5 Amazing People

Excerpt of Article Written by Justen Charters | Independent Journal Review

Victimhood has become a popular trend in society. There was the teen who tried to sue her parents because they would not pay her bills. The man who brought his wife to court because he was unsatisfied with her physical appearance. There was the recent story about a woman who killed a teenage boy and injured two others in a motor vehicle accident, but is now suing the kids she hit for emotional damages.

Then there are the stories we often don’t hear – the ones about people who have every reason to choose the victim mentality, but decided to overcome their suffering in a more positive way.

Here are five of those stories of individuals who’ve triumphed in the face of adversity.

#1 Janice Olson

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Shortly after giving birth to her son Leiland, Janis Ollson had a biopsy done for the major back pain she experienced during her pregnancy. The diagnosis: bone cancer. The growth was on her pelvis and in order to remove it, physicians literally had to saw Janis in half and put her back together again.

Miraculously Janis survived, and that was when she decided to not let the severe physical limitations affect her quality of life.  She’s still an active mother and wife, and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.

#2 Clayton Christensen

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According to Forbes, Clayton Christensen is one of the most successful business theorists in the past half-century. Within a three year period, Clayton survived a heart attack, lymphoma, and a stroke.

The stroke caused Clayton to forget even basic vocabulary and lose some of his ability to speak. The adversity only inspired him: he bought a copy of Rosetta Stone English and learned to speak again. Chemo treatments also knocked out a lot of the calcium on his teeth, which required jaw bone reconstruction. Since then, he has returned to teaching at Harvard Business School- like it never even happened.

#3 John Paul Jones Dejoria

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Paul Mitchell is a popular beauty products company. They are also known for their prestigious beauty schools that enroll thousands yearly. What you probably did not know is that co-founder John Paul Jones Dejoria was once homeless, and survived by living in his car. John is a perfect example of someone taking his rags and truly turning them into riches. He is now worth roughly $4 billion.

#4 Joe Simpson

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Mountaineering can be a dangerous hobby. Joe Simpson found out exactly how dangerous when his climbing partner, Simon Yates, cut Simpson’s rope to save his own life. Simpson fell one hundred feet off the face of the mountain, shattering his right leg. Yates thought he had killed his own friend, but to his amazement Simpson managed to pull through. Simpson crawled for over three days, eating snow to survive. Though he lost forty-two pounds, he finally made it back to base camp.

#5 Alter Wiener

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Alter Wiener is a Holocaust survivor. His high school years were spent being transferred between concentration camps during World War II. His entire immediate family was murdered by the Nazis.

At one point in his imprisonment, Alter thought his life was over because he was chosen for a line leading to the camp’s crematorium. At the last second, a guard decided that  he was still able enough to work. He and the entire camp were liberated shortly after.

Remember: people have the strength within to conquer even the greatest of adversities. Often, we’re only victims when we choose to be.


Thanks to Justen Charters for writing the article; Independent Journal Review for committing its resources to publishing the article; Google for helping me find the article; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the pictures and text in this post.

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