Louis Zamperini and how our future resides in our daily thinking

Aaron McHugh

zamperini-louis-skateboarding-4
Louis Zamperini-WWII POW survivor

Our mind holds power for our future.

In our daily thinking reside our success, adventure, happiness, peace, innovation, and hope.

In tandem, our mind can perceive or conceive of loneliness, anger, boredom, apathy and victimization.

Louis Zamperini -age 96, WWII Prisoner of War survivor is an example to be studied.

His story is being featured in an upcoming movie Unbroken.

We must own what occurs within our thinking.  

Successful fruit-producing people in Life, Work, and Relationships own the responsibility of their conclusions, actions, and interpretations.

Whether we were born wealthy and were cared for by nannies or poor and ate free lunch at school.

We all have an equal beginning in the battle for our mind, our beliefs, and understandings.

Even if we are justified, we can still choose life.

Unbroken’s Louis Zamperini learned to skateboard at age 72.

Lou is a World War II prisoner-of-war survivor.

In Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand describes the unthinkable, unconscionable atrocities done to Lou while in captivity.

By any account he would be justified to be a bitter and cold old man.

And who could have blamed him?

Yet in spite of the pardon for bitterness we would be willing to grant him, he is instead full of joy and hope (age 96 today).

Some people choose to carve out an alternative interpretation of their present challenge.

Some people choose to wallow in their plight.

Each of us have a story that should be told and listened to.

It may be a story of business success or failure.

Maybe it is a story of relational redemption or unraveling.

I have learned that I must not allow my interpretation of my stories to hold me captive.

Here are a couple categories to consider reshaping our thinking

  1. A boss that is impossible
    Release him/her to be miserable, but don’t join them. Spending our lives being miserable because someone makes us so is no way to live. I’ve found in difficult relationships like a boss that it is better to reshape my thinking. Acknowledge that they are actually the one who is miserable. I choose not to be a victim and release them from the responsibility of making me “happy”.
  2. Financial hardship
    The biggest mental enemy of this category is the phrase “I deserve it”.  Who enjoys being broke?  No one?  Personally, I’ve had little and I’ve had much.  I love what Dave Ramsey says about this, “If you want to be rich, hang out with rich people.” His point is do what successful people do.
    My experience shows that without a plan nothing will change. Most plans force us to do things we really don’t initially want to do. We have to conclude that our current financial pain is greater than the behavior that needs to change. Once we reach that conclusion in our mind, we’ve got a shot for our circumstances to improve.
  3. Health & Fitness
    I meet a lot of people who “wish they had time to exercise.” I know that seems true. Usually, the greater reality is we simply choose other things instead of exercise. And that is o.k. if we own the fact that we would rather watch a movie or work too much or volunteer with our free time. Either way, once we make up our mind that we are tired of being tired or weary of our aches and pains, change will come. I’ve found that even fifteen minutes of something is monumentally better than nothing.
    (Feel free to email me and ask me more about this theory-15 Min).

Like Lou Zamperini, we have a choice about how we interpret our life.

Most of which is up to us.

What interpretations and conclusions can you choose today?  

  • Paul

    I coasted for a decade+ with the 3rd excuse (Health/Fitness) of “wish I had time to exercise” and would sugar-coat it into false reality of “tomorrow I’ll really give it a go” type of pump-up inspiration.

    There were 10 years of tomorrow, and 10+ years of puffing a chest but not doing it because of actual aerobic activity that causes my lungs and heart to make it move up and down.

    For the past month, I didn’t talk it – thanks God I walked it. I forced myself to do it at the least likely hour and with the least amount of ‘give’ in schedule per week.

    5:15 am, up, and at it, and covered in sweat loving it by 6:30 am every day for 1 month.

    I have no age to use as an excuse. I have today. I will press on and run the race, today.

    Great post, Aaron – thanks for sharing!

