Chiefs Player Who Abandoned His Team Is The Real Winner Of Super Bowl LV

By | Food for thought, football, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, inspiring celebs, Motivation, sacrifice, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif missed the season that took his team to their second Super Bowl in two years to work as a doctor in a Montreal hospital.

And despite his team’s chance to win it all again on February 7, he’s at peace with his decision to help others.

He opted out due to COVID-19

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif blocked for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes when their team won the Super Bowl in 2020, but when it came time to go for a repeat, he became the first NFL player to opt out of the season due to COVID-19.

“This is one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life but I must follow my convictions and do what I believe is right for me personally,” Duvernay-Tardif said on Twitter.

“That is why I have decided to take the opt-out option.”

“If I am to take risks, I will do it caring for patients.”

He was on the frontlines

Before Duvernay-Tardif was drafted by the Chiefs in the sixth round, he studied medicine at McGill University in his hometown of Montreal.

When the pandemic hit, Duvernay-Tardif rushed home from a sailing trip in the Caribbean and volunteered to pitch in however he could. He was placed in a long-term care facility where he tended to patients who didn’t have coronavirus.

Since he hadn’t studied enough to be a full-on doctor, he did work that nurses do, like drawing blood, administering medications, and even feeding and bathing patients. He only worked a few days a week, but that’s all he could manage emotionally.

“I was working there two to three days a week, and I don’t see how I could have done more,” he told The Washington Post.

“Not necessarily from a scheduling standpoint but from an emotional standpoint. Those people that are there for the past 20 years, it’s crazy. I have so much respect for them. … The amount of sacrifice is unbelievable. I feel like I’m going to be a better physician down the road because of that experience. I understood what it was all about.”

Duvernay-Tardif recalled one young patient who had been in a terrible accident and due to COVID-19 protocols hadn’t been able to see family in months. Duvernay-Tardif noticed how not seeing his loved ones was hard on the patient, so he told him: “Come on, let’s find your wife’s number.”

He used his phone to call the man’s wife on FaceTime and when the couple saw each other’s faces for the first time in two months, they cried.

“You cry, too,” Duvernay-Tardif said. “What else is there to do?”

“The definition of what it means to be a hero changed because of those people.”

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

At peace with his decision

Despite the inherent risks of a football season — and the infections some teams, including his own, faced — Duvernay-Tardif always agreed that a season should take place, if only to simmer down the fierce political divisions in the United States. And it’s been hard to watch as his teammates reached the pinnacle of their sport yet again.

“It was never black or white,” he said of his decision to opt-out. “As the season progressed and the stakes are higher, I do miss football even more, especially now with the playoffs. There’s more than one way to look at it, and it’s not always simple.”

Duvernay-Tardif, who lost millions in contract money during the skipped season, wouldn’t say he has no regrets, but he is at peace with his decision.

“I felt it made sense to make that decision, in order to look back at 2020—five, 10 years from now—and be proud of myself,” he told TIME. “I’ve said no to money and the NFL season in order to care for patients.”

While Duvernay-Tardif is planning a long career in the medical field, he does hope to return to his team next season.

“I feel like something was taken a little bit away from me,” he said. “I still have some football left in me. I can be a doctor for the next 40 years. I still have the passion, and that’s why I’m working out on my patio at –15°[C].”

An honourable sacrifice

You can’t help but be in awe of Duvernay-Tardif, who is not only risking his career in the NFL, but also his own health being around a hospital taking in COVID-19 patients.

His sacrifice is yet another reminder to follow health guidelines and get vaccinated so we can bring an and to this pandemic and everybody can return to doing what they love.

It’s also a poignant testament to living with integrity, according to your own values and definition of success and excellence.

More inspiring celebrities:

7-Year-Old Boy Gets Bullied And Channels Pain Into Starting A Non-Profit

By | bullying, everyday heroes, Food for thought, inspiring, Motivation, stories, success, uplifting news

A boy who was bullied at school crushed it with kindness. Now he’s on a mission to help those in need and spread the power of positivity.

Seven-year-old Cavanaugh Bell of Gaithersburg, Maryland, still remembers the pain of being picked on.

“I was bullied for working faster than others,” he told People. “At one point I asked my mom if she would be sad if I died.”

I had the darkness inside me and I didn’t want kids to feel the same way I felt

Cavanaugh Bell

Channeling pain into purpose

However, instead of bottling up the hurt, he channeled his pain into purpose and positive impact. Using his own savings, Bell started putting together and distributing care packages containing food and other essentials to his elderly neighbors in need during COVID.

