GREAT Stories

I LOVE a GREAT story, so I hope you enJOY this collection of stories I found online. There are so many stories that instill hope, motivation, following dreams, pursuing passion, overcoming obstacles. Stories are the essence of our beings. They make us who we are. They share the life lessons one can learn from and pass along to encourage another. May we always seek and find the treasures in the stories that swirl all around us. Let us grab them and cherish the feelings they leave us with. We will always fly a little higher after reading a GREAT story. enJOY.

Emily Blunt

Today we know Emily Blunt as a Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild winning actress. With several hit films under her belt, including the acclaimed A Quiet Place, Sicario, and the Girl on the Train, Emily Blunt is one of England’s most successful actresses with an estimated net worth of $110 million dollars.

But her glittering career almost didn’t happen. As a teenager, Emily developed a stutter so debilitating she could barely hold a conversation. So severe was her stutter, that she never even considered a career in acting. Her parents took her to speech coaches and relaxation coaches, but nothing worked.

“I was a smart kid, and had a lot to say, but I just couldn’t say it,” said Emily in a 2009 interview. “It would just haunt me.”

But that all changed when a kind teacher encouraged her to try out for the school play.

“One of my teachers at school had a brilliant idea and said, ‘Why don’t you speak in an accent in our school play?’ I distanced myself from me through this character, and it was so freeing that my stuttering stopped when I was onstage. It was really a miracle.”

Eric Yuan

You might not have heard of Eric Yuan, but you’ve definitely heard of the conferencing platform he created: Zoom. At the start of 2021, Zoom had a market valuation of more than $16 billion and it employs more than 2, 500 people.

But were it not for Eric’s tenacity and determination, it might never have happened. Born in China, Eric was heavily inspired by Bill Gates, and wanted to join the tech boom of the 1990’s. But when he applied for a U.S visa he was denied over and over again.

“The first time I applied for a U.S. visa, I was rejected. I continued to apply again and again over the course of two years and finally received my visa on the ninth try.”

He quickly rose to the rank of vice president of engineering at Cisco, and shortly after he founded Zoom.

The Kid Stays in the Picture

By Fran Lostys

He was no scholar, and his classmates teased him. Rather than read, the kid really preferred running around with a 8 mm camera, shooting homemade movies of wrecks of his Lionel train set (which he showed to friends for a small fee).

In his sophomore year of high school, he dropped out. But when his parents persuaded him to return, he was mistakenly placed in a learning-disabled class. He lasted one month. Only when the family moved to another town did he land in a more suitable high school, where he eventually graduated.

After being denied entrance into a traditional filmmaking school, Steven Spielberg enrolled in English at California State College at Long Beach. Then in 1965, he recalls, in one of those serendipitous moments, his life took a complete turn. Visiting Universal Studios, he met Chuck Silvers, an executive in the editorial department. Silvers liked the kid who made 8 mm films and invited him back sometime to visit.

He appeared the next day. Without a job or security clearance, Spielberg (dressed in a dark suit and tie, carrying his father’s briefcase with nothing inside but “a sandwich and candy bars”) strode confidently up to the guard at the gate of Universal and gave him a casual wave. The guard waved back. He was in.

“For the entire summer,” Spielberg remembers, “I dressed in my suit and hung out with the directors and writers [including Silvers, who knew the kid wasn’t a studio employee, but winked at the deception]. I even found an office that wasn’t being used, and became a squatter. I bought some plastic tiles and put my name in the building directory: Steven Spielberg, Room 23C.”

It paid off for everyone. Ten years later, the 28-year-old Spielberg directed Jaws, which took in $470 million, then the highest-grossing movie of all time. Dozens of films and awards have followed because Steven Spielberg knew what his teachers didn’t — talent is in the eyes of the filmmaker.

[Side Note: I have always been a big fan of him. Love this story. Spielberg just did a movie that depicted some of his childhood that was very interesting to see. It gives you a better sense of him as a boy and his creative directions. It was a bit slow, but very real in the sense of seeing another side to him and his journey. The movie is called, “The Fablemans”]

“You’re Studying Dirt”

By Fran Lostys

Dr. Judah Folkman keeps a reproduction of a 1903 New York Times article in his archives. In it two physics professors explain why airplanes could not possibly fly. The article appeared just three months before the Wright brothers split the air at Kitty Hawk.

In the early 1970s, Folkman proposed an idea in cancer research that did not fit what scientists “knew” to be true: that tumors did not generate new blood vessels to “feed” themselves and grow. He was convinced that they did. But colleagues kept telling him, “You’re studying dirt,” meaning his project was futile science.

Folkman disregarded the catcalls of the research community. For two decades, he met with disinterest or hostility as he pursued his work in angiogenesis, the study of the growth of new blood vessels. At one research convention, half the audience walked out. “He’s only a surgeon,” he heard someone say.

But he always believed that his work might help stop the growth of tumors, and might help find ways to grow blood vessels where they were needed — like around clogged arteries in the heart.

Folkman and his colleagues discovered the first angiogenesis inhibitors in the 1980s. Today more than 100,000 cancer patients are benefiting from the research he pioneered. His work is now recognized as being on the forefront in the fight to cure cancer.    

“There is a fine line between persistence and obstinacy,” Folkman says. “I have come to realise the key is to choose a problem that is worth persistent effort.”

Inspiring Stories of Famous People Who Achieved Their Dreams

World’s Fastest Indian

Burt Munro’s Dream made into a movie,  The World’s Fastest Indian, Anthony Hopkins plays the true story of New Zealander Burt Munro, a man who never let the dreams of youth fade. After a lifetime perfecting his classic 1920 Indian motorcycle, Munro sets off from New Zealand to test his bike at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

With meager funds and scarce resources, but a heart full of hope and lofty dreams, legendary New Zealand motorcycle racer Burt Munro resigned into his shelter in 1948 to soup up his motorcycles, saying “I’ll never give up until I’ve had a good run.” He kept true to his words, as he later emerged to have even more than just a good run. Munro returned to the track as a speed monster. Spurred on by his awesomely modified motorcycles, he set and reset several speed records on some of the world’s most famous tracks. Notably, while the Indian Scout remained his most iconic motorcycle. Raised on a New Zealand farm . Got bored, so he started tinkering and was very excited about the biking industry. Started working on bikes and then crushing records.

I hope these stories have inspired you to have an even brighter day!

Peace. Love and Light to you. -H

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