Thursday, July 10, 2008

Life Got You Down?

there's nothing better than summer
Originally uploaded by virginiaz

"No great man ever complains of want of opportunities." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Late one night while crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, Barry Gibb noticed the beat of the seams in the pavement on the bridge were making against his tires. That beat led to a hand tap on the steering wheel. Then that led to some lyrics, "Jive talkin'. It's just your jive talkin'. Telling me lies, yeah..." Once Barry got home, he wrote down the lyrics and a hit song was created.
  • At 8 years of age and not content to learn simply from memorization and repeating what the teacher was saying, Thomas Edison asked questions about what he was being taught. He asked so many questions that his teacher called him "addled" (slow and confused) and after three months of formal schooling was sent home. I think you know a few things that he ended up inventing.
  • A prominent lawyer in Chicago, Horatio Spafford had invested the majority of his money in Chicago real estate. Tragedy struck Horatio first when his son died. While still grieving over the loss of his son, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 swept through the city, nearly destroying the family financially. In 1873, Horatio decided he and his family (his wife and four daughters) needed to go on a vacation in Europe to get away. Business led to Horatio staying behind. His intentions were to meet up with his family later in the trip. On November 21, 1873 the S.S. Ville Du Havre sunk and 226 perished, including the Spafford's four daughters. While on a ship to meet his wife in England after the terrible tragedy he penned the words to the classic hymn It Is Well With My Soul.
  • In the first of 11 years of working in an Oklahoma City Long John Silver's restaurant, Wayne Coyne (of the band The Flaming Lips) found himself lying on the floor face down. They were being robbed and he was sure he was going to be killed. He wasn't killed that night and goes on to say, "A lot of people look at life as a series of miserable tasks, but after that, I didn't." The Flaming Lips are now one of the most successful alternative bands of the past 15 years while remaining grounded in the Oklahoma City area. While resisting the usual temptations bands endure of moving to California or New York.
What do Edison, Coyne, Spafford, and Gibb all have in common?

They took their surroundings and experiences in life and made something positive of them. They didn't feel victimized because they were told they were slow. They didn't wallow in self pity, in spite of terrible tragedy. They didn't ignore the simple things that can be found in everyday life. Even on a bridge in the middle of the night.
  • I'm sure Wayne Coyne could have felt slighted in some way while working 11 years as a fry cook. I assume he didn't make a whole lot of money performing that job.
  • It would have been easy for Horatio Spafford to feel sorry for himself and react as if there was nothing left to live for in this world. I cannot imagine the grief he must have felt.
  • I bet Barry Gibb could have just cranked up the radio and paid no attention to the simple beating of the tires as they crossed the bridge. I imagine most of us wouldn't have thought much about them.
  • I am sure Thomas Edison could have gone home and become bitter and uneducated because of the lack of patience his teacher had in him at such a young age. Back then most kids rarely went to school past the age of 12 anyway.
After hearing these stories, why would you want to play the victim of life? Why wouldn't you stop for a moment and take note of the simple things in life? Why would you feel you're being held back because you don't make the sort of money you would like? They all experienced some of the same things in life you do. Sometimes to an even larger extreme.

The most successful people in life take their environment and life experiences and turn them into something positive. They pursue what they love and what they have a talent for.

Why wouldn't you?

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