The strength to persevere, endure and inspire regardless of challenges

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A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
Christopher Reeve

Is it fair to say that we live in a bitter and unfair world? Probably yes? In many ways it appears to be so. Life is certainly unfair for some and overly generous to others. Some long for love, some for wealth, some for peace, some for glory and some just get by. Amidst this varied desires, there are those who triumph over their stifling set backs to succeed or at least inspire others to use their life and capabilities to enable the wonders that one can achieve when they can combine a little bit of courage, will and ambition to fulfil greater purposes in life.

While we stand looking around the mayhem of war, threats, terror, impending economic disaster, many of us are drowning in their immediate life of failures, loss, stress, betrayals, challenges and obstacles. But all of these are what we often gravitate to given our natural instincts to focus on what’s not right and that which seeks more attention rather than what is working and good in our lives. By focusing on the negatives many of us often take the positives for granted.

But if we were to look deep into the storm clouds amidst the negative events there are numerous stories and happenings that crushes the negative drama that surrounds our common, dare I say, misconception of life being unfair and totally depressing. We are perhaps a generation that is fortunate enough to witness a dramatic shift in several old paradigms and belief that breaks from the usual predictable eventualities. Although history has several stories that inspire and teach, many of us quickly discard them as though they could only be done in the past. But here are some notable shifts in our time that breaks from the norm and inspires many of us to realize that regardless of what we believe, this world has several great things and positive examples that demonstrates the possibility of positive progress if we can muster some courage, determination and desire to pursue.

Most of are expected to live well past the age of 60. If we look back just about 30 years ago we lived in a very different world. In the early 80’s our world looked like so:

IBM just introduced the first Personal Computer

Walkman was the latest and greatest gadget to have

The cold war between the super powers was a threat

Africa was fighting the apartheid

Berlin wall divided Germany

Steve Jobs was still working on the first Apple Macintosh

Cell phone was not available to the general public

Internet? What was that?

And that was the world just some 30 years ago. And 30 years ago from the early 80? This world was lot more different. Thus it is very safe to say that our world goes through a total transformation every 30 years. And this is made possible because people look past their immediate trouble and set backs  and progressively evolve. They fight out of their circumstances, develop solutions, adapt, and progress towards making greater changes personally and making better things in life.

As our world changes, there are several stories and people who inspire such major changes in life. Personally, and socially. Their efforts and thinking help push our world forward. They look past the negatives and give hope for the positive. And such people change our world and all through the years that many of us enjoy but seldom realize and appreciate.

The willingness to share does not make one charitable; it makes one free. ~Robert Brault

Inspirational stories that are changing our world today:

If you thing rich people are all selfish and living lavish lives, all you need to do is look at the top two richest men in our world today. The wealthiest men of the world willingly give away majority of their wealth to charity. They not only give away their wealth for worthy causes, but they take the time to go and administer and participate in the acts of charity and welfare of the less fortunate. The wealthiest man in the world today is not about a display of the finest living and luxuries, but he is better known for his intelligence and enormous charitable donations through is foundation. Read about Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation and Warren Buffets charitable contributions.

When we fear a health risk or a possibility of being disabled for live we can draw inspiration from this amazing individual. He is a Man from Melbourne, Australia born with no limbs graduates from college with a degree in Finance and accounting at the age of 21. He spends his time travelling the world and giving motivational speeches to young men and women on how to get up and fight their adversities in life as opposed to allowing them to defeat you in attaining your ambitions and desires. Read about Nick Vujicic.

Many do not value education today thinking they too can come up with a “get rich quick” idea. Ahem..it was “get rich or die trying” not get rich quick or quit school. Many of today’s millionaires had some form of formal schooling that gave them a much needed foundation of business principles and skill sets. Born in Bronx, NY in 1980 to HIV infected parents, became homeless at the age of 15, this girl fights through her life, goes to school much later than others of her age, and eventually wins a scholarship from New York Times and gets accepted at Harvard University. She then opted out and went back to take care of her ailing father until he passed away in 2009. Then she returns to Harvard and pursues her studies in Psychology. Now is speaks and inspires people to transform their lives. Her story became a movie in 2003. Read about Elizabeth Murray.

If you think writing your story is difficult and you may not be able to succeed. This woman was penniless, severely depressed, she was also divorced and struggling to raise a child. Amidst this she attended school and wrote a novel while being on welfare. And in a span of just 5 years she went from being a nobody to one of the most successful authors of our times. Read about JK Rowling.

We are too quick to blame our politicians and government all the time. We feel we need to depend on our leaders and often rest our own responsibilities and progress on the shoulders of our politicians. But there comes a time when people take responsibility of their own nation and progress and push for the change. We have seen several very powerful regimes crumble and the leaders being pulled down to shame by their own uprising and people. Change can only come about when people make it happen and push for it. Our individual destinies are our own, but our nation, economy, welfare, environment all can change by our individual efforts and strength. Read about the Arab Spring and the changes in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya etc. The old paradigms and constitutions continue to change or fall by their won will or be the will of their people.

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are just a few pointers towards the changing world we live in today and the few individuals who are currently popular for making a positive difference. A list of all those who make such amazing contributions daily and quietly is certainly endless. But all of this only goes to point to one simple fact that, while there are many of us who live a life of self entitlement, there are those who are amongst us who are making amazing contributions and taking their time to make this world a much better place and do plenty of good.

I have been an adherent fan of the annual list of CNN Heroes for a few years now and draw a lot of inspiration from the few select people who are featured in this amazing effort to recognize their efforts and bring some attention to their individual causes. It help me understand that in order to make ourselves purposeful and set to go something that brings about positive difference in our individual lives and others all we need is the will and desire. This year many of the featured Heroes in CNN Heroes stand as a testament to this fact. They too come from challenging pasts and difficult circumstances. They too have their life of hurdles, obstacles, personal and emotion setbacks, yet they move forward and help make a positive difference. And they do not do it for fame. They do it with simple and humble intentions. Below is a link to this year’s CNN Heroes:

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cnn.heroes/index.html

A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.~ Bob Dylan

Many of us live in advanced world with a lot of luxuries of life. Our scope of skill sets are a lot more than that of those living in third world. Yet we take the time or be cynical, bitter, angry, and hold grudges, hate, prejudice. We worry about the plane being late, our partners not doing what we like and how we prefer them to behave, the weather being too cold, and cursing the person who cut us off on the high way this morning, and haggle on the price of that exotic mango we buy that went up from $0.75 per piece to $1.14 regardless of the fact that it was plucked in a farm in Fiji just a week ago and made it all the way to your grocery store enduring a complex logistical process all ripe and plump and pretty.

Yet there are those who endure the heat, lack of electricity, mosquito ridden nights, war torn cities, personal losses, physical disabilities, emotional stress, and still manage to do every little positive thing they can for others and those who are less fortunate than them.

Perhaps it is not a bitter and unfair world after all. There are several good people and amazingly generous people right now doing great things that help change this world and make it better. Some wish for more while some get by and pray for those who are lot more deserving than themselves. In this short life of ours there are so many gratifying things we can do and leave behind a legacy if we wish. The larger majority of us can certainly do many such great things in life. We can be a hero to our child, sibling, spouse, parent, friend etc every day by just doing simple acts that helps bring them happiness, cheer, and comfort. Then we can go further to do the same or more for those who may get inspired to pay it forward. But it all begins with the will, desire, determination and at times courage. And it begins today!

I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. ~William Penn