Lance Armstrong, Nein Cheng, Viktor Frankl, Corrie Ten Boom overcame great obstacles in their lives. They share they horrific challenges in their books. Their writings can inspire us to overcome our own challenges. Their experiences can help us to learn principles that will empower us to reach deeper and do more than merely survive. They inspire us to live!
I challenged the students in my stress management class to do a book report. They were encouraged to read a book about an individual who had overcome a challenge, or a self-help, or a leadership training book. They were encouraged to choose a book they would like to read, that they could learn from the experiences of others, or learn principles that would help decrease the stress in their lives. Some of the books that they read were Man’s Search for Meaning, The Inner Game of Stress, How to Influence People and Make friends, Life and Death in Shanghai… Many of the books I have read, and many I have not. Reading their reports, reminded me of how much I love to read. I realized how much I miss reading.
Most of my life, I’ve spent a great deal of time reading. I need to spend more time reading. I have been greatly inspired by the writings of great men and women who have overcome fantastic challenges. I think about Mrs Nein Cheng (Life and Death in Shanghai). She was falsely imprisoned at age 56 for six and half years. Or Victor Frankl, the famous psychiatrist who spent time in a nazi death camp. Dr Frankl wrote, “A Man’s Search of Meaning”, which was first published in 1959 and is still in print today. Corrie Ten Boom, wrote of how she helped many Jews in her book, “The Hiding Place”. Corrie also spent a year in a concentration camp and was released due to an error, after her sister’s death.
Okay, to be honest, I have never been falsely imprisoned or sent to a concentration camp for being jew or for “hiding” jews. I’ve never even visited a prison. But the experiences of these “real” people inspire me. How is it they can endure such horrific events, be tortured, practically starved to death and still survive. I remember in “The Hiding Place” how the Boom sisters strove to find the good in everything. Their “living quarters” were invested with flies and bugs, so much so, that the guards stayed clear of their quarters. Because they were not “observed” as frequently as the other prisoners, they were able to read the bible. At first they were very annoyed by the flies and bugs, but later they changed their perspective and realized the freedom they gained because of the silly bugs.
My husband and I took a very long road trip in the late summer of 2006. We drove from St George, Utah to Illinois. We researched the lives of our ancestors and followed their path to the west. My family eventually settled in the Southern Utah Area. During this 9 day road trip, we listened to many books on tape. One of the books we listened to was “It’s not about the Bike, My Journey Back to Life”. This book about Lance Armstrong’s life and experience with testicular cancer was awe inspiring. How does a man come so close to deaths door and then win not one Tour De France, but Six?
Having near death experiences, being stripped of all strength, and being literally almost medicated to death, changes one’s perspective on life!
I am grateful that others have been so willing to take the time to write about their “horrific experiences” so that I am inspired to overcome my personal challenges and enjoy my journey.
What books have inspired you? I want to read several books this summer. Any recommendations?