In a book titled Cradles of Eminence, the home backgrounds of 300 highly successful people were investigated. These 300 people had made it to the top. They were men and women who would be recognized as brilliant in their fields. The list includes Franklin D. Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill, Albert Schwitzer, Clara Barton, Ghandi, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud.
The intense investigation into their early home lives uncovered some surprising findings:
-3/4 of them, as children, had been riddled with poverty, broken homes, or difficult parents, who were rejecting, over-possessive, or domineering.
-74 out of the 85 writers of fiction or drama, and 16 out of the 20 poets came from homes where, as children, they witnessed tense psychological dramas played out by their parents.
-over 1/4 of them suffered physical handicaps, such as blindness, deafness, or crippled limbs.
They had every excuse to disengage with life. But instead, they lived lives of impact. Because they had a strong why, or purpose, which drew them forward even if the road wasn't wide or smooth. The greatest lives inspire us to live a life of impact, and their words illustrate this call to action:
"To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily; not to dare is to lose oneself."
"If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?"
"Be the change you want to see in the world."
"Here's to the crazy ones, the rebels, the trouble-makers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. Because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."
To live a life that matters, you have to start. Start with yourself. Your best story begins when you take an active role in it. Stop watching, start living. Not only will that change your life and help others. It will give you the credibility and the moral authority to inspire and partner with others to make a difference.
You were made to make a difference. Start today.