It turns out that making smiles can be pretty addictive.

The more I gave back to my community, the more I wanted to keep doing it

Cavanaugh Bell

Recruiting his mom, Llacey Simmons, to help “spread love and positivity”, Bell created a GoFundMe page to promote his cause.  Donations poured in.

Thanks to a space offered by a local gym, Bell kicked off the “LOVE is greater than COVID-19” Community Pantry. With the extra space, he was able to not only keep more seniors safe, but also spread the good vibes beyond his community.

Helping a nation

Bell remembered a road trip to Mt. Rushmore with his mom, when they passed through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, considered one of the poorest areas in America.

She had told him that some were without electricity or running water. Worse, the population is stricken with high rates of alcoholism and suicide. For Bell — also part Native American — that was unacceptable. 

it’s not fair that we’re having great and happy life when they’re suffering in the middle of nowhere

Cavanaugh Bell

With the help of his mom and scores of generous donors, he hired a driver and loaded up a 53-foot truck chalk full of clothing and essentials for the people of Pine Ridge.

For seven-year-old Bell, the mission is simple. “I’m just trying to make them have a big fat smile on their face.”

A mission to end bullying

And it’s just the beginning.

Bell also founded his own non-profit called Cool and Dope, where he sits as its Chief Positivity Creator.

Bell has set the ambitious goal to end all bullying worldwide by 2030. At this point, is there any reason to doubt him?

Cavanaugh believes he can save the world, and I believe him! He doesn’t see anything as a challenge and that’s what I love about his innocence

Alice Phelps, director of ‘First Families Now’ and member of  Pine Ridge Community

Positivity can move mountains

Bell’s organization has raised over $30,000, and has helped over 10,000 people with food and essential COVID supplies.

And to think it all started with a moment of empathy during his darkest time. Who else might be feeling this way, and how can I help?

Bell’s response to injustice proves that acts of kindness, once set in motion, can be an unstoppable force.

I just wanna teach people they can have an impact no matter their age — no matter if you’re 8, 10, or even my grandma’s age, 74 — you can do anything!

Cavanaugh Bell

More uplifting news:

After Nearly Dying, This Man Lost Over 250 Pounds And Went After His Dream

By | emotional health, Food for thought, inspiring, mindset, Motivation, physical health, stories, success stories

When John Arpino woke up in the hospital in 2015, following a major asthma attack that nearly killed him, he vowed to lose weight and transform his life. 

At the time, he weighed 500 pounds.

I remember being petrified. I was going to die in my house at 22-years-old.

John Arpino in Daily Mail

As a child, John couldn’t train because of his asthma

Soon after he was born, John developed severe asthma and allergies for which he started being treated for at the age of two.

As a kid, he spent several Halloween nights at the hospital and his condition prevented him from participating in physical activity.

“I was constantly bullied from a young age until I graduated high school. I couldn’t walk around school because of my weight,” John remembered. 

I had to be given a key to the elevator in school because I couldn’t walk up and down the stairs, and I had to write book reports instead of participating in gym class.

John Arpino

John struggled with low self-esteem and hated the way he looked and felt. His weight stopped him from going to college after his high school graduation, because he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to get around campus or fit behind the desks.

But then, he had a major wake-up call

After his grandmother passed away in early 2015, John fell into a deep depression and coped with food and drinking, but that all changed when he had a massive asthma attack he almost didn’t survive.

“I couldn’t take a breath, it was like every bit of air was trapped inside my lungs while the weight of the whole world rested upon my chest,” remembered John. 

I couldn’t speak, sweat started to pour from every part of my body. Somehow I was able to scream for my parents to call an ambulance.

John Arpino

Paramedics apologized to John while they put him on a stretcher, just as slipped in and out of consciousness.

“I remember looking at the clock above the door of the ambulance and praying to God and to my grandmother who had recently passed that February for another chance. I knew I had messed up,” he said.

He took his second chance seriously

Once he regained consciousness, he knew he was running out of options and committed to changing his ways.

My life was spared so it was time to make those changes I promised.

John Arpino

As soon as he could, John started going to the gym regularly and was able to lose 80 pounds, but his asthma kept getting in the way of his progress and he went back on steroids after another attack.

When he realized he wouldn’t be able to lose all the weight he wanted to on his own, John made the life-changing decision to undergo gastric sleeve surgery, in November 2016.

The surgery helped him drop down to 252 pounds from his initial 500 and John’s learned not to take life for granted.

