Have you been amazed by a family member’s story of personal transformation?
Have you been inspired after finding a friend reinvented themselves, by daring to take the courageous first steps which started them on their path towards a successful future?
I sure have.
After hearing, or reading, stories of how others have surpassed painful and unforgiving circumstances in their lives, do you find yourself amazed and in awe of the resiliency many people are able to tap into?
I’m always inspired after hearing a thumbnail of someone’s life.
Personal stories can infuse you with hope and inspiration. They can encourage you to find the strength to illuminate parts of yourself you’ve yet to explore.
I’ve always been fascinated with people’s life stories; where they came from, how they came to be where they are and where they want to go.
James Bryce, the British academic and jurist, said:
‘The worth of a book is measured by what you carry away from it.’
Here are some inspiring facts I’ve culled, by reading one of my favorite book genres:
- This 5 year old was forced to choose between living with his mother or father. He chose his father, but began crying at the sight of his mother leaving, so he followed her. Weeks later, with his father now completely out of his life, his mother abandoned her son, for her partner at the time.
The son was raised to adulthood, by his mother’s sister and brother-in-law. He became one of the most successful singer-songwriter-musicians of the 20th century. That 5 year old boy was John Lennon.
- Her father was a prominent doctor and her mother was heiress to the Corning Glass fortune, so she was born to a life of privilege, many would envy.
At the age of 14, she found her 16 year old brother, who she idolized and adored, after he committed suicide by hanging himself.
She sank into such a deep depression, she couldn’t attend school. She went on to become a stage, television and screen actress with a career that spanned six decades, setting a record with four ‘Best Actress’ Oscar wins, out of 12 Oscar nominations. That young girl was Katherine Hepburn.
- In her early twenties, with a marriage headed for divorce, two young boys and no money to support them, she lost both her parents. Soon after their death, she developed severe depression and agoraphobia, making her a prisoner in her home.
Unable to leave the house, she took refuge in her kitchen where she found comfort in recreating her grandmother’s family recipes. With no formal business or chef’s training, $200 and a great deal of hope, she started a sandwich and catering business. Her sons delivered the food she created.
She overcame depression and agoraphobia, to create a Southern ‘comfort food’ cooking empire which consists of television shows, cookbooks, cookware, a magazine, and several Southern ‘comfort food’ restaurants. This woman is Paula Deen.
- Married at 19 to a controlling, extremely violent and abusive man, this singer attempted suicide to escape her life. After surviving her attempt, she ran away, hiding from her husband for months on end, so he couldn’t beat or abuse her.
She filed for divorce after 16 years of marriage, parting ways while retaining only her stage name, and assuming responsibility for a sizeable Internal Revenue Service tax lien and significant debts incurred for a canceled concert tour.
During her 50+ year career, she is known as one of the world’s most popular and successful entertainers. She is known as a recording artist, energetic performer, dancer and actress, with legs and dance moves I envy, even today. This is Tina Turner.
- This twin was adopted at six weeks old, to a loving, supportive single mother with a limited education and financial ability. He struggled with being stigmatized as a ‘slow learner’ in grade school, which devastated his self-esteem.
With a high school education, he went on to become a radio DJ, broadcast manager, TV talk show host, political commentator, legislator, writer and keynote speaker specializing in inspiring speeches and lectures. This twin is motivational speaker Les Brown.
Abandonment, overcoming a death or crisis in the family, depression, agoraphobia, born into or becoming destitute, overcoming verbal and violent physical abuse, devastating physical or learning disabilities and non-existent self-esteem; these well-known people have been dealt personal challenges, just as you have.
By connecting to something deep within themselves, they were able to play the hand they were dealt to their advantage.
They didn’t throw in the cards, they reshuffled the deck.
They took responsibility for their own metamorphosis.
Any way you cut it, no one outruns adversity.
Hardships and difficulties don’t discriminate based upon your bank balance, family pedigree or your home address.
If you don’t believe me, just ask Apple founder and CEO, Steve Jobs. He’s worth over 6.1 billion dollars, but took his second medical leave in 2 years, due to health issues related to pancreatic cancer and a liver transplant.
No one outruns adversity.
That’s no accident, is it?
Nope, that’s an essential part of the plan.
Adversity isn’t the Universe’s way of punishing you.
No, far from it.
Adversity is a gift, being given to you.
Life Lessons are offerings, being placed at your feet.
I agree with the actor, Ed Harris’s comment,
‘The tougher things get, the closer you get to yourself.’
- You learn the most about yourself when faced with difficulties and life’s greatest misfortunes.
- You’re being given a chance to experience and learn what you can endure, what you won’t tolerate and what you’re really made of.
Now, isn’t that a wonderful gift?
- You’re being given opportunities to show your hope, optimism and creativity when faced with setbacks and obstacles.
- You’re getting the chance to show your expectation for a future filled with possibilities.
What about you? What setback have you overcome, in your Life? How did you feel at the time? What is your perspective now, having gone through this experience? Was it a defining moment for you? How did it help shape who you are today? What did you learn about yourself? Were there other Life Lessons that you learned, along the way? Please comment, using the form, below.
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