THE BLOG
12/09/2013 04:26 pm ET Updated Feb 06, 2014

5 Ways Ian Somerhalder Has Taught Me to Live Life

(Photo Credit: Ian Somerhalder)

Ian Somerhalder, activist and Vampire Diaries star, turns 35 today. Somerhalder has inspired many through his works as an activist, optimist, and social good champion. Here are five particularly powerful ways that Somerhalder has taught me to live life:

To look at life a little differently...
One of my personal favorite quotes by Somerhalder is one that goes like this: "When you have these things that you recognize, things that get you, things that upset you, things that push you, things that unlock your potential, your compassion, and your love for things... All of a sudden you look at life through a different window; and it's one that is really whole." So just by looking at life a little differently based off of the things that Somerhalder perfectly described in his quote, discovering your passions in life will literally transform you, both inside and out. It did for me.

To be vulnerable and take charge of that feeling
In a recent interview with Origin Magazine, Somerhalder was asked what makes him vulnerable? His answer was that vulnerability was the whole reason that he started the Ian Somerhalder Foundation. "I felt the most awful feeling of vulnerability and helplessness. I remember where I was standing at the time when I said, I never want to feel this powerless again... But I realized that something wasn't right and I wanted to make it right." Somerhalder has proven that vulnerability is not the best feeling in the world, but to somehow take charge of that feeling, and transform it into something so incredible; that is true power at it's finest.

To live a compassionate life
"We cannot progress as a society, as a people, if we lack compassion." He's right. Somerhalder has shown time after time the many ways compassion has changed and shaped his life, and one of those ways is by harnessing the power of compassion to create progress and ultimately, a richer way to live, through an Animal Sanctuary. Different than many sanctuaries, Somerhalder's foundations' sanctuary will be a safe haven for all the outcast animals that have been neglected, mistreated, and ultimately misunderstood; with the art of compassion, bringing together mistreated animals and bullies into an environment where their hearts can flourish, and hopefully their spirits can soar through their healthy compassionate relationship. So, here's to compassion.

To sing into that microphone
Just to be clear I don't sing... nor do I ever intend on making a profession out of it. What I am referring to is a brilliant quote by Somerhalder at this year's Social Good Summit. Somerhalder said: "If you have a microphone that's plugged into an amplifier, it's wrong of you not to sing." What he means by that is if you have the ideas and passion to create or change something, you should do it. One way to do it is to use platforms, such as social media, your involvement with charity, whatever it may be, to amplify your voice and spread that information to others to ultimately produce quantifiable change. So c'mon let's sing till our lungs give out.

And most importantly, to be a force for good in the world
This year, Somerhalder was awarded a Golden Goody Award (aka Oscar for Social Good) by the Goody Awards at the 2013 Social Good Summit, for being a force for good, through his works as an environmental activist. He has also won Goody Award's Hero Goody- five out of eleven months so far, through his powerful fan base on social media. That's a whole lot of good. Somerhalder has infused the world with good through his work, foundation, and enormous big heart. Let's follow his example.

So, thank you Ian for forever changing my life. Thank you for also setting a good example to the world, through your actions and your amazing foundation. Together we are capable of REALLY great things. Please join me and support this great man today and everyday.

IS Foundation - Ian's 35th Birthday Wish from Deanna markoff on Vimeo.