Friday, March 23, 2018

Finding Joy in Success

Thought for the day: That some achieve great success is proof to all that others can achieve it, as well. [Abraham Lincoln]

[image courtesy of Morguefile]
Achieving a goal and reaching some level of success is worth celebrating, but not just when it's a personal achievement. I think we should cheer for everybody's successes. If, as John Donne said, No man is an island, and any man's death diminishes me, shouldn't it also be true that appreciation for the achievements of others can elevate us, as well?

That explains why so many of us get such a thrill out of watching athletes accomplish feats far beyond our own abilities, and why so many of us swell with joy when in the presence of great art. We marvel and maybe even feel a teensy bit of pride at these wondrous achievements of mind and body. There's even a word for it. Buddhists call it Mudita, which essentially means finding joy in the happiness and success of others.

Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible. [Albert Einstein]

Today, we're going to look at the impossible achievements of some amazing men. There's an old Swedish proverb that says, The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm. But... what if there is no arm...?

What some may consider a catastrophe, others consider a challenge.

[photo from Army Medical Museum]
Consider Civil War veteran Samuel Decker. While reloading his gun in 1862, it misfired and took off the lower part of both of his arms.

So what did he do?

By 1865, he'd designed and overseen the building of his own state-of-the-art prosthetic arms. With the help of his invention, he could dress himself, feed himself, write, and even pick up objects as small as a pin.

[photo from Army Medical Museum]













In 1867, he was invited to the Army Medical Museum, where these photographs were taken to document him and his ahead-of-his-time invention.

Think his story is amazing? Wait until you hear about a young man who currently lives in Andorra...

[photo from Mirror Online]








For as long as he can remember, David Aguilar, like many other children around the world, has loved playing with LEGO® blocks. But David is a little different from most of the other children... he was born with a profoundly deformed arm.

So what did he do?

At the age of nine, he made his first LEGO® prosthetic arm.

It wasn't as successful as he would've liked. Not strong enough.

But he didn't give up.

In recent months, this enterprising 19-year old young man, who dubs himself Hand Solo, built another much more sophisticated... and stronger... arm from LEGO® building blocks.

What the mind can conceive and  believe, and the heart desire, you can achieve. [Norman Vincent Peale]

                                                                          Wanta see?



                                                    Doesn't that make you feel... good?

Wait! That's not all! A gentleman named Carlos Arturo Torres invented a LEGO® kit for children to build their own totally cool prosthetic arms! He said the idea was to take away the stigma of being different and make the prosthetic fun for children to wear, and the kits he donated to some children in need of them were resoundingly successful. In 2016, his IKO Creative Prosthetic System won the Grand Prix at Netexpo, an innovation summit held in Paris, and the hope was to release this kit commercially sometime in 2017. Unfortunately, I haven't found any indication that this has happened as of yet. But maybe soon...?


So does this give you a whole new perspective on those annoying little blocks that hurt like Hades when you step on them in the middle of the night in your bare feet? Yep, there's a whole inspirational world of possibilities and millions of things I will never build with LEGO®, but let's rejoice at the things other people have accomplished with them and applaud every other wondrous human accomplishment. Why? Because life isn't a competition. We're all on the same team. It's mudita, baby.

There is strength in numbers. When the bricks stick together, great things can be accomplished. [Steve Klusmeyer]

                    And that's true, whether talking about building blocks... or people.

                           Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


52 comments:

  1. Isn't it wonderful (and humbling) to learn of the way some people respond to adversity. Challenges? Not for them, opportunities instead.
    Long may they survive and thrive.
    Love that cartoon too. I can so see Jazz doing that (if we had lego in the house).

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    1. You're right. Marveling at the accomplishments of others usually deals us a good dose of humility, as well. Keeps us from having over-sized heads. :)

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  2. What fantastic achievements. i saw those lego prosthetic arms on TV here. Kudos to that kid and anyone else who has such vision. Hugs, Valerie

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    1. How cool that you saw them on TV! Young people with that much vision give me hope for the future. :)

      Hugs back atcha. Have a super weekend.

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  3. The Lego city in your header is impressive, but not a patch on the prosthetic arms. I would never have thought to use Legos for such a thing. How very inventive of those kids! I did feel a little pride while reading this.
    I've personally never know the "joy?" of stepping on Legos with bare feet or even with shod feet. In our house Legos were played with on a giant sized sheet and when we were finished the drawstring sewn around the edge by my mum was drawn tight and all Legos safely enclosed for the night.

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    1. My building "skills" are rudimentary, at best, so I would never have thought to create something so amazing, either.

      Lucky you! Your feet haven't "lived" until they've gotten a LEGO or two imbedded in their tender bottoms. :) Your mum was one smart cookie to use a sheet to contain the little demons. It was never much of a problem when our kids were growing up, but our older son's kids have a massive toy room, and there's all kinds of "land mines" scattered on the floor. :)

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  4. lol at the cat photo.

    Wow, never knew legos could be of such use. Goes to show what one can do when they put their mind to it.

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    1. I had a feeling you'd appreciate the conniving cat. :)

      Me neither! My LEGO-building skills are about as stellar as my sand castle-building ones. (i.e. Practically non-existent.)

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  5. Legos are legendary, and all of those folks are amazingly inspirational. This post makes me feel small. Glad so many have such visions to make their world and the world better.
    Happy Friday

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    1. I hope it made you feel small in a good way. :) (I wouldn't mind feeling about fifteen pounds smaller...)

      Happy Friday to you, too! Have a super weekend.

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  6. This is the best blog of the week!!!!! Great post, Susan, and yes, you made me remember the feeling of stepping on a Lego years ago. Ouch!

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    1. Wow! Thank you... what a sweet thing to say!

