Soul Surfer — The Triumph Of The Human Spirit

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 slime of raw eggs 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.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

Yesterday, 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 on the ocean training, 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 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.


Physical Culturist and Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book, “Obesity Undone” and a contributor to He is available to appear on any talk radio, internet podcast or television outlet. His web site is available to help you reach your goals.

He has appeared on 94.3FM’s The David Maderia Show, Bounce Back to Your Brilliance w/Angel Tyree, What’s Weighing You Downw/Dr. Marilyn Gansel on FTNS radio, Nurture and Nutrition on Blog Talk Radio, Low Carb Conversations with Jimmy Moore and Friends, BlogTalk Radio’s Toni Harris Speaks, Internet Radio: Cathie’s Talking, TV -35′s Storm Politics with Tiffany Cloud, WILK’s The Sue Henry Show, Magic 93′s Frankie In The Morning, WBRE’s PA Live, SSPTV’s News 13, Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Entercom’s Outlook on Northeast PA with Shadoe Steele, Citadel Broadcasting’s Sunday Magazine with Brian Hughes, Lisa Davis’ Your Health Radio; Hank Garner’s Podcast, Dr. Robert Su’s Carbohydrates Can Kill Podcast; and the one and only Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast.
Dr. Joe Leonardi also will come and speak to your group; to learn more about his motivational speaking fees and availability contact him at and check out his website
************The information  is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting that I write do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions.************


3 thoughts on “Soul Surfer — The Triumph Of The Human Spirit

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