I love me a good fairy tale. Who doesn’t?
Almost everywhere you look today there’s an inspiring story with a happy ending – usually a-rags-to-riches narrative of sheer human determination, pristine perseverance, and a drive to overcome adversity. We all love those stories. I dare say sometimes we live for them – secretly hoping and dreaming that our own lives would one day miraculously transform.Christopher Paul Gardner (born February 9, 1954 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is a self-made millionaire, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and philanthropist who, during the early 1980s, walked San Francisco’s streets homeless, pushing his toddler son and their belongings in a stroller. Gardner’s book of memoirs, The Pursuit of Happyness, was published in May 2006. leading to the major motion picture, The Pursuit of Happyness, directed by Gabriele Muccino and released by Columbia Pictures on December 15, 2006. Gardner was valued at over $165 million USD in 2008. Oprah Winfrey (born Orpah Gail Winfrey; January 29, 1954) is an American television host, actress, producer, and philanthropist, best known for her self-titled, multi-award winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was once the world’s only black billionaire. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world. Oprah’s net worth stands at around $2.7 billion USD as of 2011. Juliani (born Julius Owino; in the sprawling eastern suburb of Dandora, Nairobi) grew up as part of a large family, with one sister and five brothers. Dandora, Nairobi’s main sewage treatment works and listed by the Blacksmith Institute as one of the most polluted sites in the world also served as the spiritual home of many Kenyan hip-hop icons and musicians such as Kalamashaka, Ukoo Fulani, and Juliani. He is now a multi-award winning artiste both in Kenya and internationally, globetrotting to support social causes at the UN Conference on Climate Change, World Vision Peace Tour, and the UN Millennium Campaign for MDG’s, among others. Juliani’s net worth grows daily.
Three life stories, three worlds apart – same happy ending, hope!
The thing though about fairy tales is that it is hard to fully understand the true measure of sacrifice before the moments of glory. Unmentioned many times are the trying moments, like when Gardner’s girlfriend left him and his young son just after he’d spent 10 days in jail; or when a victim of sexual abuse, Winfrey gave birth at the age of 14, to a boy who died shortly after; or even when Juliani struggled to find an audience for his music when everyone told him he couldn’t get out of the ghetto.
— The men and women whose lives we admire share another common element – firm resolve. They never gave up, never! So why should you?
True hope dwells on the possible, even when life seems to be a plot written by someone who wants to see how much adversity we can overcome True hope responds to the real world, to real life; it is an active effort.
~ Walter Anderson