July 05, 2022
In order to do that right, proudly and honorably, we can’t ignore or wipeout history. We must remember the good and the bad. The horrible and the spectacular.
For they teach of us lessons that provide great wisdom, compassion, and inspire us to be better.
If you don’t study the hurts and mistakes of the past, we are destined to repeat them.
If you don’t study the triumphs and heroic acts of the human spirit, we miss out knowing what is possible and will never reach our full potential.
The next time you’re faced with a challenge, experience a disappointment or setback, and you find yourself complaining how hard it is or how much that sucks - stop and catch yourself.
Look, we all have done this.
And rest assured, we will do it again. But before I let the words – ‘this is unfair’ come out of my mouth, I plan to remind myself of the story of Louis Zamperini.
If you don’t know his story or have not read the book, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand or seen the movie by the same title released in 2014 – I highly encourage you do as soon as you can.
Louis Zamperini was a real war-time survivor. He was a USA Olympian track star running in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, an army officer and also survived three prisoner of war camps in Japan.
The story recounts his treacherous life while sharing his extraordinary will of perseverance and spirit of forgiveness during a life full of unimaginable hardships.
I think I’m pretty self confident and strong, but to be honest, reflecting on what he went through, I don’t think I’d stand a chance to mentally or physically overcome what he did.
So let us not forget. Dismiss or for god’s sake disrespect the many people that came before.
Think on the lives they lived. The struggles they had to endure. The massive sacrifice and price that they paid fighting for you and me.
While we may be facing some real troubles in our world today, and the pain you and I feel is very real, most of them really do pale in comparison to what just a couple generations ago had to overcome; not once, but many times over.
In an interview at the age of 94, Louie was asked what was it, deep down inside, that kept him from giving up?
He immediately responded, “When you overcome adversity, you become more hardy. The more problems you face and overcome the more and more hardy you will be. If you have some truth inside you to survive, you will go all out.”
Asked the follow up question, What advice would you pass down to somebody in the younger generation that is feeling like giving up?
His response - “If they feel like giving up, they don’t have respect for themselves. I don’t see how anyone can back off from a challenge. Take the challenge. Whether you win it or not, you’ll learn from it. You’ll expand from it and become stronger.”
No sugar-coating there.
No here’s a trophy for just showing up.
No blaming anyone else.
Personal Responsibility. Ownership. Grit. Toughness.
And yes, Hardiness. Meaning robust, capable of enduring difficult conditions.
All characteristics found in so many amazing Americans that made, and continue to make our Freedom and Independence possible.
To living and protecting our freedom!
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