Every day that I turn on the news, there’s a part of me that dies inside. There’s so much violence incited that sometimes it seems as if the world only consists of doom and gloom. I watch as those that I care for and don’t even know bicker with one another with political views and statements that are hurled towards one another for differences of opinion. I watch as families collide because they are on opposing sides of debates. In many ways, it feels that I’m watching a modern day North and South implode before my eyes and there’s very little I can do. It’s refreshing when I hear news about people who are working together to make the world a better place. Human decency does still exists in the world. It may be less charming to report those stories, but in a world of drama filled incidents, it’s a breath of fresh air.
Lately I’ve been watching many different motivational speakers because the need to remain positive in a world that makes it difficult has become a necessity. Nick Vujicic is one name that I admire. He is the founder of Attitude is Altitude. He was born without limbs and yet lives life to the fullest. He chooses to see the world as a world of positive reinforcement. He doesn’t look at what he doesn’t have. He has a wonderful family, inspires people anywhere he goes and isn’t afraid to share the struggles he’s encountered along the way. He doesn’t blame anyone for the special needs he has. He embraces who he is and teaches us that as long as we look at the many blessings in all our lives, that we can achieve anything if we set our minds to it. He acknowledges that life without limbs has been challenging but it’s also given him a platform that others don’t usually see. His compassion is infectious. He’s just one of many who keep me focused on not allowing limitations to define who I am or what I can achieve.
HK Derryberry and Jim Bradford are another combination that keep me in awe of those with special needs. For those who are not familiar with them, HK Derryberry never should have been able to survive the accident that took his mother’s life at the very young age of nineteen. He was born three months prematurely. He was born blind, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and a host of other medical issues. His father abandoned him and he was raised by his paternal grandmother. Enter Jim Bradford. Jim was a local business executive who had a family. When they met, neither of them realized how much they would influence one another. According to the information on HK, Vanderbilt University medical researchers discovered that HK is one of only a very small demographic that has HSAM (Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory). This means he’s able to recall almost every memory since he was at least four years old. That’s extremely impressive. I’m doing well if I can recall what I did yesterday. HK inspires others to shake the negativity out of their life and to embrace a positive mentality. He acknowledges that hard work, perseverance and faith are essential to success. As long as you never give up in what you believe, you are achieving one of the greatest gifts of all. Those attributes help others who may be frustrated at the difficulties they encounter.
When I listen to other motivational speakers, folks like Tony Robbins come to mind. He focuses on positive messages and eliminating fears. He speaks of improving communication and expanding your network, and stresses staying fit and healthy. His energy helps me to refocus my own energy and understanding areas that I need to continue working on for me. When I first heard of Mr. Robbins, I thought he was just some other hot head looking to make extra money off others. He had the appearance of looking like a jock who was excessive in muscle. It took me a while to connect the dots that every single one of these motivational speakers have things in common. They may not look like each other but their energy is one that can’t be denied. Every single one of them believes in themselves and presents positive reinforcements with every single lecture. There is an unabashed feeling of success that aligns itself with them. I can truly say that I’ve never experienced such a strong connection to positive engagement as I have in listening to these speakers.
Jack Canfield is responsible for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books. I can’t tell you how many times reading those stories helped bring me out of a darkened mood. Stories of faith and hope are needed more than ever. Many people are still enjoying his books and being introduced to a world of information that they never knew previously. His stories reminds us that stories of faith and hope are an integral part of the positive messages that we need to hear to remain motivated. Strength and adversity don’t have to curtail our hopes and dreams. The power of faith is strong. The messages are one of hope, grace and the unconditional love that is in the world if we allow that message to prevail.
Condoleezza Rice is a woman that I have tremendous respect for. Not only is she a proud Black woman, but she inspired multiple women of color and many who were white to aspire for more out of life. It takes a strong woman to lead this country. She may not have been President but she was in a role that very few women have had the privilege to preside over. While I don’t care for Hilary Clinton, she too held the office of Secretary of State. There are a lot of women that are in positions of power. Those positions were not all easily acquired. Even if you don’t care for the person themselves, there is a line of respect for those who continuosly break barriers.
Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and many of the greatest influencers of the Black Awareness movement continue to inspire and motivate people through their legendary speeches and actions. No matter what life threw at them, they would not be silenced. Sometimes their words echoed in the hearts of generations. Other times it was their actions that would leave a lasting impression with their legacy. The truth is that we all have learned from them. We’ve also learned that voices are not going to be silenced. That is one of the greatest gifts that we’ve been given. Their influence continues to this day.
Isn’t that what great mentors do? They leave a lasting impression. They remind us of where we can be if we allow it. These men and women constantly inspire me to be the best I can be. No matter who your role models are, I truly hope that you can find the incentives to not settle for anything in your life. You’re worth it. Never forget your value.