Strength Out of Weakness

by | Jun 11, 1997 | Strength, Surrender, Weakness

In his book, “Confidence,” Alan Loy McGinnis talks about a famous study entitled “Cradles of Eminence” by Victor and Mildred Goertzel, in which the family backgrounds of 300 highly successful people were studied.

Many of the names of those in the study were well-known to most of us–including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill, Albert Schweitzer, Gandhi, Einstein, and Freud, all of whom were brilliant in their field of expertise.

The results of this study are both surprising and encouraging for many of us who came from a less than desirable home life. For example: “Three-quarters of the children were troubled either by poverty, by a broken home, or by rejecting, over-possessive or dominating parents.

“Seventy-four of 85 writers of fiction or drama and 16 of the 20 poets came from homes where, as children, they saw tense psychological drama played out by their parents.

“Physical handicaps such as blindness, deafness, or crippled limbs characterized over one-quarter of the sample.” These people who had confidence in their abilities and put them to creative use may have had more weaknesses and handicaps than many who have a lack of confidence because of low self-esteem. So, what made the difference? Probably by compensating for their weaknesses they excelled in other areas.

One man reported, “What has influenced my life more than any other single thing has been my stammer. Had I not stammered I would probably have gone to Cambridge as my brothers did, perhaps have become a don and every now and then published a dreary book about French literature.” The speaker who stammered until his death was W. Somerset Maugham, as he looked back on his life at age 86.

“By then he had become a world-renowned author of more than 20 books, 30 plays, and scores of essays and short stories.”

It’s not what we have or don’t have that matters in life but what we do with what we have. All God expects of us is that we don’t allow our past to determine our future and that with his help we use what we have to the best of our ability.

By Dick Innes, Daily Encounter . Used by permission.


Strength Out of Weakness