Grr! I Ain’t Beaten Yet!

Man Survives Being Cut In Two!

I ain't beaten yet wop logo 3Hey y’all! In my career I’ve met a lot of achievers, both famous and not so famous and I loved collecting their stories. One thing they all had in common was an absolute blind refusal to give up when the load became too heavy.
The ability to pick oneself off the ground…(yet again!) and dust off the seat of our pants is in all of us. If you are experiencing tough times this little series of stories is for you. For some folk, who seem to have been handed it all on a plate, their stories will surprise you!

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WHO? :  Truman Duncan

IS? :  Survivor of horrific accident.

SAID? :  ‘Life is good. Life goes on.’

On June 25th 2006 Truman Duncan was working as a railroad switchman in Cleburne Texas. He lost his footing, fell off a moving train and was left hanging onto the car. He was desperately trying to run backward and match the speed of the train when inevitably he was sucked under the carriage and pulled under. The wheels of the train ran over him, slicing him diagonally in half through his pelvis.

 

‘I Need 911.  I’m Cut In Two.’

For reasons unknown Duncan did not pass out from pain or blood loss and was able to listen to 20,000 pounds of dead weight slice him in two. In reply he pulled out his phone and called for Truman+Duncanassistance. The recording of his 911 call reveals a strangely calm but slightly breathless Duncan asking for help as he has been ‘cut in two.’

Life Today

Despite a great amount of blood loss Duncan was able to call his family whilst he was being extricated and swap endearments with them, not knowing if he would make it. But make it he did. He spent 3 hours in surgery having his wounds cleaned of gravel and dirt followed by 23 more surgeries over 4 months. He spent 3 weeks in a coma.

Truman today is ‘confined’ to a wheelchair but says he pretty much does what he did before albeit a little slower. He plays baseball with his son, he mows the lawn, he swims and has built a patio in his backyard. He also returned to his job at the rail yard.

 ~

 Grrr! Why YOU ain’t beat yet!

You are not beaten because….wow…..well…..where do I start??!! Duncan refused to be beat! His attitude was almost as calm as ‘yeah I’m cut in two, but I have family that needs me so therefore I’ll be going nowhere any time soon!’
The doctors are at a loss as to why he didn’t just bleed to death and have also put it down to his sheer decision to survive. The sheer audacity of his refusal to give in and fall asleep was remarkable. He had strong reasons. His family.

To me it says that crazy things are possible, so stay strong, refuse to surrender and let good things happen. This is one of those profiles that is pretty tough to beat and therefore gives us mere mortals perspective in our own lives and strength for whatever we may be going through.

 

 

Strength Or Weakness Is A Choice

I ain't beaten yet wop logo 3Hey y’all! In my career I’ve met a lot of achievers, both famous and not so famous and I loved collecting their stories. One thing they all had in common was an absolute blind refusal to give up when the load became too heavy.
The ability to pick oneself off the ground…(yet again!) and dust off the seat of our pants is in all of us. If you are experiencing tough times this little series of stories is for you. For some folk, who seem to have been handed it all on a plate, their stories will surprise you!

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WHO? : Lisa Hoodless / Charlene Lunnon

ARE? : Best friends and survivors.

SAID? : ‘It’s not the worst thing that has happened to me.’

 

Taken

When British children Lisa Hoodless and Charlene Lunnon were ten years old they were kidnapped by convicted paedophille, Alan Hopkinson, tied up and held prisoner whilst being repeatedly raped in sessions lasting up to ten or more hours. The UK was gripped by their double kidnap in 2000 and their story is revisited every time something shamefully similar happens such as the story of American paedophile victim Megan Kanka or Sarah Payne in the UK.

The girls were going to school in East Sussex and their abducter had nearly hit the young Hoodless with his car. When he jumped out to check on her, it was quiet and the opportunity presented itself, so the paedophille grabbed the young girl and proceeded to cram her into his boot. Lunnon in shock and not wishing to run off and desert her friend, had stood still giving Hopkinson a double kidnap opportunity, which he took. Lying together in the boot the girls comforted each other convinced that they would be killed. It says a lot about our society that at the age of ten Lunnon already knew that there was a sexual motive behind their abduction.

 

Rape Sessions

The girls eventually ended up at Hopkinson’s dirty flat where they were both tied up. He would then choose one or the other to take to his bedroom and rape for lengthy periods at a time whilst the other girl could hear the crying pleas for the pervert to stop. He had told them about an imaginary mad man that lived next door with his dog and threatened to introduce them as a means to keep them frightened and compliant.

