I have friends who suffered indescribable physical, emotional and personal loss. They were burned in the service of our country. I was hospitalized with them at the burn unit, Broke Army Medical Center, Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. They were burned, scarred, broken, unable to stand, walk, talk, or feed themselves. They had to rely on the nurses for their every personal need. A human being can’t get any lower…physically or emotionally. Another friend lost his wife to cancer. She was 32 and at the time of her death, they had five children ages 15 months to nine years old.

The perseverance, character, passion for life and never give-up, never give-in mind set they had and demonstrated every day remains a source of inspiration to me and their friends. They suffered a life threatening, life altering gut-punches and were knocked-down but they were determined to not stay down. They’re survivors in thought, word and deed.

You can learn to push through whatever adversity and obstacles come your way, too. Question is, How bad do you want to? Life’s all about choices. If you choose to not push through the adversity and see it as another of life’s teacheable moments, you’ll be poorly equipped to win other battles. If you choose to not win, you won’t survive long. Successful people are successful because they faced obstacles and adversity head-on and that gained them more strength, skill, confidence and internal will to succeed. It reinforced their internal core. When faced with more obstacles and adversity, they instinctively and intuitively know what it takes to overcome it—they built emotional and spiritual resevoirs. President Abraham Lincoln said, “My greatest concern is not whether you have failed but whether you are content with failure.”

When discouraged, we sometimes don’t think we can make it over the next hill. At those times especially, there are two core values you cannot do without. They are priceless and difficult to define ingredients of success: effort and faith.

Success and true peace of mind can’t be achieved without the experience of life’s obstacles and adversity. It brings us closer to our belief in ourselves and to a higher power and deeper appreciation and understanding of ourselves as human beings. As a result, we become the “little engine that could.””You’ve got to say, ‘”I think if I keep working at this and want it badly enough, I can have it.” Lee Iacocca. Look in the mirror. Who IS the person who looks back at you? What are your dreams and aspirations? Where ARE you going? How WILL you get there? Who will be on YOUR team?