in achieving success what matters is in ones heart
| Igor Plotnikov leapt into the water and began his 50 meter butterfly swim. His powerful legs propelled him as he shot through the water. His competitors fought to keep up while they wondered, with the crowd, how someone without arms could be winning in the butterfly swim. Plotnikov got a time of 32.52 seconds at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, setting a world record. Porter Ellett is a starter on his basketball team, a high-point scorer, a leading rebounder and a major contributor as his team qualified for state. He also has only one arm. Dustin Carter has won forty-one of his last forty three wrestling matches; and has qualified for state and he has no arms or legs.
We all have disabilities, some are more apparent than others and some are more disabling than others. But just because we can't do something with as much ease as others do does not mean we should give up. What sets apart the champion from the losers is not their physical or mental ability, it is their heart. They set no boundaries they believe they can do anything and they do not give up.
Disabilities do not determine what we can and cannot do in life. We can do whatever we put our minds too. That is what stories of people like Plotnikov and Carter show us. When we look at history we can find many instances of people who have done great things through adversity. Galileo named by Einstein as the father of modern science was told to stop a branch of his research because the Catholic Church believed it went against the Bible. He was put under house arrest because of his controversial ideas and died not long after. His views however were later proven correct. Helen Keller was an amazing writer; she was also deaf and blind. But even with her difficulties she found a way to be successful and achieve many of her goals. It is even probable that her difficulties contributed to her ability as writer.
Throughout the ages we will find that the greatest impediment of progress and achievement has been and continues to be the individual impeding himself. The worst enemy of nearly all people is themselves. It is our own self pity, lack of self control, and determination that bog us down and hold us back. Thoughts like, "I am not smart enough", "I am not strong enough", or "I am not experienced enough" are more disabling than blindness or deafness. In fact, many blind and deaf people see more and hear more in the ways that matter than many of those with functional sight and hearing.
Porter Ellet's coach said, "It's not what happens to you, but how you react and how you deal with it that matters in life". If we choose to believe that we can not do something then we will never be able to do it. If a blind person decides that he cannot achieve his goals because he is blind then he never will. But anybody, no matter their shortcomings if they come into life believing they can achieve and are willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, they will meet their goals and will be considered a success in their own eyes and in the eyes of many others. In the end when we look at the lives of great achievers we will find that among them are those who society would call disabled, but they have shown that where it counts they were the least disabled of all.