What Two Courageous Young People Teach Us About Career Success

Sometimes an inspirational story or two provides some of the best life and career success advice.  That’s what happened to me this week.

I had a tough week.  Spent over 10 hours on the phone with customer service and technical support reps resolving office equipment and software issues.  One is still not completely fixed. 

I was feeling kind of bad for myself.  Then I remembered two articles I read in the Denver Post this week.  The first was about Ethan Johnston who was kidnapped in Ethiopia when he was five or six and intentionally blinded to be used as a beggar.  The second was about Molly Bloom who lost one of her legs in a tragic accident on prom night five years ago here in Denver.

On Sunday Ethan, who now lives in Denver and is a college student, participated in a 5K race that is the kickoff for the running season here.  He and his guide finished in 24:37.  Molly is also a college student who is about to graduate.  She is a member of the Rolling Nuggets, a women’s wheelchair basketball team that won the national championship in their class.

Ethan and Molly’s stories got me thinking about two things.  First, technical problems happen.  I choose to be an entrepreneur.  That means I also choose to solve my own problems without the help of a corporate help desk.  Second – and more important – these stories got me thinking about the career advice in Tweet 39 in my career success book Success Tweets.  “While other people and events have an impact on your life, they don’t shape it.  You get to choose how you react to people and events.”

Some very bad people had a tremendous negative effect on Ethan’s life – and many others in his home country.  He says that there are about 1.5 million people in Ethiopia who suffered the same fate.  He begged on the streets for two and a half years before he was rescued and adopted by a family that brought him to the US.

In Molly’s case, a limo driver got careless and drove away as she was half in and half out of the vehicle.  The daughter of one of Cathy and my friends was in that limo that night.  She said it was a horrible experience.  She was sure Molly was going to die right there.  Molly is tough though.  She survived and has thrived.

I read Ethan and Molly’s stories in the same week that I had my own trivial technical problems.  And they made me think of the career advice in Tweet 39 in Success Tweets when I was feeling frustrated and a little sorry for myself.  To paraphrase one of Humphrey Bogart’s lines in one of my all time favorite films Casablanca, my technical problems this week didn’t “amount to a hill of beans” compared to what Ethan and Molly have endured.  I lost some time this week, but so what?  I can make it up over the weekend, on the plane next Monday, or at night in my hotel room next week.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Your attitude is the difference maker.  A positive attitude leads to positive results and career success.  A negative attitude leads to negative results.  The good thing is that you can choose your attitude.  Remember Ethan and Molly’s stories the next time you want to blame people and events for your frustrations.  Follow the career advice and wisdom in Tweet 39 in Success Tweets.  “While other people and events have an impact on our life, they don’t shape it.  You get to choose how you react to people and events.”  Use the free will that God has given you to create your life and career success.  Choose a positive attitude.  Choose to respond positively to the negative people and events in your life.  Remember what Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor, says in  Man’s Serach for Meaning, a book designated by the US Library of Congress as one of the 10 most influential books in the United States: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space.  In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and freedom.”  Empower yourself to make the right choices, the positive choices, when you encounter negative people and events.

That’s the common sense career advice I take from Ethan Johnston and Molly Bloom’s inspirational stories.  What do you think?  Do you know someone who has triumphed over great odds?  If so, please share his or her story with us.  And, as always thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.  Have a great Mother’s Day weekend.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 395 pages of common sense career advice explaining each of the tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Hi Bud,

    I really enjoyed today’s inspirational post. It was just what I needed to put things back into perspective after a frustrating work week as well. Have a great weekend!!

  2. Thanks for your comment Ellie:
    Sounds as if we’ve both had tough weeks.
    I’m sure we’ll both have better ones next week.
    All the best,

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.