“ ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all…
– Emily Dickinson
Abuse skews the perspective we have on our lives. But our viewpoint (and the labels we choose to apply to our experiences) can make a surprising difference.
What others may call “failures” can be seen as new avenues of exploration or stepping stones to the next success.
- Thomas Edison made thousands of unsuccessful attempts at creating the light bulb. When a reporter asked him how it felt to fail so often, Edison responded that he had not failed. He had merely ruled out ways that would not work.
- Babe Ruth was famous for his home run record. But for decades Ruth, also, held the record for strikeouts. He hit 714 home runs, but struck out 1330 times in his career. Ruth said about this, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”
“I’ve failed over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed.”
– Michael Jordan
The Chance to Start Again
We can view failure as a chance to start again, with more knowledge than we had before .
- The industrialist Henry Ford, the department store magnate RH Macy, and the animator/studio head Walt Disney all filed for bankruptcy, at some point. Yet they are considered exemplars of innovation whose vision changed the world.
Not Counted Out Yet
“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”
– Audrey Hepburn
True, we face enormous challenges as abuse victims. True, we may be exhausted from a decades-long battle with the after-effects of abuse. But we should not count ourselves out too soon.
- Emily Dickinson had only seven poems published in her lifetime. She is now considered a major American poet.
Too ethereal an image for you? Try Sylvester Stallone.
- Born in Hell’s Kitchen, Stallone had a difficult childhood. A birth injury left the actor with his lip, tongue, and chin partially paralyzed. He spent much of his early life in foster care, later attending a dozen different schools. While Stallone was still struggling to earn a steady income, he wrote the Rocky script. When producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff offered Stallone $350,000 for the rights, he had only $100 in the bank, but insisted on the starring role . Stallone played the “Rocky Balboa” role for scale, plus a percentage of the profits . He continued to work as a writer on the film without taking a fee. The rest, as they say, is history. Rocky won an Oscar for Best Picture, the first sports film to do so. It cost a mere $1 million to make, but grossed over $200 million. The sequels have grossed over $1 billion. Needless to say, Stallone no longer worries about his income.
Movie script or not, we can all redefine our lives…so long as we do not give up.
 Christians experience the ultimate renewal: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5: 17).
 IMDb, “Trivia”, Rocky (1976), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075148/trivia.
 IGN, “25 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Sylvester Stallone” by Tom Hawker, 1/30/13, http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/01/30/25-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-sylvester-stallone.
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