You’ve got a dream, don’t you? A big one? I imagine everyone does, something that they want with all of their heart, but they give up on it because it seems impossible. Well, what’s yours?
Is it a childhood dream of yours, to be a writer or an artist recognized worldwide? Is it having money enough to support yourself easily and still have lots to spare? Is it being fit and strong, or just physically able to not keel over after going up a few flights of stairs?
You know, my dream is writing, horror specifically, although I do enjoy writing these articles. What I want is to create writings that invoke strong emotions in people, really make them think and wonder. I want to move people with my words, and I want to be one of the best writers that ever was.
The problem with that is, it seems impossible to me right now. I mean, who am I to believe that I could achieve something so huge as becoming one of the best writers that ever lived?
But I have hope, that I can do it, be great at what I do. Maybe I won’t be the best, but I still think I can make it up there. And there’s a reason for that.
First of all, I want that dream to come true more than anything, and so I’m determined to do so. But also, I have hope that I can do it because of people like Wilma Rudolph, who were determined and hardworking, and managed to achieve the impossible.
But who is Wilma Rudolph and what did she do?
Well, Ms. Wilma Rudolph was named the fastest woman in the world in 1960 for her record-breaking speeds during that season’s Summer Olympics, despite her previous, severe disadvantages.
Ms. Rudolph had quite the inspirational life story, and I think there’s a lot to be learned from her on achieving the impossible.
So, in light of the upcoming Summer Olympics, let’s get right into it.
Cursed at Age Four
Wilma Goldean Rudolph was born on June 23, 1940 in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee to Ed and Blanche Rudolph. Fun fact, Wilma was the 20th of 22 children born to Ed Rudolph over his 2 marriages.
But going back to the story, Wilma didn’t come from the greatest of circumstances. Her father was a porter that worked on the railroads, her mother was a maid, and at the age of four Wilma contracted polio, a disease of the central nervous system that often causes developmental problems in children, along with pneumonia and scarlet fever.
Her illnesses almost killed her, but she survived, and her left leg was rendered utterly useless as a by-product of her polio.
Now, you’re wondering, how could Ms. Rudolph have possibly become fastest woman in the world in 1960 if her left leg wasn’t good?
Just please bear with me, I’m getting there.
You see, the doctors recommended routine massage therapy to strengthen Wilma’s leg and Mrs. Rudolph, her mother, made sure to get it to her, taking her to get heat and water therapy every week and teaching the older kids to do it at least four times a day.
The therapy helped Wilma regain strength in her left leg, but her rehabilitation didn’t stop there.
When Wilma turned five, the doctors fitted her with a leg brace that she was expected to wear all the time, from morning to night. She absolutely hated the thing because it was an obvious sign that she had a physical problem.
So, when her parents weren’t around, she would remove the brace and try to walk without a limp.
She was determined more than anything to walk normally again, and so she kept driven, saying later in her autobiography, “From that day on [when she walked normally], people were going to start separating me from that brace, start thinking about me differently, start saying that Wilma is a healthy kid, just like the rest of them.”
And Thus, a Sprinter Was Born
And, it was with this kind of training and therapy, that at age eleven, Wilma was able to walk normally on her own again.
But it wasn’t just that. You see, she not only walked but soon began to outrun her peers, “… challenging every boy in the neighborhood at jumping, running, and everything,” by the time she was twelve.
And it was from there that Wilma went on to play basketball in her first year of high school and later join the track team where she ran five different events, and managed to win all of them in twenty different races.
And from there, Rudolph went on to be the fastest woman in the world in 1960 setting records in the 100 and 200 meter dashes and becoming the first woman to win three gold medals in track and field in a single Olympics.
Life Lessons with Wilma Rudolph
So you know Wilma’s story now. And you wish you had her grit, don’t you? Well, what if I told you, you could be just as determined and successful as Ms. Wilma Rudolph? It’s true.
