accumulated there, you are encouraged to return for stories such as the ones we’ve shared here. Yes, you may have to wade through a bit more chatter and noise than you once did, but the inspiration is still there, and it is SO powerful.