The best part? How he feels about himself

“I am a totally different person now, I love life, I love challenges and I love proving myself and other people wrong and rewriting my life story,” he said. 

“My health has improved dramatically, I no longer have high blood pressure or sleep apnoea, and my asthma is pretty much non-existent.”

His transformation journey has allowed him to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a professional wrestler and has since performed in several shows, calling the experience “the thrill of his life.”

He’s documented his journey on instagram to keep himself accountable along the way, but also uses his platform to inspire others who are struggling to lose weight.

“Honestly it’s the greatest feeling in the world being able to inspire others because I know when I was at my lowest, I needed someone like my current self to guide me, to show me things were possible when I didn’t think they were,” said John.

“’My major goal in life is to help show everyone that the ‘impossible’ doesn’t exist, and you can truly have anything you want in life and pursue every single dream and break every goal, that’s the only thing that matters to me.”

More inspiring transformations:

Dad Suffers Through 30-Hour Tattoo To Help Son Feel More Comfortable In His Skin

By | fathers, Food for thought, Motivation, parenting, self-confidence, stories, uplifting, uplifting news

Eight-year-old Derek Prue was self-conscious about the birthmark on his stomach and chest. So much so that he wouldn’t go swimming without a shirt on.

So Derek’s dad, Derek Sr., did something drastic — and the story will put a smile on your face.

A big surprise from dad

Derek was swimming in a hotel swimming pool with his sisters when his dad called out. Derek looked over at his father and dipped back into the pool with a smile on his face when he saw what happened. Derek Sr. had gotten a huge tattoo to replicate the birthmark on his son’s torso.

“I was happy and I was a little confused,” the young Derek told CBC Edmonton. “I didn’t know he was going to do that.”

Derek’s dad saw how uncomfortable his birthmark made him and didn’t like that his son wore a shirt in the pool to cover it up — so he got the tattoo.

“I knew he was self-conscious about it… I saw how he was reacting, and it made me want to do it so that he wouldn’t be the only one.”

Derek Prue Sr. told CBC.

A good deed, punished

The tattoo was a complete surprise for the eight-year-old — and the procedure was a surprise for Prue too.

When he first came into the studio for the tattoo, he thought the artist would be done after three or four hours, but by that point only the outline was finished.

“He’s been through the wringer sitting for that,” said tattoo artist Tony Gibbert, owner of the studio where Prue had the work done. “It’s pretty painful.”

In all, the tattoo took 30 hours of work over six to eight weeks.

“I’m kind of glad I didn’t know how long it was going to take,” Prue said.

The artist was happy to contribute

“I think it’s amazing to be able to comfort your son like that,” Gibbert said.

“It’s more than just your kid seeing your name, or something, you get to actually, like, really change the way he feels about himself.

Tattoo artist Tony Gibbert told CBC.

“Just being able to go swimming with his dad and take off his shirt and be happy and comfortable. I’m happy I get to be part of it, in a small way I get to help with what he’s trying to do.”

No regrets

Did the tattoo work? It seems so.

When asked by his mother if he’ll now swim without a shirt, little Derek said: “Whenever Daddy’s there I can take the shirt off.”

As for Prue, despite the painful tattoo he has no regrets.

“Now we have the same marks for life.”

It’s hard being a kid. It’s also hard being a parent when you know your child is lacking confidence.

If you’re a parent, you can’t always shield your children from the unexpected things in life, but you can make them feel special.

More uplifting news:

How To Tell If Someone Has A Truly Toxic Personality, According To Science

By | dating, family, Food for thought, friends, Motivation, narcissism, personality, relationships, self, self-development, Self-Improvement, stories, toxic people, toxic relationships, uplifting news

Your friend or someone you know has gotten fired from every job they’ve ever had. Their dates always flake on them and their friends always betray them. The common theme: it’s never their fault and if you press them on it you’re the one to blame.

According to a team of psychologists in Israel, these types of people may have a toxic personality disorder called “tendency for interpersonal victimhood” (TIV), which they describe as “an ongoing feeling that the self is a victim, which is generalized across many kinds of relationships.”

People with TIV wholly and truly believe they are never wrong and that their victimhood is a core part of their identity.

How to tell if someone ‘plays the victim?’

Not everyone who feels victimized is toxic. Bad things do happen and it’s okay to be upset about it.

Rather, TIV occurs when someone constantly feels like a victim and they bring others down with them.