And here’s why:
You see, the doctors said that Wilma Rudolph might never walk again. They all believed that. But she didn’t just walk. She sprinted, faster than almost anyone in the world.
And she did that because she absolutely hated her leg brace, she did it because she wanted to be strong, not weak like the brace suggested. She didn’t want to show that she had any physical problem, so she hated her brace with every fiber of her being. And she walked without the brace, and because she believed in her ability to do it, persevered on through all the pain and frustration that must’ve come with that.
You see, Wilma Rudolph was fueled by her anger at her problem, her leg brace. She was fueled by the anger that came from not being able to walk just like everybody else, from the pain of having to endure such an obvious physical problem that everyone always knew about.
So she was determined to get that leg brace off, no matter how impossible such a feat seemed to be, always gathering the courage to continue on through her unwavering belief that she could do anything.
And look where that got her.
So, if you want to be like Ms. Wilma Rudolph, you’ve just got to do two things, believe in yourself more than anything in the world, and find that anger and that pain that comes from not having achieved your goals, and use it.
If you want to be fit, you’ve go to take the pain you feel when you run up a flight of stairs and find yourself too winded to move.
If you want to be successful at your passion, be it writing, or gardening, or anything else, you’ve got to use the pain you feel looking at your life and never feeling happy because you know you’d much rather be following your dreams.
If you want to be rich, you’ve got to use the pain you feel when you have to worry about how you’re going to pay your next bill, or the pain you feel when you know you can’t afford that car, or house, or simple item you’ve been dreaming of for so long.
You’ve got to use that pain that you feel when you don’t have whatever it is you want to give yourself the courage to carry on and persevere. You’ve got to use that pain and know in your heart that whatever you’re going through on this journey to success will be completely worth it in the end, because there is nothing worse than the pain you’ll feel when you’re miserable and depressed because you couldn’t achieve your goals.
And you’ve got to believe in yourself, because no matter how many times you fail, if you just keep going, you can do it. Just look at Wilma Rudolph. She believed in herself more than anything else, and look at just how far she managed to go.
So use that pain that you feel knowing you’re not where you want to be, believe in yourself no matter what, and always strive to be like Ms. Wilma Rudolph who had determination and confidence like no other.
If you can do that, then there’s nothing that can stand in the way of your success for long.
A Few Words of Wisdom
So, with that, to aid you in gaining your own incredible self-confidence and determination, here are some quotes of Wilma Rudolph’s that I’d like to share with you:
When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult to overcome.
This sort of unbreakable confidence Ms. Rudolph had was quite remarkable, seeing as how much she had to go through before she got to be the fastest woman in the world.
Yet, somehow she managed to hold onto this belief in herself above all, and this belief is what we all need to finally reach our dreams.
Just think about it. How many of us doubt ourselves each and every day? How many of us give up on our dreams because they seem just too impossible? How many of us truly believe in ourselves?
Whatever your answer may be, I believe that we all should, believe in ourselves that is.
Because, if you manage to have that unchangeable belief in yourself and your ability to achieve anything, then it becomes true that there is no mountain too high and no trouble too difficult for you to overcome.
Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.
In defeat, true strength is revealed.
That is true, because in good times, when we’re winning, when we’re on top of the world with nothing to pull us down, we’re all able to continue on easily. Why wouldn’t we be? We’re victorious and have nothing to stop us.
It’s when we’re failing, when everything is going wrong and it seems like nothing is going to get better that we find ourselves faced with the choice of either pushing through or giving up. It’s not easy to choose to continue on when our lives are spiraling downwards.
But we have to, because if we want to get anywhere in life, if we want to achieve our dreams, we’re just going to have to pick ourselves up again and go on to win.
And if we can do that, there’s no doubt that we will be champions one day.
I ran and ran and ran every day, and I acquired this sense of determination, this sense of spirit that I would never, never give up, no matter what else happened.
