The power of positive thinking can, for many of us, be the sole light amongst an enveloping sense of darkness. Which is why we find positive thinking stories so fascinating!
There are many examples of people who have gone through horrific experiences; ordeals we could never dream of. Through the power of positive thinking, these inspiring people not only found a way to get through these living nightmares but come to terms with what happened afterwards, often through the act of forgiveness.
There are those who come out on top, despite all odds. Their unconquerable spirits and mindset’s, steamroll through all obstacles that dare stand in their way. Nothing is out of reach for them and ‘quitting’ is not a word found in their vocabularies.
Finally, there are those who are faced with insurmountable odds, who handle their fate with grace, love and courage. Who spend their time improving the lives of others around them with barely a thought of themselves, just of their loved ones or oftentimes, strangers.
Below are some real-life positive thinking stories of incredible people who have mastered positive thinking to such an extent, their stories will resonate with people for years to come. They are examples and remind us that anything is possible with the right mindset, willingness to act and the power of positive thinking.
3 Inspirational Positive Thinking Stories
1) Randy Pausch
When the time comes, as it must for us all, how do you even begin to say goodbye to your loved ones?
Randy Pausch was an American computer science professor at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University. In 2006, Randy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He tried every treatment available but in 2007, doctors informed him that the cancer was incurable. Randy accepted the fact that the battle was over.
He kept an optimistic attitude, instead of dwelling on what was to come, Randy focused his thoughts on what would happen to his wife and three young children after he had passed.
He wanted his family to have happy memories of him and to be confident in the fact that they knew how much he loved them.
Randy’s University invited him to take part in their “Last Lecture” series. A series of lectures where participants would give a lecture based on what speech they would give if it were to be their very last. In poignant choice, Randy gave his last lecture in September 2007 titled, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”.
He dedicated this lecture to his children; speaking movingly about the dreams he had while growing up and how he proceeded to achieve them. He spoke about what he learnt from chasing his dreams and by helping others to achieve theirs.
He directed the latter part of his lecture to all the people that had been in his life, paying tributes to mentors, friends, co-workers and his wife. He delivered the speech in a positive and lighthearted way. People were moved, his wife wiped escaping tears as a birthday cake was delivered in order to celebrate birthdays that were yet to come.
Not only did the video move the packed auditorium of people present at the lecture, but it also moved and inspired millions of people who witnessed Randy’s last speech as the video was uploaded to YouTube. People across the world witnessed the positivity and love this man had in his last days, the manner in which he chose to face them and the everlasting lessons he gave to those of us that had the privilege of listening to his final goodbye.
As far as positive thinking stories go, this pulls on the heartstrings of many.
2) Charlie Boswell
Charlie was an all-American halfback & baseball star that was offered professional contracts in both sports. When America was pulled into the 2nd World War Charlie enlisted and joined a tank division. During a particularly fierce battle in Europe, a shell hit the tank that Charlie and his team were in.
Instead of jumping out of the burning death trap, Charlie stayed to help everyone else get out safely. In doing this he was still at the tank as a second shell hit, propelling him 50 feet away to lie broken and burned as the battle raged around him.
He was finally located and moved to a hospital where he remained unconscious for a week. When he finally came around, Charlie received the heartbreaking news that he had completely lost his sight and it would never be regained.
He worked hard at his rehabilitation; with the help of his wife, he became accustomed to this new world of darkness, learning to walk with a cane and eventually becoming more confident in his movements.
Towards the end of his rehabilitation, a friend visited him and asked him if he would like to play golf. Charlie’s response was “How in the world can I hit a golf ball when I can’t even see it?” The friend offered to help and together the pair made their way to a golf course where Charlie received a golf club and attempted to hit a ball he had never seen before.
His first drive saw Charlie smash the ball 200 yards straight down the middle of the fairway.
Always the athlete, Charlie began practicing his swing, training and practicing until his abilities gradually improved. The training paid off, Charlie won the World Championship for golfers shooting an amazing 38 for 9 holes.
Charlie’s incredible positive attitude allowed him to move on from the horrors and injuries from the war and led him back onto the path of being an athlete at the top of his game. His story is particularly inspiring to people who suffer setbacks and can’t see a way forward. There is always an alternate route if you just have the will to find it.
Positive thinking stories such as Charlies teach us that nothing should hold you back. It’s an inspiration to us all.
3) Liz Murray
Liz is a woman who overcame tremendous odds to become the best selling author, motivational speaker and a strong voice for women who are also working towards goals despite dealing with significant hardship.
Liz, born in the Bronx, New York, recalls her earliest memories of her parents being of them spending their welfare payments on heroin and cocaine whilst she and her sister starved. “We ate ice cubes because it felt like eating. We split a tube of toothpaste between is for dinner.”
The sisters watched as their parents were rendered hopeless by drug addiction and poverty. Her mother would steal their birthday money, sell the TV and even a donated Thanksgiving Turkey in order to get her next hit. Liz would arrive at school live ridden and scruffy where she was subject to bullying, dropping out as a result.
Her mother’s mantra was “one day life is going to be better.” When Liz was 15, her mother revealed that she was HIV positive and had aids. Shortly afterwards she succumbed to the illness and was buried in a donated wooden box.
Unable to pay the rent, the remainder of the family was evicted. Liz’s father went to a shelter, her sister to a friends and Liz, to the streets.
Becoming homeless at 16, Liz would steal food at the same time she shoplifted self-helps books and studied for exams in a friend’s hallway. Having not attended school for a number of years, at 17 Liz pledged to become a straight-A student and completed her high school education in just 2 years.
She then did a years work term while attending night classes. A teacher saw the drive she had and mentored her when he took his top 10 students to Harvard Liz decided that was where she was headed and started to research ‘New York Times’ Scholarships.
Liz graduated from Harvard and went on to become a best-selling author as well as motivating teenagers to resist the temptations of drugs and gangs.
“I need to take advantage of life right now. If I don’t, it will pass me by. It’s just that easy.” – Liz Murray
The ultimate message in the last of these positive thinking stories is not to use the hardships of childhood as an excuse not to take on opportunities.