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6 Inspiring People Who Found Light In The Darkness

They say that no matter how difficult the situation, there will always be a silver lining, sunshine after the rain, light in the darkness; you get the point. Of course, in the moment, it’s not exactly easy to find the bright side of things.

  • Related: 23 Negative Words From A More Optimistic Perspective

  • That’s why it all comes down to mindset.

    You gain a lot more from your struggles when you view them as opportunities for growth instead of obstacles to bring you down. But don’t just take it from me; take it from these 6 inspiring people who know about the value of resilience all too well:

    1. Bethany Hamilton

    If you’ve seen the movie Soul Surfer, you know that strong is an understatement to describe Bethany Hamilton.

    Bethany began surfing at a young age, and by 1998, she was already competing professionally. At 8 years old, Bethany came first place in the Rell Sun Menehune surfing competition. And she continued to achieve great success from her surfing abilities in the years that followed. However, tragedy struck in 2003 when Bethany lost her left arm to a 14-foot tiger shark.

    While this seemed to be the end of a 13-year-old girl's career as a rising surf star, she refused to let it hold her back from doing what she loved.

    Bethany Hamilton - 6 Inspiring People Who Found Light in the Darkness from Ocio Lifestyle

    One month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water. Within 2 years, she won her first National title, and in 2007, she realized her dream of being a professional surfer. Since then, her story has been told in a New York Times best selling autobiography as well as the previously mentioned film, Soul Surfer.

    Currently, Bethany is involved in multiple charitable efforts, including her own foundation, Friends of Bethany. This foundation reaches out to amputees and youth, encouraging a broken world by offering hope to overcome through Jesus Christ.

    Motivational Quotes from Bethany Hamilton:

    • Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That's what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.
    • I don't need easy. I just need possible.

    2. Samuel Walton

    As a young man, Samuel Walton learned the importance of hard work. To make ends meet for his family, he had numerous chores: He milked the family cow, bottled the surplus, and drove it to customers. Then, he delivered Columbia Daily Tribune newspapers on a paper route, and occasionally, he sold magazine subscriptions.

    But it didn’t stop there.

    During college, he worked many odd jobs, including waiting tables in exchange for meals. After Walton graduated, he joined the US Army during World War II. Afterwards, he left the army at the age of 26 and started managing a variety store. He then took a loan to buy his very first store, and thanks to simple innovations in business, he soon bought his second store.

    And as we know, the light in the darkness that he found after facing adversity all his life never seemed to dim from that point on.

    The first true Wal-Mart opened on July 2, 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    Samuel Walton - 6 Inspiring People Who Found Light in the Darkness from Ocio Lifestyle

    The Fruits of His Labor

    As a young man, Samuel Walton learned the importance of hard work. To make ends meet for his family, he had numerous chores: He milked the family cow, bottled the surplus, and drove it to customers. Then, he delivered Columbia Daily Tribune newspapers on a paper route, and occasionally, he sold magazine subscriptions.

    Samuel Walton went from struggling financially to being one of the most successful American entrepreneurs–the owner of the giant Wal-Mart supermarket chain we all know and love today. At the time of his death in 1992, he had 1,960 Wal-Mart stores, employed 380,000 people, and earned annual sales of around $50 billion.

    Motivational Quotes from Samuel Walton:

    • And like most overnight successes, it was about twenty years in the making.
    • Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom.

    3. Vera Wang

    Who would've known that this New York fashion designer first wanted to be an Olympic ice-skating prodigy? In an interview with The Cut, Wang explained: “As hard as I tried and as hard as I worked, I never really achieved the level that I wished. It was a very hard realization that since I was in my late teens, I was never going to get better. I wasn't going to make the Olympic team, and there were younger skaters coming up. So I quit. And I think quitting was a sign to me that I failed. I didn’t know if I was ever going to be able to find something else in my life that meant quite as much."

    Little did she know, there were far greater things in store for her.

    But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

    Later on, Vera Wang went to school in Paris, and this is what pushed her to move on to fashion as a career. She was discovered by Vogue fashion director Frances Stein while she was working as an Yves Saint Laurent salesgirl. About a year and a half later when Wang graduated, Stein hired her. It seemed to be her lucky break–her light in the darkness, if you will.

    Yet Another Turning Point

    After 17 years of working at Vogue, Wang realized that what she was doing there was never going to change. Her career didn't look like it was going any further. She wasn’t in line to get the editor-in-chief job.  So after investing yet another 15 years in a career she was extremely passionate about, she left.

    "Each time was very, very painful, to make a decision to leave. But I didn’t feel like I had reached the summit, the absolute top. It wasn’t like I was insanely ambitious, but in my own mind, I always fell short. And I think these two events were very influential for my outlook on life now.

    And what I do now couldn’t have happened without the first two. I had to constantly reinvent myself.

    No matter how bad things get, no matter how discouraged I feel, no matter how much of a failure I feel like—and that applies to motherhood, friendship, everything—I try to believe there’s a reason, there’s a process, and there’s a learning experience. Maybe the journey is where I gained wisdom, where I gained confidence, a sense of reality, a sense of creativity. None of this has been easy.