When you are passionate about what you do, when you want more than anything to succeed at it, that sense of sheer determination you acquire is one of the most important traits you could ever have, as because of it, you are willing to fight and fight until you have finally succeeded.
You are willing to struggle and make your way up, at any cost, because no matter what, you love to do this, and you have to have your dreams held tightly in your grasp.
And so, hold this passion dearly to you, and continue on with never lose that thought that, not for anything, not for the world, would you ever consider giving this up.
“I can’t” are two words that have never been a part of my vocabulary. I believe in me more than anything in this world.
This attitude, of “I believe in myself more than anything” is truly amazing, because with this attitude Ms. Rudolph achieved something that seemed so impossible.
She became the fastest woman in the world in 1960 and the first woman to win three gold track and field medals in one Olympics, all because she believed that there was nothing in the world she couldn’t do.
That just goes to show how much you can accomplish when you believe in your ability to do things. And I think that kind of mentality is something we all should strive to have, because if we could think like that, there really would be nothing in the world we couldn’t do.
Believe me, the reward is not so great without the struggle. The triumph can’t be had without the struggle.
If we did not know sadness, there would be no meaning to our happiness. If we did not know defeat, there would be no meaning to our triumph. And if we did not know struggle there would be no meaning to our victory.
So do not lament that you must struggle to reach your dreams, look forward and know that this struggle will make your victory oh so much sweeter.
And in the end, the triumph cannot be had without the struggle, so simply continue on, and hold tight to your determination and your goals, as one day, out of this battle to triumph, each and every last one of your dreams will be realized.
It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s all a matter of discipline. I was determined to discover what life held for me beyond the inner-city streets.
No matter what it is you’re trying to do, and no matter how impossible it seems right now, it’s all just a matter of discipline.
You see, nothing in the world is truly impossible. Really all you need is determination and dedication to put in the effort and never stop striving for greatness.
And if you can keep up the discipline to keep working each and every day, to keep trying to be the best, even when you’re failing and all you want to do is give up, if you can manage that, then there is nothing in the whole wide world that you can’t accomplish.
When I was going through my transition of being famous, I tried to ask God, why was I here? What was my purpose? Surely, it wasn’t just to win three gold medals. There has to be more to this life than that.
Any goal you have, fame, wealth, status, recognition for your hard work, you’ve got to remember that those things aren’t all there is to life.
You see, the meaning of life, is subjective, it changes based on who you ask. But to me, the meaning of life, is to be happy.
Above it all, above the recognition and the money and the fame, is one’s happiness. Because, if you’re not happy, then really what is the point to it all?
Exactly. So don’t just get drawn into the lures of money and awards, no matter what it is you do in life, or where you end up, always remember to do what makes you happy, because if you can be happy in your life, however it ends up, then that’s all there is to it. Nothing else really matters.
And in Conclusion…
And in conclusion, I think Olympic stories are inspiring because of the insane amount of grit and confidence one needs to achieve that level of athletic prowess, but it’s especially inspiring in the case of Wilma Rudolph, who seemed to have all the odds stacked against her.
Even as a little kid, Rudolph had a strange sort of resolve and determination that not very many people ever learn to have. And that’s what made her able to face life head on, never giving up. She believed in herself and she believed in her ability to achieve more than anything.
And that’s why I admire her, and I’d love to have her kind of grit and determination.
So, I’d say, if you’d also like to be anything like Ms. Rudolph in her discipline and confidence, take your favorite one of her quotes and put it where you can always see it, to help you to continue on when things get tough.
And if you’re going to take anything away from this long winded article of mine, take away this:
If you want to achieve the impossible with your passions, you’ve got to have grit, you’ve got to have determination, you’ve got to persevere, and you’ve got to believe in yourself more than anything else in the world.
And if you can do that, there is nothing stopping you from reaching your dreams.
What compelled you to read this article about Ms. Rudolph? And what dream is it that you’re aspiring to? I’d really love to know in the comment section down below.