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Yusra Mardini: From Swimming for Life to Swimming for Glory

By ACNUR Comité español (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWTvAF4moK0) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Yusra Mardini

Yusra Mardini’s story begins as any tragic story from war-torn Syria begins. A young woman, fleeing death and destruction, in search for hope and dreams.

Her journey from Syria to Germany took her through the perils thousands upon thousands of refugees have faced while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. Yet her role in that crossing was not that of a mere passenger aboard a small boat.

As the New York Times reports, the dinghy she was on was about to sink, potentially taking the refugees aboard and their lives down with it.

Yusra Mardini and her sister jumped into the water and pushed the small boat and those aboard to safety.

While that heroic deed was most certainly the highlight of her journey, she also endured other troubles as she traveled through Lebanon, Greece, Turkey, the Balkans, and other central European countries before finally reaching Germany.

Yusra Mardini said she began to learn how to swim when she was 3, and her father continued to train her till she started to compete for her country’s national team. The Syrian Olympic Committee recognized her potential and her determination and began to support her ambitions as well.

Life in Syria took a turn for the worse when war broke out in 2011. Yet despite the horrible conditions, Yusra continued to train. “Sometimes we couldn’t train because of the war,” the Independent quoted her as saying. “And sometimes you would be swimming in pools where the roofs were [blown open] in three or four places.”

Yusra Mardini finally made it to the 2016 Olympics and was selected to join the Olympic Refugee Team with several other refugees from other struggling corners of the world.

 


(Yusra Mardini during the Women’s 100m Buttefly)

Her story will remain an inspiration to the world. A story of a dream that, through perseverance, struggle, and sacrifice, became a reality.

You can show your support by visiting Yusra Mardini’s official Facebook fan page here.

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A Matter of Perspective

A Matter of Perspective

A Matter of Perspective

While people can be categorized in numerous ways, most people fit into one of two groups: Those who focus on the negative aspects of their lives and those that try to look at the positive.

Life is hard for everyone. Trouble lurks around every corner along our journey to wherever our goals are. And through that journey, there are two major options to take when looking at how your journey has been.

You can either focus much of your memory on the mistakes you made, the bad choices you took, and the negative personalities you had to deal with.

Or you can appreciate the progress you have made despite those shortcomings and negativity that surrounded you.

Great people in the past also had those two options. Had they resigned to looking at the bleakness that discouraged their progress, their names would only have been remembered by their friends and family, and forgotten once they reached the grave.

So whenever a negative thought crosses your mind, find something positive to throw your attention on to keep on moving.

Our Tempests and Drizzles

Tempest

Shipping in a Tempest of a Rocky Coast

Our lives have weather systems of their own. And while there are days when we take shelter from the tempests that come crashing through, there are also those drizzles that remind us, after we survived those tempests, to always be prepared for whatever comes our way.

As you walk through your path in life, as you travel along your journey to whatever your destination – whatever your goal, dream, or aspiration – is, you will have to endure those harsh storms to see the magical beauty of the other side of those tempests. And, sometimes, when it all seems like sunshine and clear skies, there will be some delicate drizzles that shower you with a reminder that the road is still littered with potholes and perils.

But you will make it through those tempests of pain and sorrow, and you will smile through those light drizzles of minor problems and conflicts, and you will smile when you reach your destination – when you turn around and look at that long journey and those winding and cruel paths you crossed.

Those Days

Gloomy Day

Gloomy Forest (by JovanCormac)

There are some days when you not only feel lazy or tired, but so utterly disgusted that you feel like you can’t even try to push yourself to get up and do whatever it is you have to do.

Those days when the whole world around you disgusts you and you just feel nauseous from the idea of even doing anything.

And yet deep in your mind there is something telling you that you have to.

At those moments you have to dig deep in yourself to find that special drive – that special push – to get out there.

You have to find some reason that is worth getting out of that bed for. Some reason or purpose to go do what you got to do.

So if you are reading this and you don’t have that enthusiasm to get out there and you feel disgusted from the world around you, then dig into yourself and find that drive that you need.

Overcoming the Walls in Life

Walls

Brick Wall (by Oula Lehtinen)

We live our lives with goals and dreams somewhere in our conscience, only to find walls blocking the paths toward them.

These walls vary in height, and width. Sometimes a wall seems so high it blocks the sunlight that shines from our dreams and aspirations. Sometimes it is so wide that it will seem like forever to go around it.

The next wall can be a wall of steel, concrete, or bricks, and the idea of penetrating it or breaking it seems practically impossible.

And sometimes a high and wide wall may seem impenetrable, but beneath the façade, it’s just plaster and sheet-rock.

However high or wide those walls seem, whatever they are made of, you need to cross over to the other side to reach your destination.

Whether you have to go all the way around it, climb over it, or charge right through it, do whatever it takes to cross over the next wall and get to your destination.

The Voices Around Us

We live a life full of voices around us.

No, we live a life full of voices both around us and within us.

And as you move forward towards whatever it is you are reaching out for,

As you take each of those strenuous steps up the challenging steep slopes of that mountain,

There will be those voices that reach out and try to pull you back down.

Not to where you were a few steps ago, but below the surface.

Those voices try to drown you, and keep you isolated from your dreams.

Those voices are not always from your competition.

There will be times – many times – when those voices will be from people who are close to you.

Friends. Family. Colleagues.

And sometimes even your inner voice.

Recognize those voices for what they are.

People who are trying to pull you away from your dreams.

Your hopes.

Your goals.

Your desires.

 

 

Simply smile at those voices.

And persevere.

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