December 3, 2015

More Examples of Determination

“You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge one yourself.”—James Anthony Froude, from

Persistence is not something we’re born with. By its very nature, it usually requires years of disciplining our minds, if not our bodies.

The other day, I mentioned 8-year old dancer and partial amputee, Alissa Sizemore, in an article. In this post, I will spotlight two more incredible cases of people who dared to dream in unbelievably harsh circumstances. (My research comes mainly from Wikipedia and

Joni Earecksen Tada

Google calls this remarkable lady an “evangelical Christian, author, radio host, and founder of Joni and Friends, an organization accelerating Christian ministry in the disability community.”

Ms. Tada dove into a pool that was too shallow as a teen. As a result, she became paralyzed from the shoulders down. Unsurprisingly, she suffered from anger, depression, suicidal thoughts, and religious doubts.

Did that stop her? Not on your life! She immediately started painting pictures with her teeth and selling them. Here are her current credentials: author of about 48 books, conference speaker, made several musical albums, starred in an autobiographical movie of her life, advocate for disabled people, and survivor of breast cancer.

Joseph Sher

This amazing Holocaust survivor grew up in Poland, where many of the worst Nazi atrocities were committed. He saw loved ones and acquaintances disappear, get tortured and killed, or get shipped off to the extermination camp, Treblinka. He was relocated to the Jewish ghetto, subjected to slave labor, and survived typhoid fever. He was also saved from a Russian camp for Nazi prisoners of war by a kind Russian captain.

In 1949, the gentle tailor finally made it through a rough voyage to New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. He and the other passengers rejoiced, dancing in the streets of their newly-adopted country.

My Conclusion

“The question for each man to settle is not what he would do if he had means, time, influence, and educational advantages; the question is what he will do with the things he has. The moment a young man ceases to dream or to bemoan his lack of opportunities and resolutely looks his conditions in the face, and resolves to change them, he lays the corner-stone of a solid and honorable success.”—Hamilton Wright Mable, from (emphasis mine)

Do you hold the pen to write the story of your life, or have your challenges taken over?

Please see more about determination in my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds:

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