Don’t look at the title of this article.
What do the following three motivational quotes have in common?
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.”
“Remind thyself, in the darkest moments, that every failure is only a step toward success, every detection of what is false directs you toward what is true, every trial exhausts some tempting form of error, and every adversity will only hide, for a time, your path to peace and fulfillment. ”
“Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to move forward the life that God intended for you with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.”
Did you guess? If not, time’s up. Or did you automatically cheat and look at the title of this blog? Oh, fine. I don’t blame you. Either way, if you haven’t figured it out yet, what these quotes have in common is their author: Augustine “Og” Mandino.
Let’s just say, this has been a tough year and these quotes speak to me. My Mom recently died, my mother-in-law’s ovarian cancer has spread to her liver, and we’re going through a terrible divorce with our son.
The point is – I may feel a bit down but I’m certainly not defeated. So I march forward, knowing there are lessons to be learned along this journey – in every heartbreak, failure, and loss. I know that people eventually reap what they sow, that I still can count many blessings, and that these trials are meant to be endured. I know I will see the “stars” again.
Og Mandino knew this from experience. If you’re not familiar with his life story, it’s a pretty fascinating one.
As a senior in high school, Mandino was the editor of his school newspaper and planned to attend the University of Missouri’s journalism school. In 1940, his mother died suddenly from a massive heart attack while she was in the kitchen making his lunch.
The trauma of losing his mother and World War II changed his plans. Mandino worked in a paper factory for a couple of years and then joined the army where he flew thirty bombing missions. When he returned to civilian life, Mandino’s life took a downward spiral into poverty and despair.
He spent six months in a New York flat with aspirations to become a writer. However, when his first efforts to sell his work failed, Mandino gave up. Companies weren’t exactly clamoring to hire former bomber pilots and he was forced to become an insurance salesman. Mandino was miserable.
“The treadmill I soon found myself on was torture. Never was I more than a few paces ahead of several bill collectors,” he wrote in his autobiography.
While on the road, Mandino often visited bars at night and became a hopeless alcoholic. For the next two years, he wondered around the country aimlessly working odd jobs and never staying anywhere for long. His wife took their daughter and left him. At Mandino’s lowest point, he even considered buying a gun at a pawn shop and committing suicide.
But something made him keep on walking and Mandino ended up in a public library which became his refuge. He began reading self-help, success, and motivation books which helped turn his life around. Renewed and determined to succeed, Mandino applied for a job in insurance sales and within a year was promoted to sales manager and started breaking sales records. He re-married a woman who, he admits, had a lot more faith in him than he had in himself.
Inspired by the Bible, W. Clement Stone, Napoleon Hill, and Emmet Fox, Mandino eventually became a successful writer and the author of the bestselling book, The Greatest Salesman in the World. In fact, his books went on to sell over 50 million copies. Mandino died in 1996. At his death, he was among the most sought-after speakers in the world.
Opening New Doors
With the help from our God above, we all have the resilience and strength to endure. Instead of giving up, we can bravely find our way. We have the ability to choose to go down new and different paths we never considered before that may lead to happiness, contentment, and fulfillment.
Nothing stays the same. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes bad. Right now, I’m thinking that’s a good thing. After caregiving for my Mom these past few years, which was all-consuming, I’m a bit lost still. But it’s time to decide which direction I want my life to take. I’m an optimist at heart, so I’m going to take Mandino’s words to heart:
“Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all.”
Or perhaps even more to the point, “Cherish each hour of this day for it can NEVER return.”
So time to re-evaluate my life and look at things from a different viewpoint. Time for a few changes that may be big or small. I haven’t decided exactly what those changes will be but I do know that life is full of open doors.
Which one will you choose?
Images courtesy of nuttakit, Stuart Miles, and Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.