That statement has been attributed to Joseph P. Kennedy father of slain President John F. Kennedy. However eight years before Kennedy used the phrase the late great Notre Dame Football coach Frank Leahy reportedly said, “When the going gets tough, let the tough get going.”
In my humble opinion, the differences between the two statements are subtle, but read them again. Mr. Kennedy’s words speak to an action that anyone that ‘is’ tough can do. Meanwhile Mr. Leahy’s statement speaks to the action being something that anyone can do who desires to be.
Zac Vawter lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident. Through the wonders of technology he was able to receive not just a prosthetic limb but a mind-controlled bionic limb. Overcoming all odds and truly defining toughness, he climbed 103 stories to get to the top of Chicago’s famous Sears Willis Tower becoming the first person with a bionic limb to accomplish such a feat. Can you imagine how rough his road to recovery had to have been both mentally as well as physically? Yet he beat back doubt, maybe some self-pity and developed a “yes I can” attitude and truly stepped up.
What obstacle did Agatha Christie, Magic Johnson, Cher, Danny Glover, Tom Cruise, Whoopi Goldberg, and even General George S. Patton had to overcome in order to achieve their own success? They all are or had Dyslexia. Don’t you think a person must have a certain level of internally ingrained toughness to surmount a learning disability?
No matter where you are in life. No matter how great the obstacle may appear. No matter your age, gender, sexual orientation, or any other thing you may see as a hindrance. Be encouraged! Victory is at hand, but unless you get into the game you’ll never know how tough you really are.
Human beings have faced wars, famine, acts of God, economic downturns, political failure and a host of tragedies and did more than just survive. We are conquerors! If a (neither disrespect intended nor a pun) one legged man can climb thousands of steps to get to the top and people with an often looked down upon and misdiagnosed affliction can learn to function successfully—can you sincerely say, “I’m not tough enough.”