      Yep, the feeling of embedding a LEGO in the bottom of one's poor unsuspecting foot isn't something one ever forgets. :)

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  7. Oh yes! It is always good to celebrate and appreciate success. Cheers to legos and the creativeness they inspire!

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    1. For sure. It's truly astoundng what creativity those little blocks have inspired.

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  8. Love those videos!

    We've been to LegoLand a few times, and we've even seen a whole art exhibit made out of Lego. It really is amazing what people can do, in general, and with those funky little bricks. :)

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    1. Cool. Me, too!

      We've never visited LegoLand, but we've seen some amazing LEGO constructions at a local botanical garden. Funky little bricks... yeah, good name for them!

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  9. A Lego prosthetic arm - so cool! Amazing stories. Have a wonderful weekend :-)

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  10. These are amazing accomplishments--definitely reason to celebrate these successes of others. Happy weekend to you!

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  11. Whoa. These achievements are all beyond impressive! I'll never think of Legos the same way again, LOL.

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    1. Yeah, these stories gave me a new respect for LEGOs, too. (And for the people who use them.)

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  12. Thank you for sharing these very interesting stories. They gave my gloomy, rainy, snot-filled morning (have a wicked cold) a much-needed blast of inspiration.

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    1. Oh, you poor thing. Let's hope that wicked cold gets lost real soon.

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  13. What a wonderful post.
    I could not belive Samuel Decker, amazing ! Then all the Lego's the kids are building, more amazing things ! We liked Legos and still do.
    This was a happy post.
    Happy Happy Weekend !

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked the post. :)

      Happy happy weekend to you, too! Cheers!

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  14. What an inspirational post by one of the most inspirational bloggers around! :-) Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Thank YOU! You just made my day. :)

      Greetings back atcha.

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  15. Hi Susan - I thought the cat might sit on the lego and squawk in disgust. Loved reading about these guys ... amazing and I'm sure those lego kits for the kids will appear. I wrote about a young American physiotherapist who lost her leg and made one out of lego - post went up in July 2013 ... I find it extraordinary how creative and very clever people are ... me I'd be the cat and sit on the bits!! Enjoy the weekend ... tis cold up here - Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary. I've read about that woman who built a leg. Pretty cool. She even posted her building process on Youtube.

      HA! I don't believe that. No way you'd park your bottom on those blocks! (Certainly not for LONG!)

      You enjoy your weekend, too. Chin up. Spring's on its way...

      Cheers!

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  16. I am always extremely humbled and immensely inspired by people who have conquered overwhelming hardships and adversity. I especially admire their undaunted determination and optimism, which is undoubtedly the key to their success.

    I'm astonished every time I read accounts of the holocaust survivors who endured years of torture, abuse, and humiliation - yet never became bitter and - most importantly - never lost their faith in God.

    I'm presently going through enormous personal problems that I never mention in my blog. I derive strength from knowing that others, with far worse problems than mine, have survived...and thrived.
    Good post, Susan!

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    1. Others may have problems worse than yours, but making comparisons doesn't help too much, does it? Whatever you're going through, I have faith in you. You WILL thrive, cowboy. If you need a sympathetic ear, I'm only an email away.

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  17. Inspirational post, Susan, for which I sincerely thank you.

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  18. Great post as usual. Thanks, Susan.

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    1. Thanks, Keith. Sorry your rugby team didn't win. :(

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  19. Two totally amazing people who took lemonade (oops..sorry...Lego) and made a miracle.

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    1. Their accomplishments are astounding to me. (With or without lemonade.) :)

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  20. Excellent post. And I love legos. My brothers had tons of legos and my son loved them, too. I even got one of my brothers a little lego space ship for Christmas this year. He liked it :)

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    1. Thanks. Our kids and grandkids are big fans of Legos, but I never imagined those little blocks could be used to make something as amazing as a working prosthetic arm. Boggles the mind!

      Of COURSE your brother liked it! I think most adults would secretly love a toy of some kind for Christmas. :)

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  21. I found your post fascinating and inspirational.
    What some folks do and accomplish is simply amazing.

    Thank you.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks, Jan. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      I agree. What's even more astounding is how many of those folks have to overcome huge hurdles to achieve those accomplishments.

      All the best to you, too.

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  22. Holy cow, that Lego arm kid!!!

    Makes me like Legoland in Winter Haven just a little bit more now (even though they had nothing to do with it). I have a huge Rubbermaid tote full of Legos from when my boys were little. They're going to one of their kids some day!

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    1. I know! That's what I said, too...

      It's cool that you saved all of those Legos. I hope your sons don't make you wait TOO long to see some little ones play with them again. :)

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  23. I salute that lego arm kid with all my heart, friend Sue ... cuz he did this cuz he what he had to do and he succeeded in following his dream ... As a kid I used to build lego houses/ homes over and over and I think I'm a success as well cuz my kids turned out to be happy and healthy and well adjusted ... Love, cat.

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    1. PS: Have you ever been to Lego Land in Billund, Denmark? c.

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    2. Me, too! That kid is amazing, and yes, so are you. Raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids in today's world is a great accomplishment.

      P.S. Nope. I've never been to Europe at all. (sigh) Heck, I haven't even visited any of the Lego Lands here in the states.

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  24. Those are inspiring stories. It's amazing what you can make with Legos.

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    1. For sure. Heck, maybe Bubba could make that reactor he was interested in... :)

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  25. Lovely, as always! I love to cheer people on, especially when they refuse to let circumstances overwhelm them. Mudita is most satisfying.
    And also - we still use a 'lego blanket' - it does reduce injury, but there's usually a bit that escapes...

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    1. Thanks! Somehow, I'm not at all surprised that you cheer people on, and I have a feeling you already knew all about Mudita.

      HA! Yeah, those little blocks can be reeeeeally sneaky. :)

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