Amazing people who rose again

Robert Labayen

Posted at Oct 14 2019 12:05 PM

After his speech was severely impaired, he became a well-known stand-up comedian.

Drew Lynch was playing softball when a ball bounced and hit him in the throat. The damaged nerves turned him into a stutterer. He felt frustrated and bitter like any young person would. So, his girlfriend encouraged him to cope by talking about it--on the comedy stage. Even though it was never his dream to become a comedian.

The year 2015 in America’s Got Talent, Drew stuttered and charmed his way to the hearts of the jury and the crowd. He not only got a standing ovation from the jury and the audience halfway through his routine, but he also earned a golden buzzer from Howie Mandel. If you saw the videos, you wouldn’t stop laughing and crying. On top of the sympathy-getting handicap, his scripts were hilarious and genius.

Drew admitted he felt he had “a responsibility to show people that you can turn anything into a positive.”

Another person that can inspire us is a guy named Clint mentioned by Dr. Brian Goldman in his book "The Power of Kindness: Why Empathy is Essential in Everyday Life". Clint has down syndrome. He always knew that his condition was not the norm, but he was not yet thrown out of the game.

One day, Clint walked into a Tim Horton’s in Canada. Luckily, the outlet owner Mark Wafer had a soft spot for persons with disability (PWD). Mark is a PWD, too. He is deaf and he had a hard time in school and in his previous jobs. So, when Mark saw Clint, he said he was going to employ this guy that no one was likely to hire.

Clint did his job well then one day became a Model Employee. He has earned the confidence to ask a girl out and they are now married. On the side, Clint has become a motivational speaker giving encouragement to big crowds.

Drew and Clint are just one of the millions who have shown how we can accept defeat but fight another day. Nobody really knows what can happen next.

I don’t blame people who get depressed for a long time. In fact, I have more understanding of their pain after having read books like Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ "On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss," Dr. Piero Ferrucci's "The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Living a Compassionate Life," and Guy Winch’s "How to Fix A Broken Heart," among others.

Although their loneliness appears overblown to other people, their misery is so real to them. Dr. Kubler-Ross, for example, said people who lost someone have a right to get angry and grieve for longer than comfortable for us. While I’m not done writing on that topic in another article, I can only wish and pray that they regain their strength and win back their dreams.

I will also not say that a tragedy is necessary to propel us into a redemption. We also need not to pressure ourselves to come back with something dramatic and spectacular. People are okay to be average as long as they are happy.

But if a sad thing is not always the starting point for a meaningful life, it is definitely not the end.

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About the Author:

Robert Labayen spent 22 years in advertising prior to joining ABS-CBN in 2004. He was VP-Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi and Executive Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson, two of the country's leading ad agencies. He is currently the Head of Creative Communications Management at ABS-CBN. His job involves inspiring people to be their best. He is a writer, painter and songwriter.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.