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Disaster, Determination and a World Record

The little country schoolhouse was heated by an old-fashioned, pot-bellied coal stove. A little boy named Glenn had the job of coming to school early each day to start the fire and warm the room before his teacher and his classmates arrived.

One morning they arrived to find the schoolhouse engulfed in flames. They dragged the unconscious little boy out of the flaming building more dead than alive. He had major burns over the lower half of his body and was taken to a nearby county hospital.

From his bed the dreadfully burned, semi-conscious little boy faintly heard the doctor talking to his mother. The doctor told his mother that her son would surely die – which was for the best, really – for the terrible fire had devastated the lower half of his body.… Read the rest!

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Playing Chess with the Devil

This is one of my favorite stories. It was originally documented back in 1898 but has been repeated many times since then:

On a tour of Europe, international chess master Paul Morphy and a friend entered an art gallery. Mr. Morphy (surprise, surprise) was drawn to a painting depicting two men playing chess. The name of the painting was “The Chess Players” by Morits Retzch.

In the painting, a man is playing chess with the devil, the stake being the young man’s soul. The artist had most graphically depicted the point in the game where it was apparently the young man’s move, and he seemed just to realize the fact that he had lost the game, the agony of despair being shown in every line of his features and attitude, while the devil from the opposite side of the table gloated over him with fiendish delight.… Read the rest!

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Persistence and Hope

“When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”
                                                                                                – Jacob Riis

There is probably nothing more important in our struggle for self-improvement than persistence and hope. Persistence produces the results, while hope pushes us to take another step. These two go hand in hand just the way faith and works do.

If I hope to reach a goal but give up trying whenever I face an obstacle, I will never reach any goal worth achieving.… Read the rest!

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