Photo credit: AFforkstock
You haven’t lost all your limbs or been attacked by a shark, so today was a good day. Many people have hard lives, but only see the bad in everything they encounter. These two heroes have some pretty heart aching tragedies they had to overcome, and could only do it by seeing the good in it.
Hawaiian native surfer, Bethany Hamilton was only 13 years old when a 14 foot-long tiger shark snatched her left arm just below the shoulder while she was dangling her arm off her board. She was rushed to the hospital by her best friend, Alana Blanchard, and her father, Holt. By the time she reached the hospital she had lost 60% of her blood and was in hypovolemic shock. She was hospitalized for a couple of weeks then released. One month after the attack she returned to the water. Within two years she had won her first National title. Since then she has written a New York Times Best Selling autobiography and has been starred in the 2011 film ‘Soul Surfer’. She continues to inspire others as a motivational speaker and professional surfer.
Nick Vujicic was born on December 4th, 1982 with phocomelia without any limbs. His mother would not hold him or look at him, but eventually accepted the fact that he was not going to change. Nick has two deformed feet stubbs he calls his “chicken drumsticks” because of the shape. One foot had two toes, but originally the toes were fused together and the doctors operated a surgery to have them separated for better use. He became the biggest target for school bullies in his childhood and became severely depressed. At age eight he contemplated suicide and even tried drowning himself in the bathtub at age 10, but the undying love for his parents stopped him from following through. It wasn’t until his mother showed him an article about a man who had to survive with severe disabilities that Nick realized that he was not alone and he could be something more by inspiring others. He became a motivational speaker and has actually spoken at American Fork Junior High in 2012. He also graduated at age 21 from Griffith University with a Bachelor of commerce degree, with a double major in accountancy and financial planning. He continues to talk to many people all around the world inspiring them to never give up.
What do these two stories have in common? Well, they both encounter severe hardships and how they overcome them. They both learn to see the good under all of the chaos. It is very hard to see the light when everything is pitch black. Here are three ways that can help you see the light.
Always look on the bright side. You could have the worst day ever and still can find something good in it. Nick saw how he could inspire others that are suffering by overlooking his own problems and showing that others could do the same. If you focus on what you have and not what you don’t, then you will realize that you have so much more than you thought. “We often take for granted the very things that deserve our gratitude.” is a quote written by Cynthia Ozick. Many people take food and water for granted because most of them don’t have to worry if there will even be food when they get home. They also take for granted their body. Nick and Bethany had to learn how to live without parts of their body. Another quote by Mandy Hale reads, “Whatever happened this past year be thankful for where it brought you, where you are is where you’re meant to be.” Many people believe in destiny and reason. All of your trials are tests given by life. You can choose to either be sad and miserable with your life right now, or choose to be grateful and happy that your hardships are making you stronger and changing you for the better.
Comparing yourself to others is like comparing an apple to an orange. You can’t do it. Sure an orange might be more round, and the apple might be more crisp, but that’s not what they are suppose to be like. They are both sweet in their own way. If Nick and Bethany would have compared themselves to others, all their life they would have lived miserably. Instead they decided to make the most out of what they had and they succeeded. There is also another metaphor by Albert Einstein that says “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” Everyone is unique in their own way. Just because you may not be the best at sports, does not make you any lesser of a person. One last quote by Chandra Shekhar Azad reads. “Don’t see others as doing better than you. Beat your own records daily because success is a fight between you and yourself.” If you always compare and never progress, you are not going to become the person you want to be.
Never Give Up and Stay Strong.
If Bethany hadn’t gotten back on the board we would not criticize her, but she would never have accomplished her lifelong dream of surfing and would not have lived to be the inspiration she is today. “When life changes to be harder, change yourself to be stronger. What hurts you today, makes you stronger tomorrow.” is a saying by Edwin Mamerto. The day after the attack, she had to completely change her outlook on life. She became very strong spiritually and physically because of her disability. A quote by an unknown author says “Failure is not falling down, it’s refusing to get back up.” Nick fell down many times, but he still got up. If he had killed himself he would have never known happiness or the feeling of inspiring others like he had been inspired. Nick also had to become stronger by learning to see that he was not alone. Remember to keep trying and keep growing. You can never stay in one place, either your are progressing or you are falling. As long as you continue striving for happiness and always move towards success, you will achieve great things.
So how do you become more happy? You need to look for the good in all things. Be grateful for all that you have and complain less about what you don’t have. Think of three different things that you are grateful for each day and write them down in a journal. When you compare yourself to others you only see your own faults. One idea to help you gain confidence in yourself is to stand in front of a mirror every morning and say five things that you like about yourself while smiling. The more you realize that you are amazing and strong, the happier you are with yourself and with life. Finally, never give up, there is no better feeling than knowing you accomplished something great. Great may be that you quit smoking, won the championships, or even turned your homework in on time. If you want happiness, you need to work for it. It may take time and pain, but that means change and change is good. Continue on your journey with a little hop in your step and you will find glorious things.