Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Your Past Does Not Determine Your Future

Do you look at the past with regret? Do you find yourself thinking, if only I'd had better parents, better opportunities, more money - you fill in the blank - I would have done something better with my life. It's easy to fall into the line of thinking that you are where you are today because life dealt you a bad hand. After all, if you had a rocky start to begin with, how could you possibly achieve greatness? Our prisons and drug treatment centers are filled to overflowing with unfortunate people who lived through tragic childhoods that cast a dark shadow over their entire lives.

Are these unfortunate stories unavoidable? Is there a series of events early in life that predetermines the direction that that particular life must follow? Does a catastrophe occurring at any point in a person's life doom them for the rest of their life?


History, as well as the present day,  offer us so many examples of people who overcame unimaginable odds and achieved greatness in every field. Helen Keller, Malala Yousafzai, Frederick Douglass, Lech Walesa, Elie Wiesel, Oprah Winfrey - really this list is endless.

In my opinion, the common thread in most people's stories of overcoming adversity is this: in addition to inner strength, they had people who supported and believed in them. There was at least one person in each of their lives who said, "Here, take my hand, we can do this together."

Helen Keller had her tireless teacher and friend Annie Sullivan, Malala Yousafzai has her doting father, Frederick Douglass had Anna Murray-Douglass who helped him escape slavery and became his devoted wife, and so on with many others who beat the odds.

So, what I'm saying is, we're all in this together, folks. Look for ways you can support and uplift one another, even in small ways. Start your day with the question, "How can I serve?"

Not only will you take the focus off your own troubles, small or large, but, with more and more people living life with the attitude of giving, we will all be on the receiving end of other people's giving, as well. Our various strengths and weaknesses can be matched with those around us, so that we can all be lifted to greatness in many forms.

Here is a video about one of my all-time favorite musicians, who escaped a seeming life-sentence to poverty and crime, and became beloved by millions around the world.


No comments:

Post a Comment