Friday, October 1, 2010
I happened to catch the last 30 minutes of Oprah’s interview with JK Rowling today, and it really made an impression on me. Ms. Rowling has faced many challenges in her life, but to hear her talk about how she went from depressed and broke to becoming the author of one of the best-selling book series in recent memory – not to mention a massive fortune and a marriage with the love of her life – was truly inspiring. She mentioned the commencement speech she gave at Harvard in 2008, and the phrase that stuck with me was this: rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
Who among us hasn’t felt like we’ve hit rock bottom at one time or another? Perhaps you’ve weathered the demise of a relationship or the death of a parent. Maybe you’ve been challenged by life with an unhappy child or a demanding boss. Possibly your own inner demons have sent your scurrying to find relief in drugs or alcohol. Whatever struggles you’ve endured – or perhaps are enduring even as you read this – isn’t it good to know that others have gone through tough times, possibly even very similar experiences as those you’re living, and come out of them not just well and happy but truly living the life of their dreams?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t find mediocre acceptable. I didn’t come to this planet to live a mediocre life. I want to see my personal dreams of success and happiness become reality. But how to begin?
I think the path to living our dream life starts with hope. And you can have hope today if you want it. You don’t need money, you don’t need education, you don’t even need to have a job or a home to have hope. However, it is helpful to know, or know of, someone who has overcome adversity so you can use them as a role model. Someone like JK Rowling. Or even Oprah herself, who, from all accounts, had a childhood comprised of povery and abuse. Is there someone in your own life who’s known tough times yet never given up? Use these folks as your role models and, more importantly, as reminders that change – positive, uplifting, dramatic change – is always possible. Always and without exception.
Pick someone to be your role model, and learn all you can about that person. Pin up quotes from him. Cut out pictures of her. Make a vision board depicting your role model and their accomplishments. Remember that this person at one time also hit rock bottom. But they didn’t crash and burn – they bounced. It took guts. It took focus. And it took no small amount of hope. But they did it and they went on to live amazing lives. And if you are determined to make the best of things, you can take your rock bottom – with underpinnings of hope and faith – and build your dream life, too. You’ve got the foundation. The question now is: How high will your dreams take you?