Rahav Gabay and her colleagues determined that people with TIV tend to have four dimensions:

Constantly seeking recognition

Of all the allegedly horrible things that happen to someone with TIV, people never apologize to them. Worse, they don’t even acknowledge their wrongdoing.

While apologies can be hard to come by, this only becomes an issue when the person who plays the victim is in desperate search of recognition for the supposed bad things that are done to them.

A sense of moral elitism

People with TIV are never wrong. In fact, their moral compass is better than everyone else’s and they use this assumption to manipulate others into their own perspective.

This behavior may be a defense mechanism as a way to maintain a positive self-image.

Lack of empathy for others

Everything that happens to TIV people is the absolute worst and no one else’s pain or suffering matters, or so they think. This can especially be toxic in a relationship as TIV people only care about their own problems, never others’.

The route of this behavior can be that since the person believes they have suffered so much, they don’t think anyone else deserves empathy for their suffering.

This lack of empathy can also show up in a group or national level in the form of “competitive victimhood” or an “egoism of victimhood” where members of a group cannot see things from another group’s perspective.

Rumination about past victimization

Since romantic relationships never worked out in the past for TIV people, there’s no chance they’ll work in the future. This is a fallacy as the past doesn’t dictate the future, but it’s a core belief of people who always play the victim.

Always ruminating about past grievances and thinking it reflects the future is something perpetual victims tend to do.

Why TIV is toxic

People who always play the victim are extremely difficult to deal with because they’re selfish and never wrong.

They’re also obsessed with seeking revenge for those who’ve wronged them and may punish others who had nothing to do with it just because they’ve been wronged before.

Forgiving is part of growth

We all play the victim from time to time. Sometimes bad things really do happen to us and it makes us sour.

The problem is when the victimhood because constant and when the person never learns from their mistakes. It’s also problematic when they never forgive others – you don’t know what everyone is going through and nobody’s perfect.

Ultimately, the problem with playing the victim is it doesn’t allow you to learn or grow from the past. If you don’t acknowledge your faults, how can you make adjustments for the future?

If you know someone who’s always playing a victim, it might be time to reduce your relationship with them or have a frank discussion about it. Life is too short to be surrounded by toxic people.

More uplifting stories:

This Man Lost Almost 200 Pounds In a Fight For His Life

By | Food for thought, inspiring, Motivation, stories, success stories

After being forced to buy two seats on a plane because of his size, Dr. Ross Gardner knew it was time to completely transform his life.

At 28, Ross, from Florida, weighed nearly 400 pounds and doctors gave him less than three years to live.

“Needless to say, these two events really made me rethink how I was living my life,” he told Men’s Health.

Graduation changed his life…not for the best

Following his college graduation in 2000, Ross went on to gain over 200 pounds over the next few years, which he now recognizes happened because of his unhealthy habits at the time, which included daily McDonalds.

Another major obstacle for me starting to lose weight was alcohol. I drank excessively every day for years.

Ross remembered there came a point where he drank almost a liter of whisky each night.

“I was drinking and eating close to 15,000 calories a night,” he admitted.

His diet became out of control, and like many, Ross thought his only way out was a crash weight loss plan, but to overhaul his unhealthy lifestyle, he needed more.

“At that point in my life, the only diet I had ever known was the Atkins diet,” he said.

He couldn’t train for more than 5 minutes at a time

Gardner decided to take another route though, and began educating himself on proper forms of exercise and nutrition. 

He ditched his beloved daily McDonald’s breakfasts and replaced them with white omelettes and broccoli, and traded his video game addiction for a gym membership, which was no easy feat.

At first, I could only go to the gym for five minutes at a time.

But once the weight started melting off, Ross noticed a shift.

“It really opened my eyes to the true nature of people,” he said. “My experiences certainly lead me to believe that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”

Feeling energized and empowered, he persevered and once he’d established a routine, he was eating six to nine times a day, with small meals that averaged 1600 to 2600 calories a day, a tiny fraction of what he was used to eating previously.

Watch this Goalcast video if you need pure, unbridled motivation:

Inner work was also integral to his transformation

Not only did he give up alcohol and junk food, to become a gym aficionado, Gardner also attended behavioral therapy to explore his compulsive eating.

In just 10 months, Ross lost almost 200 pounds and once he reached a healthy weight, he underwent surgery to remove excess skin.

Today, he helps other people with their weight goals through his chiropractic practice and recognizes that it’s not always an easy process.

He keeps pushing through the negative thoughts

But Ross is very candid about the lasting effects of his transformation journey. Yes, he does feel better but he reveals that he still battles with daily struggles.

