Thursday, April 06, 2006

Life’s Lessons: Adversities

“In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Wilma Rudolph was the 20th of 22 children. She was born prematurely and doctors didn't expect her to survive. She did but at the age of 4, she contracted double pneumonia and scarlet fever, which left her with her left leg paralyzed. At the age of 9, she removed the metal leg brace she had depended on for the past five years and began walking without it. By 13, she had developed a rhythmic walk, which doctors said was a miracle. That same year, she decided she wanted to begin running. She entered her first race and came in last. For the next three years, she came in dead last in every race she entered. But, she kept on running until the day came that she won a race. Eventually, the little girl who was not supposed to live and then who was not supposed to be able to walk would win three Olympic gold medals.


Before the Civil War, Edmund McIlhenny operated a sugar plantation and a saltworks on Avery Island, Louisiana. Yankee troops invaded the area in 1863, and McIlhenny had to flee. When he returned in 1865, his sugar fields and saltworks were ruined. One of the few things left were some hot Mexican peppers that had reseeded themselves in the kitchen garden. McIlhenny, who was living hand to mouth, experimented with the ground peppers to make a sauce that would liven up his dull diet. His newfound sauce is known today as Tabasco sauce. To this day, over one hundred years later, the McIlhenny Company and its Tabasco business is still run by the McIlhenny family.


Bette Nesmith was a single mother trying to support her young son on the meager pay she received as a secretary in a Dallas Bank. While typing letters for her employer, she found that electric typewriters don't erase very well, so she developed an idea: Artists paint over their mistakes, why not try it with typing mistakes? She continued to develop this idea, which eventually became the product known as Liquid Paper. This simple tool increased the efficiency of secretaries throughout corporate America. Eventually she sold the company for $47 million. One good idea, acted upon, was the difference between poverty and wealth for Bette Nesmith. (p.s. Bette Nesmith's son, Michael Nesmith, later became a member of the 60's rock group, The Monkees.)

No comments: