Sunday, November 20, 2011


The worldwide web is zipping with messages about blessings this Thanksgiving season. It's great -- all that appreciation being spread around. Even in times of distress, I love the idea of digging deep and pulling out a few reasons to be grateful. H.U. Westermayer pointed out the following...

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." 

Humbling, isn't it?  Think about about the Pilgrims then think about some of the things we gripe about.

I for one had a very fortunate year. I have a home, a job, food on the table, a loving family, friends and peace. I really don't have to search too far for reasons to be thankful. I would, however, like to add something new to my list this Thanksgiving  -- something intangible. Something that if humans didn't have, they would surely perish and if they have, will undoubtedly flourish. What is it? 


What is perseverance? says, "Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement."

Oswald Chamber says, "Perserverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen." 

Just think about some of your hard times. If you didn't have the will to take the next step on the ladder to a better day, you'd be stuck in a bad place forever. We all have the power to persevere if we choose to -- the power to believe in ourselves. For that I am grateful. In fact, the people who keep going, even when times are tough, are generally the ones who triumph. Just look at what the Pilgrims started -- a country called the United States of America.

The easiest way to make my point is through example. I'm going to target two individuals in the entertainment and technology world. Why? Because this is a kick back blog and everyone who visits my pinpoint on the Blogosphere is looking for ways to check out from the stresses of the real world, to slow down a bit. One of the best ways to do this is through fun. 

As I began researching two giants in the entertainment and technology industry, I realized how much they endured before rising to the top, and even when they fell, they stood tall again. These people had extraordinary talent, but just as important, they had stamina. 

Walt Disney: 
Disney formed his first animation company in Kansas City in 1921. He made a deal with a distribution company in New York, in which he would ship them his cartoons and get paid six months down the road. Flushed with success, he began to experiment with new storytelling techniques, his costs went up and the distributor went bankrupt. He was forced to dissolve his company, could not pay his rent and was surviving by eating dog food. This was just one of many setbacks for Disney. Others included being turned down by a production company for his treasured mouse, Mickey, because a large mouse on a screen would scare women. The Three Little Pigs was rejected because a story with only four characters wouldn't hold people's interest.

Thanks for persevering Mr. Disney. The joy you created will be with us forever.

Walt Disney - The Early Years

Did you really do all that, Mr Disney?

"If I dream it I can do it."  
Walt Disney

Steve Jobs:

At just 30 years old Steve Jobs was successful, wealthy and a global celebrity. And then it all came crashing down. He had revolutionized personal computing and created an iconic brand – only to be forced out of the company he had built into a billion-dollar colossus. "I was out -- and very publicly out," he recalled in a commencement speech at Stanford University. "What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating." He added, "I was a very public failure." (Time Magazine)

Fortunately Steve Jobs rallied after his fall to invent all kinds of fun and useful technology for us.Thank you, Mr. Jobs. The world of computing today would not be even close to what it is if you didn't persevere.
"I want to put a ding in the universe."
Steve Jobs

Although these are big stories about big people all of us go through a difficult period in our life, usually several. Whether we witness our child struggling, lose a loved one, are lonely, broke, disappointed...the list of possible challenges is endless. We could give into the gloom by whining and complaining or we could choose to persevere. Christopher Reeve once said, "I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."

So this Thanksgiving as I pass around the butternut squash and mashed potatoes, I will not only give thanks for traditional blessings, but for the option of perseverance when times are tough. I will also give a nod to those who persevered to provide me with entertainment -- a realm that takes me away from everyday stress to a faraway place where I can dodge problems and strife.

Kick Back Song of the Week:

For Walt Disney and Steve Jobs, the kick back song of the week is When You Wish Upon a Star sung by Billy Joel. Thank you for seeing that star, reaching for it and grabbing it, no matter how far you had to stretch or how hot it got. Even when it slipped out of your hands, you lassoed it right back and held it even tighter.      

Kick Back Book of the Week:

Talk about perseverance, just read, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. A description from follows:

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, Zamperini, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulled himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

Laura Hillenbrand writes an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

A Little Something Extra:

Steve Jobs
1955 - 2011
Thank you.


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