BY IMAN UMAIR-QAISER
School can be hard. Life can be hard. Heck, existence can be hard. The forces that shape our universe always seem ready to throw the next proverbial curveball into your week.
You could fail that report you spent a week writing and running through Grammarly exactly seven times for extra good luck. You could blow a three-game streak on the volleyball team by missing a game-winning-volley because you tripped over your own feet and landed face flat on the floor, the ball smacking the back of your head as you sobbed metaphorical tears of regret and self-criticism. You could be grounded for a month for forgetting to pick up your little brother from school and causing him to walk home and catch a cold, because you were late to catch your bus as you waited in line at the library to sign out some books for your science midterm the next day. Everything seems determined to see to it that you never succeed in life.
You are not alone in the fight against the merciless wrath of fate and destiny. Countless people throughout history went through hardships of every kind just to stand on their own feet at the top of the world.
A young woman was once fired from her job for writing stories all day instead of working. Her mother died of multiple sclerosis, and after having a daughter and being married for a year, she and her husband divorced, and she lived off welfare for several years. She wrote and pitched a book to twelve different publishers, all who rejected her. A smaller publishing house approached her, and a few months later, Joanne K. Rowling, the author of the bestselling Harry Potter book series, became famous and was the first person in history to become a billionaire by selling books. She eventually lost that status by donating so much of her money to charity, and still remains a constant influence on literature.
A boy was once unable to speak until he was four, and unable to read until he was seven. He failed consistently in school, and his teachers and parents labelled him as well below average. He was a German Jew during the Nazis’ rise to power. He later grew up to become a world renowned physicist, and attributed with a revolutionary theory that changed the face of nuclear and atomic development forever. Albert Einstein was never the greatest at everything, but he is still considered the face of modern physics.
An abused girl ran away from home, had a son, and lost her child, all at fourteen years of age. She went to live with her estranged father, went to school, and excelled in communication media, earning a full scholarship. She was hired by one of the worst networks in America, and through her effort and persistence, it became the most viewed show in the country, and eventually they renamed it in her honour, the Oprah Winfrey show.
Two brothers presented an idea they had for a T.V. show based on influences to their childhoods. Fifteen networks rejected them, until one day they caught the attention of a well-known director, and they were signed to produce and direct the show under Netflix’s supervision. On July 15th, 2016, the revolutionary hit show Stranger Things was released by the Duffer Brothers.
A young girl survived a vicious underwater attack and lost her arm. After a month, she continued training to be a professional surfer and is regarded as one of the bravest and most influential teenagers this century. Bethany Hamilton has won first place in many competitions, including the Explorer Women’s Division of the NSSA National Championships.
From Brooklyn, New York, came a young rapper raised by his single mother alongside his three siblings. When no record company would sign him, he sold his CDs out of the back of his car and went on to create his own record company with his two friends, and is now a famous and influential rapper, investor, and entrepreneur, with his company Roc-A-Fella achieving international success. Not to mention he married Beyonce. Jay-Z really made it in life.
So no matter how big or small your hardship, just remember these icons and remind yourself that no obstacle is too big to overcome or to persist through. You’ve probably heard it a thousand times, and now it will be a thousand and one, but you have to keep moving forward. You may not achieve superstardom, or discover a scientific concept that will leave the world shook, or go down in history as one of the best people to ever exist, but you will be able to say that you survived today, and you will always be able to hope that you conquer tomorrow. Keep going, friends.