 

The Survival Plot

The youngsters even plotted to kill him and when he left would searched in vain for a knife, but they had all been removed as had all the door handles.

 

The Kill Plot

Suddenly, on the third day of captivity, Hopkinson seemed to acquiesce to their constant requests for freedom and allowed them to have their first bath, returning their school uniforms to them.

He drove them to a cliff with the intention of pushing them off and Lunnon remembers being dangled close to the cliff as he laughed. Then, unpredictably, at the last minute, he changed his mind deciding that he would like more time with them and drove them back to his flat.

 

The Capture

Hopkinson’s capture was as bizarre as the man himself. Following a complaint from neighbours about his behaviour towards their children, the police had knocked on his door to follow up on the story. Hopkinson, thinking that the jig was up quietly opened the door and informed the police that he had the two missing girls in his front room.

 

Grrr! Why YOU ain’t beat yet!

 

You are not beaten because very early on, following their rescue, the two young girls made a decision that they themselves would not be beaten or defined by their experience. Today they live relatively normal lives with their partners and child bereft of self pity or any unnecessary over analysis of what happened. Indeed the thing they seem to have deplored as much as the kidnap was the therapy that was forced upon both of them!

HoodlessLunnon2Children have amazingly innate coping mechanisms that I believe is underestimated by adults. Part of that mechanism is to just get on with the normal stuff. They have a great ability to normalize situations.

By having to attend counseling they were repeatedly brought back to an event that to them was behind them, why bring it back again? Indeed many NLP practitioners like myself believe that if something was so bad the first time why relive it? The young girls didn’t need an adults idea of closure or repetitive over-analysis, they needed and wanted to play with their friends and toys.

Children Can Teach

Horses for courses, but it is worth investigating if by constantly identifying oneself with a negative period or an illness or an occurrence, you are not dis-allowing yourself to simply move forward…like a child would – if allowed.

It is interesting to note also that today they feel somewhat apologetic that they are not able to satisfy other people’s needs for them to behave as victims by breaking down and sobbing every time they are asked to recall the incident. Indeed they have chosen to understand that they are much the better for it!

 

They are insistent that it is down to the individual to assign importance to the events in their lives. It is a choice. Lunnon gave the title quote in an interview with the Times saying in addition, “What happened, it’s not half my life, it’s not even that,” and she had clicked her fingers to emphasize how much significance she was awarding the event compared to the rest of her life, “It’s not the worst thing that has happened to me.”

 

Question:

Can we make a large elephant in our lives diminish to the size of a mouse by not affixing the expected (very modern poor me, me, me) drama to it, rendering it much more….‘copeful?’

 

 

Stephen Hawking

I ain't beaten yet wop logo 3Hey y’all! In my career I’ve met a lot of achievers, both famous and not so famous and I loved collecting their stories. One thing they all had in common was an absolute blind refusal to give up when the load became too heavy.
The ability to pick oneself off the ground…(yet again!) and dust off the seat of our pants is in all of us. If you are experiencing tough times this little series of stories is for you. For some folk, who seem to have been handed it all on a plate, their stories will surprise you!

_________________________________________________________________________________________

WHO? : Stephen Hawking

IS? : Professor, Physicist

SAID? : ‘I have had motor neurone disease for practically all my adult life. Yet it has not prevented me from having a very attractive family, and being successful in my work.  I have been lucky…it shows that one need not lose hope.’

Stephen Hawking is one of the most famous physicists on the world. In fact I would go as far as saying that he is the only one most of us could identify by name. He is a great candidate for the ‘Grrr! I Ain’t Beaten Yet’ trophy because he has not just lived with motor neurone disease he has positively ‘cocked a snook’ at it! (An english term for the five fingered salute!)

 

From Clumsy…

When Hawking was young he enjoyed the freedom and exuberance of any young boy. He admits to being clumsy but there were no other signs of what was to come. It was whilst he was at hawking 1university and he began to topple over unexpectedly every now and then that his father took him to get a check up.
…To A few Years To live

He describes an exploratory search while he was in hospital that did not immediately provide definite answers but the grey area that it did provide was not promising. He knew that he had an incurable disease and he was given no more than a couple of years to live.

 

Life Lived In The Present

He was ultimately left in limbo as he did not know how long he had to live and initially wondered about the point of getting deeply involved in his research projects. Fortunately for him this turned into a renewed appreciation for life lived in the present because that was all he was guaranteed. Of course that is the same for all of us, it’s just that most of us don’t appreciate that fact.

