I love reading books and articles about people that accomplished great things. The main theme throughout their stories are they didn’t let what life threw at them stop them. They decided to not let the circumstances of their life hold them back. Here are some of the people I have read about:
Booker T. Washington (1856-1915): In his autobiography “Up From Slavery” he tells of the obstacles he had in his life. He doesn’t complain about what happened to him. He was born a slave. He didn’t let the fact he was born a slave stop him from learning to read and eventually receiving an education. He had to fight for that education. There were times he would work all day and attend school at night. Eventually, he did receive the education he so desired and went on to establish The Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. It was the first college institution for African Americans in America. (Today it is Tuskegee University.)
Lizzie Velasquez: Lizzie has a rare condition that makes it hard for her to accumulate any body fat. When she was younger, someone posted a video of her on YouTube. The title of the video was “The World’s Ugliest Woman.” Every comment made on that video was negative. Someone even commented she needs to kill herself. Lizzie eventually found this video and read every comment. She was shocked that no one defended her. She had a decision to make in that moment, she could respond to each comment and tell them what was on her mind or she could let the success of her life speak for itself. She chose to let the success of her life speak for itself. She has a no bullying campaign, has written several books and is a motivational speaker.
Bryan Ganey: The name of his book is “Impossible: How I Lost Nearly 400 Pounds Without Surgery.” Bryan was lying in hospital bed, weighing 577 pounds. The reason he was in the hospital was he couldn’t breathe. The doctors eventually diagnosed him with a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot. The doctor told him it would be impossible for him to lose weight without surgery. It took him three years but he lost almost 400 pounds. But he did it. Instead of giving up, he said enough while he was lying in the hospital bed and took action to get the weight off.
Nick Vujicic: Nick was born without any arms or legs. As he got older, he came to a point in his life where he decided to kill himself. He thought no one would ever want to marry him and he felt like a burden to his parents. As of today, Nick is married, has two children and travels the world as an evangelist telling others about Jesus Christ and motivating people to never give up.
What do Booker, Lizzie, Bryan and Nick all have common? They all came to a point in their life they could have let a victim mentality overtake them. They could have said, poor me, everything is against me. For a while, each of them may have felt like that. Even the toughest of people have to face this at some point in their life. Eventually each of them came to a point where they said, enough. I will not let what has happened to me limit me in what I can accomplish in my life.
I have to admit in my own life for several years I had a victim mentality. It wasn’t fair the environment I grew up in. It wasn’t fair I was in an emotionally abusive marriage at one point in my life. Life wasn’t being fair to me. As I have read each of these individuals stories, I stopped saying life isn’t fair and decided to have victory over my situations. I took the lessons I learned from the environment I grew up in and try to help children navigate the challenging environments they are living in. I have taken what happened to me when I was married, and helped others realize their worth as a human being to get out of and heal from bad relationships. Booker, Lizzie, Bryan and Nick all took the obstacles that they faced and turned it into a way to help others get from being a victim to being a victor in their lives. As we go into 2016, let this be the year of “I am not a VICTIM but a VICTOR.” Make the decision of which one you will be.
“I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed.”
― Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery