November 26, 2014

Teddy Roosevelt—3 Ways He Teaches Us To Fight the Odds

It’s my pleasure to highlight Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. 

This icon of American history overcame unbelievable medical trials in order to become a soldier, athlete, and statesman. 

The following paragraphs are a direct quote from my book, Accept No Trash Talk:

Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt--“Teddy Bear”…For most people, those two words immediately conjure up images of the iconic children’s toy. However, some people may not be aware the toy is named after the 26th President of the United States, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt. Roosevelt is a sterling example of how a person can overcome their past. He was characterized as a weak and sickly child. His main medical concerns were poor eyesight, chronic headaches, fever, intestinal distress, and asthma.

His asthma was so severe he was often on the brink of suffocation for weeks at a time. Medical science had not, yet, invented inhalers for asthma. The accepted treatment for asthma, at that time, was stimulants. For example, caffeine and tobacco were believed to open up the lungs. Therefore, young Teddy was given cigars to smoke and strong coffee to drink. The risks of smoking are well-known today. The strong coffee didn’t help Teddy, either; it made him nauseous.

The lynchpin to Teddy’s eventual recovery was his father. His father was strong and wise. He told Teddy that he needed to strengthen his sickly, weak body until it matched the caliber of his brilliant mind. Roosevelt’s father built a gym in the Roosevelt family home in order to motivate his son. Roosevelt boxed and lifted weights in the home gym, climbed mountains, and participated in competitive boxing and rowing at Harvard University. 

When he was a young adult, Roosevelt’s physician told him that he had serious heart problems. The doctor suggested Teddy get a non-stressful desk job somewhere. Teddy responded to this suggestion by climbing the Matterhorn. 

As President of the United States, he didn’t let a potential assassin’s bullet slow him down when he was making a speech. He kept on talking, even after he was shot. Interestingly enough, that bullet was never extracted. Roosevelt lived the rest of his life with the bullet lodged in his body. 

Roosevelt had completely transformed his body and mind by the time he became president. He had transformed himself into a soldier, an athlete, and a statesman. He has not gone down in history as a physically weak child plagued by debilitating, chronic medical problems. Instead, he has gone down in history for his stellar military and political accomplishments. 

My Conclusion

We don’t all have medical trials. We don’t all have Teddy Roosevelt’s exact health concerns. However, what all of mankind does have in common is the need to push past challenges daily. Each of us deals with our own kind of tests. The inspirational stories of men like Roosevelt help us to believe that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

How have you turned weakness into strength?

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