I still suffer from body image disorder. To clarify, when looking in the mirror I don’t see a morbidly obese person anymore, but certainly I don’t see what others see.

Ross Gardner on Instagram

However, he has learned to keep pushing through the negative thinking.

“I still struggle day in and day out with wanting to over-eat. If I do have a bad day or a bad meal I just move onto the next and I don’t beat myself up,” Ross said.

At the end of the day, “We only have one body. It’s very important we treat what we do have with respect.”

Give yourself a chance

Ross’ transformation started with choosing to live. It was a conscious decision that came with a lot of commitment, both physical and mental. And yes, losing the weight is only one facet of the journey–the inner work is just as important.

Whatever you decide to battle in your life, make sure to truly give yourself a chance by avoiding being too harsh on yourself.

More inspiring transformations:

This Is Why Lenny Kravitz’ Exes Still Love Him To This Day

By | Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, Motivation, stories

Handsome, talented, stylish, effortlessly cool — Lenny Kravitz has been blowing our minds for over thirty-five years. He’s a rockstar through and through; just one glance at the actor today would tell you everything you need to know about his persona. But unlike other rockstars, Lenny doesn’t bother with the bad-boy act. 

He’s dated some of the most famous women in Hollywood but he’s very rarely come under controversy for his relationships. In fact, some of his relationships proved to be so solid that his exes have nothing but positive words for the singer. 

In a land where celebrities are throwing dirt on each other on the daily, it’s genuinely refreshing to see someone who’s managed to remain in the good graces of all his exes. Moreover, it’s even more common for female celebrities to recall their past relationships with horror. 

Whereas many describe their ex-partners as abusive, rude, or temperamental, Lenny Kravitz stands out as someone who truly values his romantic connections, regardless of how they pan out. Therefore, it’s key that everyone takes a look at Lenny’s behaviour as an ex-boyfriend and takes some notes for their own relationships. 

Nicole Kidman said she still “loves” him 

Many don’t know this but Nicole Kidman had dated and even gotten engaged to Lenny Kravitz in the early 2000s. They had managed to keep this fairly under wraps at the time, so when news broke out more than a decade later that it was indeed Lenny who had taken Nicole’s heart following her divorce from Tom Cruise, questions surfaced. 

Was there something that had happened between the two of them that led to the burying of the relationship? The truth couldn’t be further from that assumption. In 2017, when Nicole Kidman worked with Lenny’s daughter Zoe Kravitz on Big Little Lies, she was asked about the experience. Thankfully, there is no bad blood between the pair.

Well, I knew Zoe because I was engaged to her father. It’s all in the family! I love Lenny; he’s a great guy. 

Nicole Kidman on Porter Magazine 

In another instance, Nicole, Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie went to the Ellen Degeneres show and played ‘Who Would You Rather’ game as a way to jokingly pair up Charlize with another celebrity. When Lenny Kravitz’s name popped up, Nicole once again spoke about her love for Lenny. 

I love Lenny. I so recommend him. He’s lovely. 

The love doesn’t only flow from one side either. Lenny also said about Nicole, “She will always be someone in my life.”

Why did the relationship fall through in the first place? Your guess is as good as ours. In a 2007 Vanity Fair interview, Nicole Kidman spoke of a mysterious fiance, saying that “it wasn’t right” to get married to them because the pair “weren’t ready.” 

The fact that two people in a relationship can realize as a couple that they’re not meant for each other but still continue to have a beautiful friendship with one another proves that breakups don’t have to be messy. Sometimes all it takes is a tough but rewarding conversation that resets the boundaries in the relationship. You might take your relationship to the next level, or you might figure out that you’re better off as friends. 

Lenny and his ex-wife Lisa Bonet still profess to be “best friends” 

Lenny’s relationship with ex Lisa Bonet is unlike anything Hollywood’s ever seen. His friendship with Nicole may be pleasant and sweet but his everlasting bond with Lisa can only be described as exceptional. The two got hitched at a young age and had their daughter Zoe shortly after. They divorced in 1993 and Lisa went on to marry and have two children with actor Jason Momoa. 

What could’ve been a messy family situation has turned into a force of nature. Speaking on the relationship, Lenny said that though certain moments have been difficult, he’s been able to patch things up with Lisa and has been able to form a true friendship with her.

You go through a marriage with somebody, you break up and it’s very difficult. But [Lisa and I] put the work in and we took the time so that we could become best friends again. Our families are blended. 