    A Skater's Wisdom

    There’s an old skater’s saying: Don’t be afraid of falling. It’s 90 percent falling — otherwise, you don’t master anything. You might hurt your ass. Or break your ankle. Or crack a rib. It’s the same thing in life. There are other places to go. Other things to try."

    Vera Wang - 6 Inspiring People Who Found Light in the Darkness from Ocio Lifestyle

    And looking back, all of her supposed shortcomings ultimately led her to where she is now: happy and successful as the head designer of her own brand. What began as a single bridal boutique into a fashion and lifestyle empire with an overall retail value of over $1 billion.

    Motivational Quotes from Vera Wang:

    • Don't be afraid of failing. I think not trying is worse than failing. Have the courage to try. Otherwise, what are we here for?
    • Things that came before, people and things and experiences–that does mean something to me. It doesn’t mean I don’t embrace the new, but I don’t forget the past, either.

    4. Walt Disney

    Of course, this list wouldn't be complete without the man who brought color to our childhood: Walt Disney.

    Now, Disney didn't become successful on his first try–not by a long shot.

    On the contrary, he was a simple boy raised on a farm who used to draw pictures for his neighbors for money. He was the cartoonist for the school newspaper, but aside from that, no one really recognized his potential early on.

    At age 22, Walt Disney was fired from a Missouri newspaper for "not being creative enough." One of his early ventures, called Laugh-o-gram Studios, went bankrupt. After this failure, he decided to move to Hollywood for which he sold his camera in July 1923. He went to many studios, but nothing worked out.

    Eventually, he asked his brother Roy and his friend cartoonist Ub Iwerks to join him, and they together began the Disney Brother’s Studio.

    The Breakthrough

    When Disney conceptualized the idea of Mickey Mouse, everything turned around. His beloved creation became the most popular animated character in the industry. Animations then turned into reality with the release of Disney toys, caps and dresses which became popular and revolutionized the cartoon industry.

    Ironically, the man whose dreams were once crushed is now responsible for making millions of dreams come true around the world.

    Walt Disney - 6 Inspiring People Who Found Light in the Darkness from Ocio Lifestyle

    Motivational Quotes from Walt Disney:

    • All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
    • Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better.

    5. Jack Ma

    No one does stubborn like Jack Ma.

    After Ma graduated in 1988 on his fifth try, the Hangzhou native struggled to find work. He was rejected by more companies than most of us can probably stomach: 30. If that wasn't discouraging enough, Harvard Business School denied all 10 of his postgraduate applications. Damn.

    However, on a 1995 trip to visit friends in America, Ma’s luck finally changed.

    After being introduced to the internet, he managed to raise $20,000 to build an online directory for Chinese businesses. To do this, he took on additional various web development projects for Chinese companies and government organizations.

    The Birth of an empire

    Utilizing these experiences, he returned to China in 1999 and created the online marketplace Alibaba. This company went on to raise $25 billion at its IPO stock exchange offering in 2014–the highest amount of any floated company. Ever. Ma is now one of the richest people in the world, with an estimated personal net worth of nearly $43 billion.

    How's that for persistent?

    Jack Ma - 6 Inspiring People Who Found Light in the Darkness from Ocio Lifestyle

    Motivational Quotes from Jack Ma:

    • Help young people. Help small guys. Because small guys will be big. Young people will have the seeds you bury in their minds, and when they grow up, they will change the world.
    • We are never in lack of money. We lack people with dreams, who can die for those dreams.

    6. Ellen DeGeneres

    Yup, even this bubbly entertainer had her fair share of dark days.

    She may always end her show by telling us to be kind to one another, but didn't always experience that same kindness. After her character on her 1997 sitcom Ellen came out, she received backlash in the public eye. Ultimately, this led her to fall into depression, W Magazine reported.

    What helped her stand out, though, was her ability to find the light.

    Despite her challenges, she told the magazine that she was grateful for the experiences that led her to where she is now.

    An Abundance of Gratitude

    "I thought if I could find a way to be famous, people would love me. And then you get all that stuff —and I worked really hard to earn all that— and it sounds crazy, but I got the biggest, most wonderful blessing I could get, which was I lost my show, and I lost my entire career, and I lost everything for three years ... But I got to learn how to sit back and watch other people and learn what judgment was and have compassion.

    And learn that not only was I strong enough to make it in the first place, but I was strong enough to come back and make it again.

    How lucky am I to have learned that? That took a lot. I wanted to crawl up in a ball and climb in a hole and hide forever; I was embarrassed. That's why I look at it as a blessing."

    Now, Ellen is one of America's most well-known comedians–a prominent role model to people from all walks of life, all over the world.

    Ellen Degeneres - 6 Inspiring People Who Found Light in the Darkness from Ocio Lifestyle

    Motivational Quotes from Ellen DeGeneres:

    • It’s our challenges and obstacles that give us layers of depth and make us interesting. Are they fun when they happen? No. But they are what make us unique.
    • True beauty is not related to what color your hair is or what color your eyes are. True beauty is about who you are as a human being, your principles, your moral compass.

    And the list doesn't stop at these 6 people. There are millions–yes, millions–of people who saw a negative situation as an opportunity for growth, and eventually turned their lives around.

    Will you be one of them?