 

One Step In Front Of The Other

He started ‘brick building’ his life one piece at a time. He got married which meant that he had a new focus other than himself and a responsibility to provide for his wife and decided to get a job. hawking 2He applied for a fellowship at a college in Cambridge and was not only accepted, but as the years went by he found that as his value to the college increased, they were more than willing to accommodate his increasing disabilities and adapt the post to suit him.

 

The Famous Synthetic Voice

With the help of his wife and various live-in students and the occasional nurse they managed for many years, but in 1985, following a trip to Geneva, Hawking contracted pneumonia which was an enormous life threatening strain on his already compromised respiratory system. As a result he lost his faltering ability to speak and his voice was replaced by the American accented voice machine made famous by Hawking today.

The process of communicating with this voice synthesizer is arduous and long and on television much editing is done to make Hawking’s answers appear fluent but it has not stopped him writing best selling books and and giving speeches all over the world.

 

Grrr! Why YOU ain’t beat yet!

You are not beaten because of that old story of the poor, homeless bloke wondering the streets begging for food and handouts with no shoes and feeling very sorry for himself… until he met someone with no feet.
hawking3While Hawking was in hospital, as the doctors tried to ascertain what was wrong with him, he had watched a young boy that he knew die of leukaemia. In his words, “Clearly there were people who were worse off than me.”

Whenever he would feel sorry for himself he would remember how physically sick the boy had been and how he had suffered before he eventually died.

The great thing is noting how Hawking is able to talk about these knock out blows in his life as though he were discussing doing the gardening! It shows where he chose to place his focus. The emphasis was placed on what he wanted NOT what he had lost which explains why he has achieved so much.

Self pity my friends, not only takes up good living time but it enervates i.e it saps energy that you could be putting to plenty good use.

Question:

Do you need to resolve today to change your focus to what you want and where you want to get to and NOT the difficulties in getting there?

Conrad Hilton

I ain't beaten yet wop logo 3Hey y’all! In my career I’ve met a lot of achievers, both famous and not so famous and I loved collecting their stories. One thing they all had in common was an absolute blind refusal to give up when the load became too heavy.
The ability to pick oneself off the ground…(yet again!) and dust off the seat of our pants is in all of us. If you are experiencing tough times this little series of stories is for you. For some folk, who seem to have been handed it all on a plate, their stories will surprise you!

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WHO? : Conrad Hilton

IS? : Founder of Hilton Hotels (and Paris Hilton).

SAID? : ‘Success seems to be connected with action. Successful men keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.’

The name Hilton may elicit images of partying, dodgy sex videos and airhead behaviour but Paris Hilton’s great grandfather’s work some decades ago is responsible for her sometimes ubiquitous presence in the media today. Like previous examples, Conrad Hilton serves as another sparkling example of beating harsh personal and financial circumstances whether they are happenstance or self inflicted.

 

Empire Building

Hilton bought his first hotel in Texas 1919. He added to this by building his first hotel from scratch six years later. Another hotel opened in two more years and at least another three over the following decade. This rapid growth led to him forming the Hilton Hotels Corporation and because he was also expanding into areas such as credit cards and travel services he formed the Hilton International Company by 1948.

 

Empire Losing

During the Great Depression which swept through most of the 1930’s, Hilton’s nascent empire spiralled into debt and one by one he began losing his properties. He was unable to finish the new hotels he had started building and he was forced to sell off the ones already up and running.
Hilton however fought to be retained as the manager by the new owners of his hotel empire and he resolved to work hard to find his way out of his difficulties.

 

Empire Re-Building

Utilizing his upstanding reputation and the goodwill he had previously cultivated, (quite an important point), he was able to conradhiltonobtain the goods he needed on credit during the uncertain times to continue the smooth running of the corporation.

Slowly but surely by keeping tenuous hold of his interests he was able to work his way back into ownership of his own creation eventually buying all his hotels back and expanding his empire greater than it was before. In doing so he created the worlds first international hotel chain
…and Paris Hilton.

 

Grrr! Why YOU ain’t beat yet!

You are not beaten because seemingly once you have

1. A Plan

2. Focus

no circumstance will be able to thwart your purpose. Perhaps the greatest battle we have is with ourselves and our own self doubt.
Hilton was also able to do what so many of my featured profiles were able to do and that is ‘Keep His Eyes On The Prize’. How humbling do you imagine it was, going to work in your own ex-hotel as the manager rather than the grand owner? But the ‘shame’ of it was not his focus.

