Movies, books, articles and stories have touched us all at one time or another. Some stir us with negative emotions of outrage and anger. Yet, others move us to action. Moreover, others open our eyes to the realization of just how wonderful life is and inspire us to be more than we are.
The first movie ever to motivate me was Rocky. The story of the broken down, never could have been a contender fighter was as uplifting as it was powerful. How many kids cracked a half dozen or so eggs into a glass and felt the raw liquid slime slip down our throats? We convinced ourselves that it was delicious, and fought the reflex to expel the uncooked concoction, confident that we would be able to workout harder and heavier because it helped The Italian Stallion go the distance.
While the real life Ali-Wepner match may have sparked the fighting style, the tale of Rocky Balboa is Hollywood myth. To paraphrase a cliché — Life is more uplifting than fiction.
Recently, I took my girlfriend’s daughter to see Soul Surfer; the real life account of Bethany Hamilton. For those who don’t know; thirteen year old Hamilton was a rising surf star based in Hawaii. One day while training on the ocean, a shark attack almost took her life. While she survived the attack, the shark severed her left arm at the shoulder.
If there was a give reason to simply give up one’s dreams; that may have been it. Yet, the young woman wasn’t about to quit. After the attack, all she thought about was getting back on her board and competing. When the task became to be too difficult, she was ready to abandon her life’s ambition.
On a volunteer mission to help the tsunami-ravaged people of Thailand, she was given the opportunity to see human suffering up close. Returning home, she was overwhelmed by letters from people across the globe who were inspired by the failed efforts that caused her to want to quit.
After some serious soul searching, Bethany Hamilton made the decision that what had happened to her would not derail her ambitions. She made the choice to not simply overcome her circumstances, but to be better because of them.
One of my first columns that I authored for the Pittston Sunday Dispatch was about local Paralympic skier; Stephanie Jallen. I discussed how I did not want to work out on a particular day just because I was tired. I was inspired not to walk out of the gym or take it easy by the example of Miss Jallen.
I walked away from the movie feeling much the same way. Life can be hard, brutal and downright unfair. There are fear and hate mongering harbingers of doom, such as WILK’s Steve Corbett, who will tell you how awful your existence is — but it is up to us how we chose to respond to adversity.
You can wallow in the angst and pessimism of those around you and quit on yourself, or you can follow the motivation stories of Stephanie Jallen and Bethany Hamilton and take charge of the only thing in life you actually have any control over; yourself.
Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book; Fat Then Fit Now; A life beyond wight loss.
He is available to speak at no charge to any school or any youth group. He will make himself available to any talk radio, internet podcasting or television outlet. He has appeared on Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Lisa Davis’ Your health radio; Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast; Hank Garner’s Podcast.