This week’s #WednesdayWisdom stems from one of Coach John Wooden’s favorite quotes, “There are no hopeless situations, there are only people who have grown hopeless about them.” This quote is attributed to Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987) the first American woman appointed to a major ambassadorial post abroad.


History provides us with countless examples of seemingly hopeless situations that resulted in great triumphs. I’ll share a few below for inspiration:


  • Steve Jobs was fired from his own company.
  • Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison.
  • Abraham Lincoln failed in business, had a nervous breakdown and was defeated in eight elections.
  • Albert Einstein was unemployed and couldn’t find a job between 1900 and 1902. His first job was in a Swiss patent office. He didn’t get his first teaching job until 1909. In 1921 he received the Nobel Price for research he did 16-years earlier, in 1905.
  • Howard Schultz spent a year trying to convince Starbucks to hire him. He left the company in 1982 because they refused to move ahead with his idea of serving cups of coffee in their coffee bean stores. They didn’t want to get into the restaurant business. Schultz quit and started his own coffee-bar business, called II Giornale. It was successful and a year later he bought Starbucks for $3.8M.
  • Bethany Hamilton was just 13 years old when her left arm got bitten off by a shark while surfing. After a month of medical operations, she returned to the sport, learning how to surf with one arm and a customized board, and hasn’t stopped since
  • Dawn Loggins, a former school janitor and straight-A student at her high school in North Carolina, was homeless her senior year after being abandoned by her drug-abusing parents. Not one to let her situation limit her, she applied to and was offered a full scholarship from Harvard.
  • Kyle Maynard, born with a condition known as congenital amputation, is the first quadruple amputee to successfully ascend Mount Kilimanjaro without any prosthetics. He made this happen by taping pieces of bicycle tire to the ends of his limbs to protect him as he scaled the mountain.


In closing, I’ll share a quote form John Wooden that sums up how he believes we can triumph against a seemingly hopeless situation:


Don’t whine. Don’t complain. Don’t make excuses. Just do the best you can. Nobody can do more than that.


Feeling hopeless? Change your perspective – fight through – you can triumph – history proves that it is possible!