The Power of the Human Spirit

The power of the human spirit is exhibited daily all over the world. We often don’t see it, hear about it, or read about and that is a shame. We need to. We should be feeding our mind, heart, and soul with stories of the power of the human spirit. They inspire. They provide hope. They uplift. They makes us feel good. When you focus on those stories, you can strengthen the spirit within you.

When fed hope the human spirit becomes stronger and perseveres. Real life stories of hope and perseverance is the secret behind the power of the human spirit.

The Power of the Human Spirit: The Story of Louis Zamperini

Louis Zamperini’s story is an amazing story of the power of the human spirit. On May 27, 1943 while stationed in Hawaii, Zamperini and his crewmates were assigned to conduct a search for a lost aircraft and crew. The plane they were assigned to use was a notorious plane among their fellow servicemen.

The reputation of the plane was proven true when mechanical difficulties caused it to crash into the Pacific killing eight of the eleven men on board. Louis and pilot Russell Allen Phillips and Francis McNamara were the only survivors.

 For the next forty-seven days they survived on rainwater, small fish eaten raw, and birds that landed on their raft. At one point, they caught two albatrosses. They ate one and used pieces of the other as bait to catch fish. They were also constantly fending off shark attacks and were nearly being capsized by a storm. As they drifted toward Japan, they under attack by a Japanese bomber, which punctured their life raft, though they all escaped injury. Francis McNamara died after just over one month lost at sea.

On the 47th day of their ordeal, Zamperini and Phillips reached the Marshall Islands where they were made prisoners of war by the Japanese. For two years, they were held in captivity, severely beaten, and mistreated until the Japanese surrender in August 1945. During Zamperini’s time at the Naoetsu POW camp in northern Japan, he was tormented by prison guard Mutsuhiro "The Bird" Watanabe. “The Bird” was later included in General Douglas MacArthur's list of the forty most wanted war criminals in Japan.

Zamperini’s story is an incredible story of the power of the human spirit that has been written about in the book Unbroken, which was also made into a major motion picture by the same name.

The Power of the Human Spirit: The Story of Jan Baalsrud

Jan Baalsrud’s own World War II story is another example of the power of the human spirit.  

When the German’s invaded Norway in 1940, Baalsrud fought in Vestfold. At one point during the war he later escaped Norway to neutral to Sweden. While in Sweden he was convicted of espionage and expelled from the country.

Baalsrud arrived in Great Britain in 1941 via the Soviet Union, Africa and the US. He joined the Norwegian Company Linge. In 1943, Baalsrud along with three other commandos and a boat crew of eight, went on a mission behind enemy lines to destroy a German airfield control tower at Bardufoss, as well as to recruit volunteers to join the Norwegian resistance.

The plan of Operation Martin was to have Baalsrud and his fellow soldiers meet with a resistance contact. Instead they accidentally connected with a Norwegian shopkeeper by the same name. Understandably, the shop keeper became fearful that this was a German test of his loyalty and was fearful of failing the test and being killed. Baalsrud and his fellow soldiers were reported to the Germans.

On March 29, 1943, the fishing boat they had been using, which contained their explosives was attacked by the Germans. Baalsrud and the others scuttled the boat and tried to flee in a small boat which the Germans were able to sink.

The Norwegian commandos swam ashore in the brutally frigid Arctic waters. All the men except Baalsrud were captured by the Germans. While soaking wet, missing one boot and trying to avoid capture Baalstrud escaped into a snow gully. A German Gestapo officer came upon him and Baalstrad shot and killed him.

For the next nine weeks Baalsrud would demonstrate one of the most incomprehensible tales of survival that gives testament to the power of the human spirit. For starters, his tale includes having his feet freeze solid, being buried up to his neck in an avalanche, wandering in a snowstorm for three days. Furthermore, he was burried alive in snow for four days as well as abandoned for five more days with no shelter. If that was not enough he spent two weeks alone in a cave. He amputated several of his own frostbitten toes with his own knife. Over the last few weeks of this mind-numbing ordeal, he was tied to a stretcher, with teams of villagers dragging him through the Norwegian wilderness. For two months he evaded the Germans all the while suffering from frostbite and snow blindness. He relied not only on the assistance of Norwegian patriots but the incredible power of the human spirit to stay alive.

Finally, fellow compatriots brought him to the border with Finland where was cared for by some of the native people of northern Fenno-Scandinavia. These people eventually brought him to where he was finally collected by a Red Cross seaplane and flown to Boden, Sweden where he spent seven months in a hospital before being flown back to Britain. As soon as he recovered his strength he went to Scotland to train other compatriots to continue their war against the Germans.

After the war ended Baalsrud was reunited with his family after being separated for five years. Baalsrud became an honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire and was awarded the St. Olav's medal with Oak Branch by his native Norway. Surely, this story testifies to the unyielding power of the human spirit.

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The Power of the Human Spirit: The Story of Daniel Kish

Another example of a person who exhibits the power of the human spirit is Daniel Kish who was born in 1966 in Montebello, California. When Kish was only 13 months old he had to have his eyes removed due to the development of eye cancer. Kish would not let these events become an obstacle in his life. He became the first totally blind person to be a legally Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist and to hold a National Blindness Professional Certification. What is truly remarkable is Kish’s expertise in human echolocation.

Echolocation is the ability to discern objects locations by sensing the echo from sound that bounces off of them. It is human radar. Kish is not only an expert in human echolocation but is the President of World Access for the Blind, a nonprofit organization he founded to promote"the self-directed achievement of people with all forms of blindness" and make the general public more aware of their strengths and capabilities. Kish has used this organization to instruct others in this amazing skill.

Because of the success in teaching others, a number of scientific studies on human echolocation have been done. Kish’s story is yet another powerful example of the amazing power of the human spirit.

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The Power of the Human Spirit: The Story of Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic’s life story is yet another of countless stories that give credence to the idea that no obstacle is beyond the power of the human spirit to overcome.  Vujicic was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1982. Nick was born no arms and no legs. His only appendage is what should have been a foot. The toes of his foot were fused, so doctors operated to separate so he could learn to use them as fingers to grab.

According to Nick he had suicidal thoughts as a boy. When he was seventeen, he was shown an article of a severely disabled woman praying, which led him to start giving talks. Nick Vujicic now has worldwide ministry, Life Without Limbs, that reaches millions of people annually.

Nick is married and the father of four children. His speeches and story touch the heart of millions around the globe and speaks to the power of the human spirit.

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