Lenny Kravitz On The Times

Lisa Bonet on her part echoed the same thought when talking about her divorce. Their daughter was only about five when they split, so the pair had to be extra careful about parenting their daughter. That’s why Lisa chose to be amicable with Lenny — their daughter came first and they had to learn to rebuild their friendship for her sake.

Lisa said on Porter Magazine:

I didn’t want to pass on those heirlooms and this fresh wound of a divorce. … I think there are probably times when these thresholds can either sink you, or you can see who you are and rise and dust yourself off.

Lisa also confirmed that the whole family — Lisa, Lenny, Jason, Zoey — work well together to maintain their lovely blended family. “It’s fantastic. It’s full-on family love,” she said. 

Indeed, the entire Kravitz-Bonet-Momoa clan is so well-adjusted that Lenny has even been able to build an awesome, loving relationship with Jason. The pair have become friends or “brothers”, as they put it, so much so that they’re constantly posting birthday tributes to one another and have even professed that they “love” each other. 

Watch this Goalcast video on why Lenny Kravitz feared Jason Momoa:

Relationships can end but love doesn’t have to 

Here’s what your ex, and you, can learn from Lenny Kravitz: it can be worth it to maintain good relations with former partners. Of course, in certain situations, especially where abuse or disloyalty or other horrific situations are concerned, it may be best to forget your exes and leave them in the rearview mirror. But if it’s at all possible to do so, then it can be a good thing to have something of a bond with the ex. Not only do you gain a friend for life, someone who knows you to a tee, but you also get to add more love to your life. 

Relationships come and go, as they always do. Such is the rule of life but the idea of having animosity or even ‘awkwardness’ with your exes for no reason has to go. Just because the relationship didn’t work out doesn’t mean you should leave someone in the dust. The same romantic love can transform into a platonic one, and both your lives could be better as a result of that. The same attributes needed to hold a relationship together — empathy, understanding, and love — can be deployed to keep a friendship alive through thick and thin. If Lenny Kravitz can do it with ease, no one is stopping you or your ex. 

More inspiring celebrities:

Shia LaBeouf: Child Actor Gone Wrong Or Man Living His Authentic Life?

By | Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, Motivation, stories

Where do we begin with Shia LaBeouf? If you haven’t been following the actor’s journey over the last couple of years, then it’s safe to say that you might have missed out on a lot of strange developments. But only amidst the strange and the wild do you find truly fascinating individuals. 

Many people would recognize Shia as a delightful child actor, wowing us with his charms and smarts in the likes of Holes and Even Stevens. Then he promptly made the jump from Disney Channel material to Hollywood franchise blockbusters, such as leading roles in the Transformers series and Indiana Jones. He was promised to be the next dashing, A-list actor; everything was in order for him to take the mantle and rule over our hearts. 

But somewhere down the line, it all fell apart. It’d have been easy enough to attribute it to one obvious factor, such as drugs or alcohol, but it was a much more gradual, unorthodox downfall.

In fact, when you truly examine the details of how his career has evolved in the last few years, you might not even see it as a downfall at all. But for all the crazy incidents and outbursts, the man’s also been able to emerge from the shambles to create a life for himself that’s as pure and wonderful as anyone else’s. 

He declared that he was retiring from public life after getting busted for plagiarizing 

As mentioned earlier, like many other former child actors, Shia has had his own share of legal troubles. The actor was first arrested in 2005 for yielding a deadly weapon in a confrontation with his neighbor. Unfortunately, that was the first of many arrests for the actor.

His alcoholism led to a trespassing arrest in 2007, a misdemeanor DUI the following year, a disorderly conduct charge in 2014, and a monumental arrest in 2017 that seemingly changed his life. 

But before we delve into those public breakdowns, we must first tackle the incident that really looks to be the tipping point in hindsight. In December 2013, Shia released a short film on the internet called that he directed himself.

He’d always shared a love for film-making, which continues till date. However, shortly after the film’s release, the internet figured out that large chunks of the film were completely plagiarized from a comic created by artist Dan Clowes in 2007.

Shia wasn’t just inspired by Clowes’ work; he was accused of ripping off the story word-by-word, leaving no doubt in peoples’ minds that Shia was a fraudster in many ways. 

The actor confessed to the plagiarism on social media but the damage had already been done. Shia’s apologies were simultaneously not enough and overboard. An outlet accused him of copying one of his apologies from a Yahoo Answers posts. And in another instance, he got a skywriting plane to write his apology on the Los Angeles skies. 

