We all want to be better than we are – to reach our fullest potential. Like the Whitney Houston song says “Give me one moment in time, when I’m more that I thought I could be”
The rags to riches stories are so inspiring because they give us hope. You don’t have to be down and out to want to be better. When you see people come from truly terrible situations and then break away from the mould to reach incredible success, it shows nothing is out of reach to those who are willing to work hard and push past the obstacles.
Did you know that of the 100 richest people today, 73 of them are self made billionaires? 36 of those are children of poor parents, and some of them didn’t have wealthy parents OR a college degree! http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226514
I believe making such a drastic shift requires more than sheer hard work. It requires a shift in ones thinking. You have to be positive. You have to know how to deal with the naysayers. You have to be driven to learn. You have to work hard. You have to believe in you.
Let’s take a look at a few amazing individuals who broke the mould.
Oprah’s mom was a teenage single mom. Her grandmother made her dresses out of potato sacks. She was molested. She ran away at the tender age of 13. She became a mom at 14 and her son died when he was just a baby. That’s enough heartache for a lifetime. The thing that amazes me most about Oprah, is that she never focuses on these things. She could use them as part of her image, to show how far she has come, but you can only read about her past from outside sources. This in itself speaks volumes to me. She has chosen to move forward. She has embraced a positive, forward thinking mindset and no longer identifies with that person. In fact, she is not that person at all, is she? Her success is so great that it is not even necessary to list her accomplishments as everybody reading this article is familiar with her!
The Pursuit of Happiness is an incredibly touching movie. Moreso because it is not a fairytale but is based on a real-life person. Chris Gardner never knew his real dad. His stepfather was abusive. He joined the navy and became a medical supplies salesperson. But he dreamed of something more. One day he saw a stockbroker driving a Ferrari and something inside of him changed. He became driven. He studied to be a stockbroker, slept in a subway station bathroom, was homeless, yet passed the licensing exam for stockbrokers and became employed by Bear Sterns… AND had a movie made about his life.
Her mother died. She divorced her husband just three years later. She struggled with clinical depression and raised her daughter living on welfare. But in the midst of this tremendous season of difficulty, she pursued her passion and wrote. Even then, her first novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was rejected 12 times! She was told “not to quit her day job”. I’d love to see that editors face now! Now that this single mom on welfare has a networth of $1 billion and has sold over 400 million books!
There are lessons for all of us, looking at these lives. Never underestimate or judge a person based on their current or past circumstances. And even more importantly, never underestimate yourself!