It Wasn’t Me!

It would have been really easy don’t you think for Hilton to consider himself the unluckiest man alive to have lost everything he had worked so hard to attain. He could have wallowed in his loss and perhaps turned to drink or drugs whilst revisiting the story of how he had lost everything to anyone in a bar who would listen or revolving it around in his head time and time again.

Or what about the perennial favourite of finding someone else to blame? Recognize this behaviour pattern? Sure you do! I do! Instead he placed his focus on getting his empire back and making it bigger, better and stronger than ever before.

A Foundation

Hilton also had a hidden weapon in his back pocket. His grounding in his Christian faith. It would have given him that mental and spiritual strength that would have been needed to get over the initial loss of his empire and see the future possibilities beyond his situation. Spiritual faith aligned with any denomination of your choice cannot be under estimated because although intangible and hard to quantify, it drives the mechanics of physical change that we are able to see. It’s lack of absolute definition is what makes its power potent and infinite because you can mould it’s power to suit your needs.

One Last Grrr!

Grrr! Okay no more excuses. You have a dream? A business, an artistic endeavour, a family to raise? Go get ’em tigers!

Blondie

I ain't beaten yet wop logo 3Hey y’all! In my career I’ve met a lot of achievers, both famous and not so famous and I loved collecting their stories. One thing they all had in common was an absolute blind refusal to give up when the load became too heavy.
The ability to pick oneself off the ground…(yet again!) and dust off the seat of our pants is in all of us. If you are experiencing tough times this little series of stories is for you. For some folk, who seem to have been handed it all on a plate, their stories will surprise you!

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WHO? : Blondie

IS? : A band

SAID? : ‘Music is wonderful’

Blondie’s story drew me to it not because it was one of those knock you off your feet type stories, but maybe because it isn’t. But it demonstrates something I talk about an awful lot. That is to never underestimate the role of luck and how to simply tread water with purpose whilst you are waiting for your break! Blondie became the most successful female headed band ever. In their heady career they clocked up seven no.1 singles and sold 30 million  albums.

 

Birthplaceblondie

Blondie’s birthplace was a grimy, acrid, smelly club called CBGB’s in New York City. This club was a haven for the burgeoning punk scene and brought forth some of the biggest names in punk music, such as Talking Heads and The Ramones.

Unappreciated

It was a wonderful place for young bands to rehearse their new songs and hone in on their instruments in front of a live audience. The trouble being that the audience although live were snootily unappreciative. The audience was made up of other bands who all thought that they were the coolest and the best and therefore a band could put on the performance of their lives and finish on a thrilling crescendo to the sound of an impatient cough and whistling tumbleweed.

blondie2
Oh No! Not A Woman!

When Debbie Harry and her band Blondie played there she broke the cool rule by being a female and being beautiful. Because of this the band were looked down on and never taken seriously. The guys were mesmerized, the intellectuals feigned disinterest and the women hated her! One such woman was singer Patti Smith.

 

Patti Smith

As an ‘interesting’ geeky type, Patti Smith was also the exception to the female rule, but she was not Debbie Harry. People loved her for a different reason, she was the queen of the nerds and she saw no reason to share her kingdom with the stunning upstart. Debbie Harry reportedly was told in no uncertain terms that there was no room for both of them. She was informed that she could not sing and she had no talent and should leave.

Out In The Cold

As a result Blondie was practically blacklisted and could not get any more performance time at CBGB’s. They moved down the street and rented a cheap loft which was cold, damp and smelly, but was roomy enough to enable them to rehearse and that was the main thing.
It was probably at this time that Providence raised her head and noticed this band that had not given up despite having nowhere to rehearse. Blondie’s rise can be charted from this period.

Hello Providence!

Chris Stein, guitarist and Debbie Harry’s boyfriend at the time, decided that the dank, smelly loft would be a good place to take pictures of his exquisite, edgy girlfriend. When he sent the pictures to a magazine she was made Punk Playmate of the Month and this garnered enough attention to get them a record deal.blondie 5

Providence had not finished…

They made a single – and in those days you had an A side and a B side to a 45 inch vinyl record. The A side was called ‘Ex Offender’ however, in Australia a DJ played the wrong side which was called ‘In The Flesh’ and the record shot to no.1 This meant that the band de camped to Australia to promote their surprise hit which gave them a gold record and their first major tour.

