Aron Ralston. Some of you may have heard of the name, but I think more of you have heard his story. Ralston, an avid outdoorsman and thrill seeker, was on a hike in Utah’s Bluejohn Canyon when a boulder pinned his arm against a narrow section of the path. Nobody knew where he had gone and there was almost no chance he would be rescued. He was literally caught between a rock and a hard place. For five days he was stuck in that position before he mustered up the strength and mental fortitude to cut his arm off with a pocket knife. During this moment he battled many thoughts and is quoted as saying the biggest challenge was “maintaining [his] motivation”. However, he also notes that the way he was able to muster up the courage and “gumption” to finally cut off his arm was by finding “something that’s worth the pain of life”, which in the end was his family. He is now an avid public speaker and conservationist, using his story to inspire others to push through life’s hurdles despite any challenges they may face.
Robert Downey Jr. Many of you know him as Iron Man and the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But, he wasn’t always the heroic billionaire, playboy, philanthropist we all know and love. As a child, he was surrounded by drugs and was introduced to marijuana at the age of six by his father. The two would bond over drugs and Downey later explained that “it was like him trying to express his love for me is the only way he knew how”, this bond would push Downey down a path of self-destruction and substance abuse. Despite his success in acting, winning awards, and reviving T.V. show ratings, his off-camera life was in shambles. He was arrested multiple times on drug-related charges. After cycling in and out of prison and rehab for years he had lost everything. His wife, at the time, left him, he was fired from his acting jobs and was on the verge of bankruptcy. He finally realized that he needed to seriously change to save himself and began to commit to a full recovery. He credits his new wife, Susan Levin, for getting him through that tough phase in his life. His family and his will to be better pulled him through one of the toughest times in his life. The two are happily married with two children, and RDJ is now one of the most successful entertainers of our generation.
Krystal Cantu. The year is 2013, Cantu had just landed a very prestigious corporate job in San Antonio and she couldn’t be happier. However, later that year her whole world turned upside down. As she was on her way to visit her family one of her rear tires popped and her car rolled, causing serious inujries to Cantu. Despite the immense pain and trauma, she continued to fight hroughout the entire crash to stay conscnoius. As she was taken by first responders she was informed that her arm would have to be amputated. She received call after call from her mother, but despite the news she kept assurin her mom that she would be okay. Inspired by the family members she was surrounded by she endured the treatment and procedures. She ended up leaving the hospital 3 days after the amputation and went right to the gym. She became an overnight sensation in the crossfit world and even became a sponsored athlete. She now lives to inspire others and believes she was left on this Earth to “show others the importance of never giving up”.
All of these individuals have endured pain and hardship that most of us can’t comprehend, yet they found a way to love life and live life with passion. They found a way to wake up every morning, inspired and motivated despite their unbelievable circumstances. They each found their “why”. I hope you all are able to take something away from each of their stories, I sure did and I challenge you all to live life with more vigor to truly explore your “whys” in life.