May 31st, 1993, my mom whispered, “The dedicated are the luckiest.” She kissed me and continued, “You’re so lucky, and I’m so proud of you.” After 4.5 hours of fighting, I walked straight to her to thank her. I had just earned my black belt in Russian Sambo, one of the most physically demanding martial arts ever created.
When doctors and teachers had initially claimed that due to my learning disabilities, I ought to set “realistic expectations rather than impossible goals,” I chose the impossible. Despite all odds against me, I went on to become a five time world champion, earn my master of sport, and be inducted into the hall of fame, because my mother’s definition of luck as a self determined to overcome…
She hung a sign above the door of my bedroom when I was 8. It hangs next to my NEAR-SHORT-LONG TERM whiteboard in my office. It reads,
If while pursuing distant dreams
Your bright hopes turn to gray,
Don’t wait for reassuring words
Or hands to lead the way.
For seldom will you find a soul
With dreams the same as yours.
Not often will another help you
Pass through untried doors.
If inner forces urge you
To take a course unknown,
Be ready to go all the way,
Yes, all the way alone.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t
Draw lessons from the best;
Just don’t depend on lauding words
To spur you on your quest.
Find courage within your heart
And let it be your guide.
Strive ever harder toward your dreams
And they won’t be denied.
Love you, Mom.