David Bowie

The exposure brought them to the attention of Iggy Pop who invited them to tour with him and David Bowie. The band having already experienced their first tour were ready and could play well together and had formed their ‘sound’. The exposure led to Chrysalis records snapping them up in the UK where fans went crazy for Debbie Harry whose beauty did not deter girl fans, rather made them want to be her and she was easily the pin up girl for most young men at that time. They had their first hit ‘Denis Denis’ in the UK and this culminated full circle in their first no.1 back home in the US, ‘Heart of Glass.’ They arrived home to New York victorious, via Australia!

Grrr! Why YOU ain’t beat yet!

You are not beaten because it is important to appreciate the role that luck or God or prayer or that intangible spiritual ‘thing’ plays in any success.

Whatever your endeavour, let providence do it’s work for you. Let it!

The bit you have to do is be prepared, do everything you are capable of doing. Don’t get caught with your pants down! Dot the i’s, cross the t’s and do the spellcheck! Get everything ready, watch out for every opportunity – especially when, as was the case with Blondie, opportunity comes dressed as a knock back and then embrace all chances and let providence do it’s job.

 

Will Smith

I ain't beaten yet wop logo 3Hey y’all! In my career I’ve met a lot of achievers, both famous and not so famous and I loved collecting their stories. One thing they all had in common was an absolute blind refusal to give up when the load became too heavy.
The ability to pick oneself off the ground…(yet again!) and dust off the seat of our pants is in all of us. If you are experiencing tough times this little series of stories is for you. For some folk, who seem to have been handed it all on a plate, their stories will surprise you!

_________________________________________________________________________________________

WHO? :  Will Smith

IS? :  A rapper and actor

SAID? :  ‘Make a choice. Decide. Decide what it’s gonna be, who you’re gonna be, how you’re gonna do it’

Will Smith is riding high as one of the most popular and highest paid Hollywood stars. His unique trajectory has been to go from successful rap star in the 1980’s, to television star to Hollywood film star, whilst remaining down to earth, inspirational and likeable.

Early Beginnings

Smith first came to prominence as half of the rap duo Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Their music went against the grain of rap music at the time by remaining fun and free of profanity. They became the first rap act to win a Grammy in the newly created category and his frequent hits made Smith a millionaire before he was twenty. His Personal Ground Zero moment came when, having enjoyed his material success, he neglected to give the tax man his share and found himself owing millions…nearly three million to be more precise! His possessions were seized and near bankruptcy and broke he had to find a way to repay the millions.

Despair

He recalled one moment in his despair, whilst trying to think of ways to alleviate his financial problems, he was queuing up outside of popular 1980’s talk show host Arsenio Hall’s show. He happened to meet up with agent Benny Medina who just happened to will-smithbe looking for someone to play the role in a new idea he had for a sit com centred around the story of his move from the stark inner city to living in wealthy Beverly Hills. The two of them took the idea to Quincy Jones who helped them get the green light from the NBC television network. In 1990 ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ became one of NBC’s highlights and marked the start of Smith’s acting career.

The Upturn

Following a six year successful run, Smith continued with music as a solo performer whilst starring in huge box office hits which incrementally built him into the no.1 box office star. It started with his lesser known film part in ‘Where The Day Takes You’ followed by a minor role alongside Whoopi Goldberg in ‘Made In America’ then the more challenging film, ‘Six Degrees of Separation,’ which served to show the Hollywood bigwigs Smith’s acting capabilities. But it really kicked off for him with the action cop thriller ‘Bad Boys.’ Since then apart from a few films, it has been an upward direction all the way with a beautiful, healthy family to boot.

More cr*p!

Musically, despite huge hits such as ‘Men In Black,’ ‘Getting Jiggy With It,’ and ‘Just The Two Of Us,’ Columbia Records decided that his music career was over and dropped him from their label mid 2000’s. Smith had other ideas and came back with ‘Switch,’ his smash hit single with Interscope Records.

Grrr! Why YOU ain’t beat yet!

You are not beaten because in typical fighter style, Smith knew that he could not wimp out and rest on the laurels of his previous success. He knew he had to hustle. He could have easily taken the bankruptcy option but decided to work his way back. He has said that his greatest strength is his daunting work ethic. ‘I will not be out worked. Period. You might have more talent than me. You might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me…..but if we get on a treadmill together…..two things….you’re getting off first, or I’m gonna die, it’s really that simple……you are not going to out work me!’

That’s the key for Will’s story, don’t give up, hustle and work like your daddy owns the business!