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#305: Willpower

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Many, maybe most, people have never heard of Ron Scott, Tomi Keitlen or Adi Hofbauer.

Ron was a squash player before he was drafted into the Korean War where a sniper shot away Ron's right arm. The sport had kept him in good shape and when he recovered from his wound he continued playing squash, lefthanded.

Tomi became blind after several operations when she was thirty-two years old. She believed in herself and decided her handicap would not stand in her way of doing the things she enjoyed. And it didn't. She became a swimmer, golfer and a mountain climber with the assistance of directions a guide dictated into a tape recorder. Tied to him by a rope, she listened to "Move your foot about four inches to the left..." Amazingly Tomi also learned to snow ski, setting her instructor up with a bell that he rang whenever there was a dip in the track.

The loss of an arm does not also bring loss of hope, claimed Adi Hofbauer, a one-armed skier who often competed in Austria. "After mastering the lack of the arm, I felt all the stronger, all the more sure of myself -- on skis as well as in life," he said proudly.

No, most people have never heard of Ron Scott, Tomi Keitlen or Adi Hofbauer but they likely know the name Al Capp, the famed cartoonist, who lost a leg in 1919 when he was run over by a trolley car. He said he stumbled and limped hard at first trying to adjust but soon considered his wooden leg as a "useful, rather good-looking gadget."

The common denominator with all four of these people, and thousands more like them? They refused to allow serious physical problems to dictate their lives.

How much more fortunate are we who have our arms and legs and eyesight? But we still create excuses why we can't execise a few minutes every day. Forget playing the tough sport of squash or skiing or mountain climbing. Just walking or doing chair exercises for a few minutes a day. That's all that is being asked of us as we pursue our weight loss and fitness goals.

Doing so, being committed, is simple compared to overcoming the handicaps of these four intrepid souls who displayed the willpower to achieve despite their setbacks.

If they could do so, can't we?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post

    So true, what ambition and desire those people must have, and you are right... Why can't we. We often dwell on such small, little mindless things that we let it run our life... we let it ruin our life is more like it. I am guilty of it too on occasion, but I have to say that I find myself more grateful as I get older, and wiser, of the things that I have and am able to do! Thanks for always keeping us enlightened with your insights!


    3956 days ago
  • no profile photo YW84FRIDAY
    Right on, Lou! I have many friends with varying degrees of disability or more accurately, differing abilities, who continue to amaze and inspire me every day. I had a friend in college, Tom, who had no arms--just hands sprouting out at the top of his shoulders. It took him until he was 18 to learn to dress himself. He then went on to drive a specially fitted car and to do action sports photography as a hobby. I haven't seen or heard from Tom in about 30 years, but I think of him often when I'm starting to feel like I "can't" do something.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    3956 days ago
    Yea! I'm so glad I spent some time on the treadmill before I read your blog. Otherwise I'd have felt guilty for making excuses to NOT do it. emoticon What a great reminder to us to not let 'things' get in our way of some kind of exercise.

    Speaking of my treadmilling: I warmed up at 2.5 mph, then spent another 5 minutes at 3 mpg, but when I tried 3.5 mph my hip said NO. So I spent another 20 min or so at 3 mpg before cooling down again at the lower speed. I didn't let my hip stop me from getting much-needed exercise.

    Thanks again for the encouragement. Have a great day
    3956 days ago
  • DKWP614
    Thank you for the reality check reminder. Frequently, we enhance our mediocrity rather than overcoming it. This post today reminded me not to do that!

    Thank you!
    Diana Kathryn
    3956 days ago
    I know I will. It may take me a bit longer then first hoped but i'm all for reaching my goals. god bless you.
    3956 days ago
    I love hearing stories of people who have bet the odds. Thank you for sharing them.

    As I was reading this blog the following bible verse came to mind.

    Proverbs 18:14
    The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

    3956 days ago
  • no profile photo CHANGENMINDSET
    I guess we all have our handicaps, whether they are physical, mental or emotional we all have something to overcome.
    Each of us has a choice to make.
    What are we going to do about it?
    Waller in self-pity or move forward and don't look back?

    Thanks for the blog!!
    3956 days ago
  • LINDA25427
    Good blog Lou sad but really inspiring ,thanks for sharing, hope you have a great week . God bless.
    Hugs emoticon emoticon
    3956 days ago
    This is a great booster shot, Lou. Thanks for sharing the stories of these people. And you are right; if they can, so can I.
    3956 days ago
    That's something we need to say to ourselves daily determination & will power.

    God bless & thanks for sharing!

    3956 days ago
  • LESLIES537
    Thank you for putting things into perspective for me Lou. I really needed to read this...thanks for inspiring me once again! ~Leslie emoticon
    3956 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2833646
    Yes, willpower is important. Without it we are nowhere. With it, we are Everywhere.
    3956 days ago
    Wow Lou, we really don't have any excuses do we?! Thank for sharing this. It was very inspirational. Next time I try to make an excuse to skip my exercise, I'll think of this!
    3956 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/2/2010 10:18:11 PM
    How inspiring! YES, I CAN!
    3956 days ago
    I don't have much willpower, but I do have determination. Hearing stories of people who overcome at anything, be it circumstances or physical difficulties inspire me and make my determination even more sure.

    I have a friend who is deaf. She also seems to have a learning disability, so that is a double strike. She had so much trouble with math, she started in the developmental math classes, struggling and failing, taking it again and passing, taking the next developmental math class and failing, taking it again and passing, all the way until she passed the required college Algebra. Last December she graduated with her degree. She could have quit. Most people would have, but she kept at it semester after semester. I think she is awesome and inspiring.

    Thanks, Lou, for your comment on my blog about my mom. I am so sorry you've lost your mom. We never outgrow them, do we?

    3956 days ago
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