    • Paul-great story of conversion. I too have found that mornings are the easiest to sacrifice for exercise. When I turned 30 I realized that giving up sleep was my best option. At lunch, after work were always subject to other conflicts. Good luck and keep going. appreciate your encouragement.

    • Paul thanks for adding your former excuse here. “10 years of Tomorrow”. That is a post title in and of it self. Keep going.

  • Paul

    I coasted for a decade+ with the 3rd excuse (Health/Fitness) of “wish I had time to exercise” and would sugar-coat it into false reality of “tomorrow I’ll really give it a go” type of pump-up inspiration.

    There were 10 years of tomorrow, and 10+ years of puffing a chest but not doing it because of actual aerobic activity that causes my lungs and heart to make it move up and down.

    For the past month, I didn’t talk it – thanks God I walked it. I forced myself to do it at the least likely hour and with the least amount of ‘give’ in schedule per week.

    5:15 am, up, and at it, and covered in sweat loving it by 6:30 am every day for 1 month.

    I have no age to use as an excuse. I have today. I will press on and run the race, today.

    Great post, Aaron – thanks for sharing!

    • Paul-great story of conversion. I too have found that mornings are the easiest to sacrifice for exercise. When I turned 30 I realized that giving up sleep was my best option. At lunch, after work were always subject to other conflicts. Good luck and keep going. appreciate your encouragement.

    • Paul thanks for adding your former excuse here. “10 years of Tomorrow”. That is a post title in and of it self. Keep going.

  • On the 15 minute thing – I’ve been talking for years about writing novels and always wanting to be able to carve out an hour a day to make it happen. It hasn’t. That is, it wasn’t happening until i became OK with 15-20 minutes a day. It’s crazy, a few days later and you have an entire chapter written. Would love to hear more what you are getting from that whole concept.

    • Aaron thanks for the thoughts on this topic. I first of all love that you are craving to write novels. The only novel I could write would be about Dick meets Jane. Not too exciting. 15-20 min chunks are you’ve got a chapter. That was exactly how I stumbled on this idea. A friend of mine and I were training for a Triathlon and he said that we would go for 12 minute runs. Those were exactly the length of runs I would skip as I considered them too short and unproductive. He is a very accomplished athlete and went on to tell me that the Pros use this weapon as well. 12 minutes x 2-3 times x week = 3-4 hours per month.
      I was sold. At times it might feel like they are bread crumbs and you are really wanting a whole bite, but it is better than going hungry. Keep up the novel work.

      • Thanks, Aaron. A good friend, Matt Lindsey, and I have been talking about this approach a lot lately and use the mantra “Move the Ball Forward.” I loe that you call it a weapon. I’ve derided it as low-level commitment, or a kind of settling for second best – but it’s not. It’s leverage.

  • On
    the 15 minute thing – I’ve been talking for years about writing novels
    and always wanting to be able to carve out an hour a day to make it
    happen. It hasn’t. That is, it wasn’t happening until i became OK with
    15-20 minutes a day. It’s crazy, a few days later and you have an entire
    chapter written. Would love to hear more what you are getting from that
    whole concept.

    • Aaron thanks for the thoughts on this topic. I first of all love that you are craving to write novels. The only novel I could write would be about Dick meets Jane. Not too exciting. 15-20 min chunks are you’ve got a chapter. That was exactly how I stumbled on this idea. A friend of mine and I were training for a Triathlon and he said that we would go for 12 minute runs. Those were exactly the length of runs I would skip as I considered them too short and unproductive. He is a very accomplished athlete and went on to tell me that the Pros use this weapon as well. 12 minutes x 2-3 times x week = 3-4 hours per month.
      I was sold. At times it might feel like they are bread crumbs and you are really wanting a whole bite, but it is better than going hungry. Keep up the novel work.

      • Thanks, Aaron. A good friend, Matt Lindsey, and I have been talking about this approach a lot lately and use the mantra “Move the Ball Forward.” I loe that you call it a weapon. I’ve derided it as low-level commitment, or a kind of settling for second best – but it’s not. It’s leverage.