Image courtesy of Simon Pais-Thomas
We all have weaknesses and strengths – no matter who we are. Sometimes the weaknesses seem to outweigh the strengths and sometimes it’s the other way around. Some people get sick easily. Some struggle to manage their finances properly. Some people are hopeless communicators and struggle with relationships.
Many people leave it and that and accept it as just bad luck – but not everyone. Some people facing huge limitations still manage to achieve tremendous things. They rise above their weaknesses and do not allow them to limit their possibilities.
It’s Your Choice
I attended a school prize-giving ceremony not so long ago and the guest speaker was Andrew Becroft, who had a severe stutter as a child. Instead of allowing this to limit him, he chose to to work hard to overcome it. He is now the Principal Youth Court Judge for New Zealand. Not only did he become successful, but he did so in a profession where he had to speak in front of others regularly — where his weakness is front and center for all to see. If he hadn’t worked on his speaking ability, it would have been very limiting to his life and career prospects.
You can find similar people on New Zealand News channels, and I suspect the same in other countries. There are a number of presenters and reporters who have a noticeably unusual manner of speaking. Perhaps they have a lisp, or they have a peculiar accent or pitch of voice. These people have succeeded in spite of what would be appear to be a weakness in their profession.
Lots of people face far more significant limitations than you do. They may be missing limbs or are born into extreme poverty. But no matter what the limitation, you will always find people who have overcome it.
Here are some more examples:
Brett Eastburn has no arms or legs and yet is an inspirational speaker and and also a very good wrestler. He shares his story in a brief video on his site.
Lance Armstrong‘s bout with cancer meant he lost one testicle and had to go through chemotherapy which has a horrific effect on the body. Yet he went on to win the Tour de France, one of the most grueling sports events there is, a record 7 times.
Ringo Starr, drummer for the Beatles, came from a very poor background. He was constantly plagued with illness as a child and spent large amounts of time in hospital.
At 19 months old, Helen Keller became ill and lost her sight and hearing (before she’d learned to speak). She went on to become a world famous author and speaker, and an advocate of many social causes.
Grant Calder is a tetraplegic and yet he still works outdoors on a large sheep farm in New Zealand’s rugged South Island. Here is his inspiring story.
Wilma Rudolph was the 20th of 22 children. As a child she suffered measles, mumps, scarlet fever, chicken pox, double pneumonia and eventually polio, leaving her left leg and foot weak and deformed. Doctors said she would never walk again. She went on to win 3 gold medals in track during the 1960 Olympic games.
Mark Inglis lost both of his legs below the knees in a mountaineering accident, but has since climbed Mt Everest.
Bill Wilson was an alcoholic who wanted to help other alcoholics and founded what was to become Alcoholics Anonymous, a movement that has helped millions of people.
No One Would Have Predicted These Successes
These above are cases involving individuals with significant limitations, and it can be easy to write them off as exceptions to the rule, but that’s not the case. They were just people with problems. If one of these people had told you what they hoped to achieve you would have nodded kindly while quietly thinking to yourself that they had no chance. And yet the results speak for themselves.
We All Face Challenges in Life
Most of us will never have to face the kinds of challenges these people faced. Yet most of us will never achieve to the degree that these people have either.
Unless we choose to.
If Mark Inglis can climb the highest mountain in the world without legs, what can you do?
If you liked this, check out Julian’s blog Present Outlook for more inspiring articles.