Hollywood has proved that it can handle celebrities lashing out by means of alcohol-related arrests and bust-ups with fellow actors but being a so-called ‘cheat’ and ‘desperate weirdo’ almost immediately landed a heavy blow to Shia’s career. He was even served with a cease-and-desist letter from Clowes.

On January 10, 2014, Shia tweeted, “In light of the recent attacks against my artistic integrity, I am retiring from all public life. My love goes out to those who have supported me.”

A month later, the actor showed up a red carpet event, wearing a paper bag over his head that read “I am not famous anymore.” 

He is both a witness and survivor of sexual assault 

The paper bag incident was later revealed to be a performance art project called #IAMSORRY; the project involved members of the public lining up to meet and greet the actor as he wore the paper bag.

Shia also revealed that a woman had begun to sexually assault him during one of these events. She was stopped and taken away, but the assault caused unspoken trauma for the actor, especially as the story spread like wildfire among his inner circle. 

Additionally, painful revelations about Shia’s childhood came to light after he was arrested and sent to mandatory rehab a couple of years back in 2017.

He was arrested for public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, and obstruction in Savannah, Georgia. But that wasn’t all — gossip publication TMZ secured bodycam footage that depicted Shia hurling out a provocative, obscene and racially-charged tirade towards the arresting officers.

Things turned from bad to worse for the actor, and he was given probation for one year and was sent to a rehabilitation facility to manage his anger management and substance abuse issues. 

I just looked at capitalism as the reason my family didn’t work out and the reason their marriage failed. I looked at it as an economic thing. They loved each other deeply, and all of their fighting came from money, and so I just thought, ‘Well, if we had money, there’d be no fighting and I’d have a family. This is what created this hustle in me.

Shia LaBeouf to Hollywood Reporter

That may have been his lowest point but it was a major wake-up call for the actor. He subsequently learned some key lessons about himself and his behavior during rehab. 

When Shia was a child, he overheard his mother getting raped by a man. He has to listen to his mom describe horrid details of the rape in a sheriff’s office, an experience that plagued him for a very long time. It paved the way for massive anger-related offenses to substance abuse issues on his part, ranging from picking fights in schools to knocking out Tom Hardy in a movie set. 

Shia revealed he was diagnosed with PTSD as soon as he arrived in the facility. His time there allowed him to get in touch with himself and realize that not all hope was lost for himself or his family. It wasn’t just possible to find himself again and turn his life around; he could finally begin to understand himself as a product of his upbringing and circumstances. 

I’ve got to look at my failures in the face for a while. I need to take ownership and clean up my side of the street a bit before I can go out there and work again, so I’m trying to stay creative and learn from my mistakes. I’ve been falling forward for a long time. Most of my life. The truth is, in my desperation, I lost the plot.

Shia LaBeouf to Esquire

His rehab treatment helped him become his most creative, honest self

Witnessed his mother’s rape made Shia incredibly protective and trigger-ready when it came to confrontations but his fraught relationship with his alcohol-abusing, heroin-addicted father may have played a part in his addictions too. 

But there always comes a point in a person’s life when they have to decide whether or not they’re going to continue letting their trauma define and affect every single aspect of their behavior. The same violent frenzies that allowed him to shine as an actor also produced immense pain and suffering for himself and his loved ones. 

A whole set of new insights emerged during his therapy exercises. These thoughts flooding into his head invoked him to reach down into his creative mind, and thus he wrote a script based on his own life.

The script follows his complicated relationship with his father; it specifically sheds light on key moments in Shia’s childhood that have led to the man he is today. The script was adapted into a feature film last year called Honey Boy, based on a nickname given to Shia by his father. Shia himself played the role of his adult father in the film. 

Finding your authentic self is hard work but worth it

Shia has seen and been through a lot in his life, and there is no doubt that his trauma and struggles will haunt him in some way or the other for the rest of his life. Like most of us, he too was subjected to incidents and experiences that were largely outside of his control. And unfortunately, his worse impulses kicked in and he took to violent behavior as a way to mask his most inner vulnerabilities. 

But between the strange performance projects and the rehab-influenced screenwriting, Shia finally discovered what it means to be a human.

Our lives are riddled with complications but that doesn’t mean that we can’t find a way to release those powerful emotions into healthy positive behaviors that actively help us and those around us. It’s really beautiful and rewarding to be able to acknowledge and work through those negative impulses and come out on the other side with a renewed sense of appreciation.

