Here is a series of people who have shown the world that the sky’s the limit for those who believe in themselves.
Being deaf since she was one and a half years old, Marlee made her credo a phrase: ’The only thing I can’t do is hear.’ When she was a child, despite the doctors’ advice, her parents sent her to a public school (instead of a specialized one for the deaf), and with the help of special programs Marlee adapted after a while. It helped her to become the first and only deaf actress to receive an Academy Award. Marlee often says: ’I work every day to help people understand, like my parents taught me, that deaf people not only deserve respect, they deserve to be heard.’
’I don’t need arms and legs; I just need Him.’ This credo helped Nick to become one of the most famous motivational speakers, receive an economics degree, get married, and have two children. Nick Vujicic inherited his strong will from his mother. In one of his books, Nick told how her words set the tone for a lifetime. ’Nicholas,’ she said, ’you need to play with normal children because you are normal. You just have a few bits and pieces missing, that’s all.’
He writes books, sings, surfs, and plays golf. He often travels around the world with his lectures to help young people find a reason for living, and to realize and develop their abilities and talents.
As a student, Stephen began to show symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The disease progressed, and in a few years he became completely paralyzed, and after a surgery on his throat he lost the ability to speak. However, this didn’t prevent him from getting married twice, raising three children, and becoming one of the most eminent scientists of our time.
Now he’s one of the most influential contemporary theoretical physicists. According to him, he has achieved success thanks largely to his disease. ’Before, life seemed boring. Now I’m definitely happier. The prospect of early death made me realize that life is worth living. So much can be done; everyone can do so much!’
Frida Kahlo was a prominent Mexican artist who became famous thanks to her extraordinary paintings. At the age of 6 she became seriously ill with polio, which made one of her legs thinner than the other. That’s when her iron will started to form. To get rid of ridicule from her peers, who teased her with the name ’peg-leg Frida,’ the girl took up swimming, dancing, football, and boxing.
As a teenager, Frida had a car accident which resulted in a serious injury and severe pain in her spine until the end of her life. After the accident she couldn’t get out of bed for several months. During this period she constantly painted, mostly self-portraits. Now the works of Frida Kahlo sell for millions of dollars.
Ray Charles was a legendary American musician who received 12 Grammy Awards. As a child he began losing his sight, and before the age of 7 he went completely blind. When Ray was 15 years old, his mother died. The young man couldn’t sleep, eat, or speak for many days. He was sure that he would go mad. When he got out of his depression he realized that, having gone through this tragedy, he would be able to handle anything.
When he was 17, the musician started to record his first soul, jazz, and rhythm and blues singles. Nowadays, many people consider Ray Charles a legend: his works were even included in the Library of Congress. In 2004, after his death, Rolling Stone magazine named Ray Charles number 10 in the top 100 greatest artists of all time.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
When FDR was 39, he got polio. A long-term treatment didn’t help, and the future president remained confined to a wheelchair. Once he realized how serious his disease was, no one heard him complaining. Having mustered all his courage, Roosevelt unsuccessfully tried to learn to walk on crutches and heavy orthopedic equipment. Despite his illness, he became the president of the USA. ’The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today,’ Roosevelt said.
At the age of one and a half, after overcoming disease, Helen Keller lost her sight and hearing. But it didn’t break her spirit, and Helen realized her dream of becoming a writer: several books and more than 400 articles were published under her name. She became the first deafblind person to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree. In addition, Keller was actively involved in politics, fighting for the rights of women and workers.
Helen Keller achieved success thanks to her strong character and curiosity. She often said: ’When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.’
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
In his youth Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was a military man. At the age of 24, in the Battle of Lepanto, he lost his left arm. Four years later, in Algeria, he was taken prisoner and spent the next five years away from home. Only after his release was he able to return to normal life and start his literary career. His novel The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha is recognized as one of the greatest works of world literature.
Ludwig van Beethoven
When he was 26, Ludwig began to lose his hearing. But this circumstance didn’t prevent him from composing. When he had almost stopped hearing, he wrote the Moonlight Sonata; and, being totally deaf, a bagatelle named Fur Elise (which we often hear coming from music boxes).
Thanks to his talent and strong will he learned to listen to the music inside him, and having written Symphony No. 9, he conducted the concert by himself. After a triumphant performance, he started crying. ’There are no barriers for a person with talent and love towards work,’ Beethoven said.
When Einstein was a small child, it was difficult to assume that he would succeed in life. Einstein didn’t speak until the age of three and, moreover, he was autistic and dyslexic. At high school he often skipped classes, and that’s why he didn’t graduate. To show his parents that he was worthy, Einstein prepared for an English test on his own, and on taking it for the second time he gained a place at the Polytechnic in Zurich.
Albert Einstein said: ’Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.’
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