When Life Isn’t Fair

Proactive Coaching
Photo Credit: Via Proactive Coaching

Have you had times in your life when everything seems to go wrong and nothing that you can say or do goes right? People get a flat tire on a way to a meeting. Someone slept through their alarm clock and got to work late.  A person loses their car keys and will be late for an appointment. The list goes on and on.  You might decide to make excuses for other things…things that you may have wanted to do your whole life but haven’t, a failed relationship, a job that you never finished, etc. Some people make excuses for everything and never get anyhting accomplished.

Let me tell you a short story that I recently came across that was found on the site, “Proactive Coaching,” that I think will illustrate the power of NOT making excuses and performing to the fullest talents and gifts that you possess.

Look at the picture above. This is Jim Thorpe and you can see that he’s wearing different socks and shoes. This wasn’t a fashion statement. It was the 1912 Olympics, and Jim, an American Indian from Oklahoma represented the U.S. in track and field. On the morning of his competitions, his shoes were stolen. Luckily, Jim ended up finding two shoes in a garbage can. That’s the pair that he’s wearing in the photo. But one of the shoes was too big, so he had to wear an extra sock. Wearing these shoes, Jim won two gold medals that day.

This is a perfect reminder that you don’t have to resign to the excuses that have held you back. So, what if life hasn’t been fair? What are you going to do about it today? Whatever you woke up with this morning; stolen shoes, ill health, failed relationships, don’t let it stop you from running your race. You can experience more in life if you’ll get over the excuses and get on with living.

You can have reasons, or you can have results…but you can’t have both.

Special Note (from Wikipedia):

Thorpe’s monument, featuring the quote from Gustav V (“You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world.”), still stands near the town named for him, Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.[17] The grave rests on mounds of soil from Thorpe’s native Oklahoma and from the stadium in which he won his Olympic medals.[101]

Thorpe’s achievements received great acclaim from sports journalists, both during his lifetime and since his death. In 1950, an Associated Press poll of almost 400 sportswriters and broadcasters voted Thorpe the “greatest athlete” of the first half of the 20th century.[102] That same year, the Associated Press named Thorpe the “greatest American football player” of the first half of the century.[103] In 1999, the Associated Press placed him third on its list of the top athletes of the century, following Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan.[104] ESPN ranked Thorpe seventh on their list of best North American athletes of the century.[105]

Thorpe was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963, one of seventeen players in the charter class.[106] Thorpe is memorialized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame rotunda with a larger-than-life statue. He was also inducted into halls of fame for college football, American Olympic teams, and the national track and field competition.[18]

President Richard Nixon, as authorized by U.S. Senate Joint Resolution 73, proclaimed Monday, April 16, 1973, as “Jim Thorpe Day” to promote the nationwide recognition of Thorpe.[107] In 1986, the Jim Thorpe Association established an award with Thorpe’s name. The Jim Thorpe Award is given annually to the best defensive back in college football. The annual Thorpe Cupathletics meeting is named in his honor.[108] The United States Postal Service issued a 32¢ stamp on February 3, 1998 as part of the Celebrate the Century stamp sheet series.[109]

In a poll of sports fans conducted by ABC Sports, Thorpe was voted the Greatest Athlete of the Twentieth Century out of 15 other athletes including Muhammad AliBabe RuthJesse OwensWayne GretzkyJack Nicklaus, and Michael Jordan.[110][111]

 

The Little Angel

Photo Credit: Suvodeb Banerjee via CC Flickr
Photo Credit: Suvodeb Banerjee via CC Flickr

There are times in our lives when we all get depressed, down on ourselves, and wonder why we were put into a situation that may seem so unfair or cruel. I recently came across the following short story written by Helen Down on Life if Hope that is a terrific reminder why we shouldn’t focus on the negative things that happen in our lives but to use them to help others that may be experiencing the circumstance as you did.

He looked in the mirror, repelled by the sight of what he saw, a constant reminder of his last fire-fight. ‘Though he’d rescued a man, a dog, and a boy, his fame as a “hero” brought him little joy. His wife had now left him for a more handsome man. She crushed his soul when she said, “Care of an invalid was not in my plan.”

As he stood there bemoaning his unhappy state, he was filled with self-pity, with anger and hate. His dreams for the future now turned upside down, he limped to the park with a deep frown on his face. He decided to give his mind some relief, so he sat down and started to read. As he read, he paid little attention to the movement that began around him.

Then out from a group of some children at play, a ragged young girl approached, her head turned away. Standing close to his side, and her eyes to the ground, she stretched out her arm and said, “Look what I found!” She held in her hand what looked like a weed, all wilted and brown, its flower gone to seed.

The man growled in answer, “Just leave me alone. Get on with your playing, or run along home.”

But the child was undaunted. “I picked these for you. They’re awfully pretty, and I think you are, too.”

The man was annoyed, for her eyes seemed to shift. He pushed her aside, refusing her gift. He thought that she mocked him, as others had done–the object of ridicule, the target for “fun”.

And then something happened. God opened his mind. A new look he took: the wee girl was blind! He reached out and touched her. He patted her head; then accepted her flowers, although they looked dead.

His anger and hatred had started their melt. God’s love, through this child, he knew he had felt. The man turned to thank her, but she wasn’t there. She seemed to have vanished into the noon air. Although day after day to the park the man came, he never did see his small angel again.

