Success Comes From Never Giving Up
ADLINK Foundation / Chiu Ching-ya
Everyone has their own definition of success. How about you?
Is it to become the CEO of a top 100 enterprise? Do something extreme that makes you world famous? To become so rich that you could travel for the rest of your life? Or marry a handsome (beautiful) husband (wife) who is perfect in every way? …Someone once said, “Your degree of success is determined by the size of your audience when you are the speaker on stage.” I immediately thought of the president and thought it quite apt.
These common measures of success are not particularly easy for the public to achieve. For those born with physical handicaps or in poor families, the bar is set even higher.
My first encounter with the “Hunzhang Performing Group” made up of performers with various physical handicaps dates back around 4 years ago when I set foot in Conference Room 3 on the 9th Floor for my interview. I immediately saw (former) CEO Liu Ming sitting hunch-backed. He suffered from a badly deformed spine and acute poliomyelitis. He was also the head of the “Hunzhang Performing Group” supported by the Foundation. During my time at the Foundation, I’ve traveled all around Taiwan with Hunzhang and have been involved in more than 100 life education performances. I saw for myself how amazing the Hunzhang teachers were: being able to play an instrument despite being blind, not being able to hear the music but still able to dance and mime, dancing and playing the piano despite being an amputee, and being able to sing despite stuttering due to cerebral palsy. What really made it special was how they were always so smiling and filled with self-confidence.
They didn’t start out smiling though. Starting with pain and complaints, they eventually came to terms with their situation then ultimately challenged the impossible. Because they didn’t give up, a miracle happened. Though most of the group members have made great strides, they are continuing to strive relentlessly to leave their mark in life.
For his leadership of the “Hunzhang Performing Group”, the group’s leader Liu Ming was presented a charity award worth NT$2 million by the HK & Macau Taiwanese Charity Fund last year. Such recognition enabled him to continue supporting this very meaningful group. Liu Li-hong, the singer with crippled legs who can only walk with the aid of walking sticks, was named a Taiwan Ten Outstanding Young Person. Last year, she wore angel wings on her back and rode a handicapped motorcycle on a round-island speaking tour to motivate students in remote rural areas. Lin Xiu-xia, the wheelchair ballroom dancer with a left leg crippled by polio, accomplished the three feats that every Taiwanese should attempt: swimming across the Sun-Moon Lake, climbing Mt. Jade, and cycling around Taiwan. She had previously swum across the Sun-Moon Lake on seven occasions and last year, she not only circumnavigated Taiwan using a hand-cranked bicycle but also successfully reached the top of Mt. Jade; quadruple amputee dancer Guo Wei-qi successfully climbed Mt. Jade last year with the aid of prostheses. Her feat was even reported on the front page of United Daily News. This year, she rode around Taiwan on a tricycle to commemorate her maternal grandfather, a former policeman who had passed away. She checked in at local police stations and gave her encouragement to the police on the frontlines.
The thought “These Hunzhang are out of this world!” has frequently run through my mind since I first met them. They’ve managed to do things that even a physically sound person like me might not attempt. I was particularly moved and inspired by Lin Xiu-xia’s story. During her Mt. Jade climb, she often looked at the trail winding away into the distance and wondered how much longer it is to the finish. The more she thought about it, the heavier her legs became. That’s why she decided, “I will just concentrate on my next step.” In this way, she eventually reached the top of Mt. Jade, one step at a time. She also said that she was the only handicapped person in the expedition. After reaching the top, the guide told her that two members of the expedition had given up halfway and headed back down the mountain. This made her so emotional that she cried! Due to her childhood bout with polio, she had always thought herself the weakest and the least competitive. The climb showed her that “success doesn’t go to the most capable; it goes to the one who never gives up.”
I think that success doesn’t have to be as amazing or earth shattering as what they did. At the Foundation’s summer camp, I came to know a disadvantaged student named Liu X-shan. She is now a high jumper on a senior high school team. She often posts on her Facebook: “I hurt my foot today! But I will keep trying!” or “I challenged a new height today! My hard work paid off!” Because she really loves her sport, even the smallest progress each day is something worth celebrating. There is also Huang Jing, a NTU agronomics student who volunteers with the summer camp. On one occasion, he wrote for his department’s “Agronomics Week” event, “Kneading, making, frying and selling 300 shallot pancakes in 2 days is really tiring! But the sight of returning customers and the praise of housewives gave me a feeling of achievement!”
It doesn’t matter if it’s something as trivial as kneading shallot pancakes. If you are willing to give yourself the chance to experiment with new things and solve unfamiliar problems, all the experience you gain from each challenge of the unknown will undoubtedly become a precious part of your life.
After all, if you don’t try, how can you know what will happen?