Inspiration in Difficult Times

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“Man is the only creature that strives to surpass himself, and yearns for the impossible.”  – Eric Hoffer

“Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.” – Samuel Johnson

“A great many things have been pronounced untrue and absurd, and even impossible, by the highest authorities in the age in which they lived, which have afterwards, and, indeed, within a very short period, been found to be both possible and true” . – Catherine Crowe

We’re bombarded on a daily basis with waves of negativity. Mainstream media and people stuck in a negative groove are constantly reminding us how awful everything is. Politics, the economy, how bad the weather is, and the inevitable “Oh my, did you here about ___(insert horrible news here)?!”  coming from everyday acquaintances to people we meet on the street, constantly remind us how imperfect the world is. There are some people I know who don’t own a TV or listen to any MSM because of this, and they are some of the happiest people I know. They’re also deeply involved in their work and are successful at what they do. At times (when free to do so), I’ve taken their cue and turned off all media (including my telephone) and go off to do what helps center me; write, read, play music, or head for the great outdoors.

I recently read about a twelve year old boy, Jordan Romero, who has climbed 5 of the 7 highest peaks in the world. His goal is to climb all of them by the time he reaches 16, and I can see him accomplishing this. So I decided to look into some more amazing people, and found a large list of disabled musicians; a couple of quadriplegic sculptors, Alistair Green and Garry Curry; and a writer named Karen Lynn-Chlup, who has cerebral palsy and learning disabilities, just to name a few. You’re not going to hear too much about these people because crisis, tragedy, and criticism are what get the major hits on blogs and news sites. Not the success stories.

Yes, the economic crisis is bad. People are losing their jobs, retirement funds and their houses, and at times it seems like everything sucks. But there are people out there who are achieving things no one thought possible. Twenty years ago who would’ve thought that an African American would be elected president? How about the men with no legs, Oscar Pistorius (who’s also blind and ran in the Olympics) and Mark Inglis, who made it to the summit of Mount Everest? Or the amputees who rock climb? If you’re feeling down, or are going through a hard time, know that you’re not alone, and that there are people out there surmounting obstacles and achieving goals that few thought they could. It’s during these difficult times that it’s most important to remember that sometimes the glass isn’t half empty, but half full.


  1. Oscar blind?

  2. The power of positive thinking is important to be reminded of at all times. Thanks.

    Some disabled people do not see themselves as disabled. I am trying this perspective on for size, that there are three categories of people: the disabled, those who are disabled now and do not know it, and those who are not yet disabled.

    Highest recommendations for the BBC Ouch podcast.

  3. Alain Robert, the French guy who climbs buildings all over the world, is 60 % handicapped from falling while rock climbing. He stills climbs at the same level as before his fall.

  4. “If you don’t know how high the bar is, you owe it to yourself to jump as high as you possibly can.”

    It’s inspiring to see that there are so many people out there pushing the boundaries of what is possible, what is human. Thanks for posting this!


  5. @ Sonia- According to the link posted to the Time Magazine article and Wikipedia, Oscar was the first blind person to climb Everest. Unfortunately he was also disqualified from the Olympics because the officials claimed his artificial legs gave him an ” unfair advantage”.

    Trevor- Interesting thought on how our thinking can leave us “disabled”. And thanks for the link!

    Illogic- Thanks for the reminder about Alain Robert. Doing the research for this article was inspiration in itself.

    Kephera- Thanks for the positive quote!

    To all- many thanks for the positive feedback!

  6. correction: Khephret…

    long day..

  7. This was a really powerful post. Beautiful work.

  8. This is, of course, not to mention the swiss olympic gold medal winning pistol sharpshooter (1950’s) who lost his right arm, to cancer as I recall, then disappeared for three years just to return and wind gold again; shooting with his left hand.

  9. Good post, I agree with Trevor above that positive thinking can do so much in the life’s of people.

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