But the child had awakened in him a desire to start a new life, to forget that last fire. He went to the hospital, where once he had been. He stood there and stared at familiar scenes. He watched the burn patients in their therapy. In some he saw anger, in some, agony. Remembering so vividly the pain he’d endured, he knew that the “inside” was the hardest to cure. From that moment on, he knew what he’d do. He’d help these folks heal. And his soul would heal, too.

Start to help others and heal your soul…today!

“It’s Not My Problem”

Photo Credit: jenny from Taipei via Wikimedia
Photo Credit: jenny from Taipei via Wikimedia

The story is told about a land that was once called Paradise. All the people that lived in Paradise were very kind; they each had a house, food, clothing, and all they ever wanted. Everyone shared all that they had with each other and each person looked out for their neighbor.

Then, one day, the wonderful king of Paradise died and soon his son, the prince, became the ruler of the kingdom. Unfortunately, the new king didn’t live by the same credo as his father. The concept of “All for one and one for all” seemed silly and trivial. He simply had no compassion or concern for the people in his land…just his own.

After a while, the king’s counselors and advisors told him that a section of the kingdom was starving. Stuffing his mouth full of food, he said, “Look, I have plenty of things to eat, so, these people are not my problem.”

The conditions in the land continued to get worse. The king was told that some of the water had now been poisoned and was unfit to drink. Shrugging his shoulders, he poured himself a big glass of cool water and responded, “I have all the water I need, it’s not my problem if they don’t have anything to drink.”

Soon, everyone in the land began behaving like the new king and no one was willing to help anyone else.

One day, a wise old fisherman who remembered the good ‘ole days of the empire, decided to fix up his boat, decorate it and made it look like one of the most beautiful yachts that the people had ever seen. He decided to invite the new king, his advisors and counselors, to come onto his boat for a beautiful day on the river. The royal group of people happily accepted the fisherman’s invitation.

Once they were in the middle of the great river, the fisherman stopped his boat, took out a huge saw, and began cutting a big hole in the floorboards of the boat.

The young king cried out, “Stop! What are you doing? The water will come in and we will drown!”

“I’m sorry”, said the fisherman. “It’s my boat and I can do whatever I want to do right now…like sawing a hole in the floor of my boat.”

“But don’t you see?” argued the king, “Don’t you care that I am upset? Don’t you understand that I don’t want the boat to go down…I can’t even swim!”

“No, not really,” said the fisherman. “It’s not my problem.”

———-

The good news about this story, is that the young king, facing the possibility of his death, saw the foolishness of his ways and promised to treat the people of his kingdom the way his wise father had done.

The fisherman put away his saw, and life returned to normal in the land called Paradise.

————

It is my hope, that we all stand with courage and confidence, to speak up and be counted when we see the things around affect others in negative ways. So, reach out and help and support someone each day. We, as people of this world, are all in it together. Let’s treat others as we would like to have them treat us!

Adrift at Sea

Photo credit: Adam Baker via CC Flickr
Photo credit: Adam Baker via CC Flickr

Life can be tough. There are times in all of our lives that situations, people or circumstances can seem unbearable, horrendous, or intolerable. There are usually two things that a person can do in these situations and the choices that they make will generally create them into the kind of person they are…a positive or negative individual.
The following inspiring, true story of Steven Callahan, as told by Adam Kahn on insprationalstories.com, demonstrates the power of positive thinking and the will to live in a very difficult situation

In 1982, Steven Callahan was crossing the Atlantic alone in his sailboat when it struck something and sank. He was out of the shipping lanes and floating in a life raft, alone. His supplies were few. His chances were small. Yet when three fishermen found him seventy-six days later (the longest anyone has survived a shipwreck on a life raft alone), he was alive — much skinnier than he was when he started, but alive.

His account of how he survived is fascinating. His ingenuity — how he managed to catch fish, how he fixed his solar still (evaporates sea water to make fresh) — is very interesting.

But the thing that caught my eye was how he managed to keep himself going when all hope seemed lost, when there seemed no point in continuing the struggle, when he was suffering greatly, when his life raft was punctured and after more than a week struggling with his weak body to fix it, it was still leaking air and wearing him out to keep pumping it up. He was starved. He was desperately dehydrated. He was thoroughly exhausted. Giving up would have seemed the only sane option.

When people survive these kinds of circumstances, they do something with their minds that gives them the courage to keep going. Many people in similarly desperate circumstances give in or go mad. Something the survivors do with their thoughts helps them find the guts to carry on in spite of overwhelming odds.

“I tell myself I can handle it,” wrote Callahan in his narrative. “Compared to what others have been through, I’m fortunate. I tell myself these things over and over, building up fortitude….”

I wrote that down after I read it. It struck me as something important. And I’ve told myself the same thing when my own goals seemed far off or when my problems seemed too overwhelming. And every time I’ve said it, I have always come back to my senses.

The truth is, our circumstances are only bad compared to something better. But others have been through much worse. I’ve read enough history to know you and I are lucky to be where we are, when we are, no matter how bad it seems to us compared to our fantasies. It’s a sane thought and worth thinking.

So here, coming to us from the extreme edge of survival, are words that can give us strength. Whatever you’re going through, tell yourself you can handle it. Compared to what others have been through, you’re fortunate. Tell this to yourself over and over, and it will help you get through the rough spots with a little more fortitude.