May kom
Beast of the East

“Even if it’s cold; be bold and desire. Life is your fire.”

We are but our experiences. We are not what happens with us or to us; we are what we choose to do. Life sometimes becomes difficult. You sometimes start to lose hope. Sometimes you struggle a lot, give in your hundred percent but still the results don’t show. But as the old rhyme goes

“Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things go wrong
That you mustn’t quit…”

Here are the stories of five people who fought hard with life, kept the spark in them alive and made it to the fabled land of success. Some of them, we know very well; some of them, we’re not aware of. But still, reading about them will inspire us to overcome our own demons and make us face life with a tough face.

  • Ira Singhal
Woman who overcame all odds
Woman who overcame all odds

Story of Civil Services exam topper Ira Singhal, who hails from Delhi, is truly an inspiring one. The 31-year-old woman who topped the exam in her fourth attempt has become the first physically challenged woman to top the civil services exam in the general category.

She suffers from Scoliosis, a spine-related disorder, which disrupts her arm movement. She is an iron-willed human being who isn’t let down by her handicap. She had cleared the civil services exam in 2010 as well but was denied the posting due to her handicap. She fought all odds and prepared for and gave the exam four straight times. The hard work paid off when she not only cleared but topped the toughest exam of the country in the general category.

Another noteworthy fact is that in the year 2014, the top three students in the Civil Services exam were women. So if you’re a woman, believe that the thing that differentiates you and your competition is not your gender; it is your will, determination and hard work.

  • Mary Kom
Beast of the East
Beast of the East

One is confounded when one learns how much this Indian Eve from Manipur has achieved in her life so far. She is a five-time World Amateur Boxing champion and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each of the six world championships. She competed in the flyweight (51 kg) category in the  2012 Olympics and won the bronze medal. Ranked number 4 in the AIBA World Women’s Ranking Flyweight category, she became the first Indian boxer to get a Gold Medal in the Asian Games in 2014.

This fiery boxer came from a family of modest means. Boxing was not encouraged in her family and she received a pounding instead of encouragement when her photo was first published in the local newspaper. She had won the State Boxing Championship.

“I still remember I was castigated by my father who said with a battered and bruised face, I should not expect to get married. He was furious that I took to boxing – a taboo for women – and he did not have the slightest idea about it.” she told in September 2004.

She won championships after championships until she decided to have a break from boxing for two long years to have a baby with her husband K Onler Kom. Her decision was much criticized and many professed that her boxing career is over but in 2008, she came back from a two-year maternity break to clinch her fourth boxing gold in World Championships. That instantly won her the name “Magnificent Mary’. She said, “People thought Mary Kom will never win a medal again after I took a break to have a baby. I wanted to prove them wrong. Challenges fire me.”

Such is her grit and determination. And that is why she continues to be an inspiration.

  • J.K. Rowling
She gave us our childhood
She gave us our childhood

Who doesn’t know this lady who gave us the most cherished memories of our childhood, the Harry Potter series? As of May 2015, the books have sold more than 450 million copies worldwide, making the series the best-selling book series in history, and have been translated into 73 languages.

But Rowling’s earlier life was not as rosy and magical; she had a difficult relationship with her father and, at 25, lost her mother to complications relating to multiple sclerosis. Rowling moved to Portugal shortly afterwards, where she married a local journalist and had a daughter, but the marriage collapsed and, after six months, she returned to Britain and Edinburgh, where she survived on benefits, feeling suicidal, and was diagnosed with clinical depression.

But sitting by the side of her daughter, she started writing her first book. J.K Rowling was famously rejected by a mighty 12 publishers before Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone was accepted by Bloomsbury – and even then only at the insistence of the chairman’s eight-year-old daughter. Rest we know is history. Would it have been possible if she would have let the fire douse inside her? You decide…

  • Abraham Lincoln
One of the greatest presidents of USA
One of the greatest presidents of USA

Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest presidents of U.S.A. He led the United States through its Civil War – its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government and modernised the economy.

But life was difficult for Lincoln. Due to the poor financial condition of his family, he had to work and earn at the tender age of seven. He lost his mother when he was nine. He failed miserably on the two business ventures he took up and was completely bankrupt. Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections in his life but he never accepted defeat. The fire inside his heart was always ablaze and he went on to become the president of a great country and take it to unprecedented heights.

One must remember that “You’ll never be brave if you don’t get hurt. You’ll never learn if you if you don’t make mistakes. You’ll never be successful if you don’t encounter failure.”

  • A.P.J Abdul Kalam
People's president
People’s president

Who doesn’t know the People’s President and the Missile Man of India? A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was one of the greatest minds of free India. He was the person who played a pivotal organizational, technical, and political role in India’s Pokhran-2 nuclear tests in 1998. He dedicated his entire life to teaching.

One of the greatest role models for the youngsters of this country, Abdul Kalam had his share of immense struggles during his growing up years. He had to sell newspapers to fund his early education. He lived in poverty but never let it take control of his life. He always dreamt big. Armed with a fierce work ethic and great moral values, he studied hard and made significant contributions to the nation. Even in his last mortal moments, he was igniting fire in the minds of the students. His teachings always centre about keeping the inner fire burning and having and believing in your goals no matter what.

These are people like us who never let it go, who never stopped believing in themselves and who defeated the storms of struggle with their indomitable spirit. One must always remember that life is not all roses and lilies, if it would have been so, then it would not be half as much fun. The real fun and real learning lies in learning how to overcome difficulties. It is only then that the taste of success can be truly felt, right?J And if they can do it, why can’t we?

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