Be unbroken…

July 7, 2014

“Never give up, no matter what!” (Louis Zamperini)

Zamperini died recently, but he was the inspiration for the upcoming movie Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie. He was an Olympic runner who served in WWII and was captured by the Japanese. The book about him, and now the movie, chronicles his unbroken spirit through great hardship while in captivity. Louis may have died, but he never quit.

I recently also watched an old episode of the TV show Extreme Weight Loss in which a young man named Bruce lost 50% of his body weight, going from 382 pounds to under 191 pounds in a year. He is the epitome of that same spirit, especially since his back story contained the disclosure that he had ugly mirrorbeen sexually abused by his father, who is in prison for that abuse and abusing several other boys. Bruce’s story was about not only losing weight but losing the monkey that had been on his back since childhood. He did that by confronting his father at a parole hearing and testifying against him being released. The transformation of Bruce’s body was amazing and the transformation of him as an individual no longer haunted by his past was special, too. He never gave up, no matter what.

I’m currently trying to lose weight, too; although nothing like what Bruce did. I want to get down to a weight that will allow me to get off all of the meds that I take for Type II Diabetes; so, I need to lose about 40 pounds total. So far I have been using only dietary methods and dropped about 10 pounds, but it’s time to add more exercise. I think it’s time to join a gym. Fortunately I have a friend who owns the Anytime Fitness in Milford, so I’m going to try that. I guess, for me, what’s important  to focus upon right now is not about giving up but getting started.

struggleDo you have things in your life that are frustrating you to the point of almost giving up? Maybe you have a goal that just keeps eluding you, no matter what you have tried. Maybe you’ve been playing a game or sport and reached a plateau that you just can’t seem to break through. Perhaps you’ve been trying to save to buy a new house or car and every time you get a little ahead, something comes up that causes you to have to use some of that money. Maybe you’ve tried several times to take classes toward a degree or certificate and just can’t seem juggle them with other obligations and finish enough to move ahead. Never give up, no matter what!

So, here we are at the beginning of a new week. No one has failed at anything yet; no one has said no to you yet, no one is telling you that you can’t do it; so we don’t have any excuses. Take the opportunitywoman boxer to do a mental reset, reflect on the things that you’ve tried already to reach your goal and discard those that didn’t work or think about a way to approach them differently so that your chances for success improve. Think about your goal and re-energize yourself with resolve to reach it. Pump yourself up and then get out there and go for it. And remember the advice of Louis Zamperini – Never give up, no matter what!

Have a great day…I’ll be in the gym.

Never surrender…

May 30, 2014

“We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”  (Maya Angelou), as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

There has been much written and said about poet Maya Angelou since her recent death. One of the legacies that she left was a strong message to women about their ability to overcome adversity in life and find the strength to succeed. Much has been written about the adversities that Maya overcame to rise to the level of internationally celebrated author, poet and actress.

I have written many times here about persevering and overcoming adversity and about learning from our mistakes and our failures in life. I like a saying that I saw recently from self-help guru Tony Robbins –

“No matter how many mistakes you make, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”

I suspect that there was a lot of that advice hidden in Ms. Angelou’s quote. She refused to be defeated and kept on trying. She kept getting back up whenever life knocked her down and as she also is quoted as saying, she held her head high and walked tall.  She appears not to have measured her success in life in monetary terms or by the number of important people that she knew, but, rather by the level of self-confidence and dignity that she was able to maintain. She was very comfortable with herself and I’ve written about that, too.

I also believe that what Maya was really saying in her quote is the variation that is found in many quotes on that topic, like this one –

“It is inevitable that some defeat will enter even the most victorious life. The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated… it is finished when it surrenders.” – Ben Stein

Life is so full of little victories that we all take for granted that little defeats (little failures) sometimes get blown out of proportion. Sometimes, especially when we are tired to begin with, it is hard to summon up that extra effort or that added little bit of self-confidence that we need to get through a situation and we just want to give up. Defeats are not final until you let them be final by quitting. Defeats are just temporary set-backs unless you surrender to them. At times like that Maya’s quote would morph into :

“We may encounter many defeats, but we must never surrender.”