Being able to turn our lives around and live as honestly as possible is one of the most phenomenal aspects of humanity if you really think about it.

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The Hidden Role Kobe Bryant Played in Richard Sherman’s Super Bowl Comeback

By | Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, Motivation, stories

Richard Sherman is a fiery, at times controversial figure in the world of the American football but he there is something to be said about the 49ers’ cornerback’s inspirational tenacity.

As we dangerously approach the 54th Super Bowl, it is worth taking a look at Sherman’s comeback on the scene after invalidating Achilles injury in 2017. The truth is, the man’s strength extends beyond his prowesses on the field and we can learn much from his outlook on overcoming sometimes debilitating obstacles.

The recent passing of Kobe Bryant, the legendary basketball player, was especially hard on Sherman. The news found at him at what was supposed to be a happy, celebratory time. He had just arrived in Miami, where the Super Bowl is to take place, with the rest of his team and was sleeping when the 49ers’ general manager John Lynch broke the news to him.

But in the light of the upcoming, long awaited Super Bowl, Sherman still found a bittersweet strength in his mourning for Kobe, who was a friend and mentor to him.

A childhood in a rough, violent neighborhood

Sherman grew up in the midst of inner city poverty, in Compton, California. The streets were unpredictable, as an old neighbor told NBC Sports. “The Shermans never knew exactly what they would see outside their home at any hour of the day or night,” he said.

Richard’s father, Kevin Sherman, worked 27 years as a refuse collector truck operator. His job allowed him the time to be coaching sports to kids in the afternoons. Both him and his wife Beverly, never sheltered their kids from the realities of their environment.

Our kids saw all of [violence]. In return, those people we call friends are helping us teach our kids the ins and outs of what is not to be done out here. The streets have a different way of life, so we want to make sure you know both sides.

Kevin Sherman to NBC

Perhaps, his parents’ approach to his upbringing has allowed Richard to become the bold force that he is today. The uncertainty of life in such a neighborhood was something Richard refused to allow in his mindset.

“He had his own little world going on,” said Veretta Elmore, mother of Jason President, an old friend of Richard’s. He just knew what he wanted from the time he was young.”

Richard always wanted to be a professional athlete and despite the obstacles that faced inner city kids, he never lost track of his goal. At school, he was a high achiever. He knew he needed to score a scholarship, as his parents would not be able to afford paying for all of their three children.

He finished high school with a 4.2 GPA. And yes, he did more than beat the odds of inner city upbringing–he was granted an athletic scholarship to attend Stanford University where he pursued an undergraduate degree in communication. Evidently, Richard joined the Stanford Cardinals football team and played with them from 2006 to 2010.

Not long after, in 2011, he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. The rest is history.

How Kobe Bryant taught him the ‘Mamba Mentality’

In 2017, Richard’s season with the Seahawks was interrupted by a rupture of his right Achilles. It was the end of his time with the team and the beginning of a process of recovery that paved his comeback.

Surprisingly, a large part of his coming back is owed to Kobe Bryant. Richard had seen Kobe finish a game with the same injury.

I saw him do it. I saw him make two free throws with a torn Achilles. And once I tore mine, I knew I had to walk it off.

Richard Sherman to San Francisco Chronicles

Sherman even attributed his perseverance, at the time of the injury, to Kobe Bryant, who was known for his relentless drive to win and excel.

Richard grew up watching the Los Angeles Lakers and he was a huge fan of the team. As he watched the basketball games with his grandmother, he soon elected Kobe Bryant as his idol.

The first time he met the legendary Kobe Bryant was for a Nike photoshoot, after the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII. They bonded at that time but Richard’s injury is what brought them closer.

Since Kobe had gone through the same injury, he was able to help out Richard throughout the rehabilitation process. He received a call from the Mamba himself.

When I first called to check on him I said, ‘Are you all right, I want to make sure you are not being a baby about it?’

Kobe Bryant to ESPN

Richard took Kobe’s advice to heart–after all it was the advice of a legend–and he admitted how helpful it was to ESPN.

He gave me some pointers and things I needed to do early on in the process to make sure that I expedited the healing process and I was more proactive than reactive. I think that was one of the big things.

Richard Sherman

Not only was the healing process successful, it represented the paving of Richard’s great comeback. His career with the Seahawks over, it was time for a new phase. He surprised everyone by negotiating a $39 million contract for himself as a free agent, only aided by his wife, with the San Francisco 49ers. He joined them in 2018. Most people frowned at this bold move.

Two years later, he is playing the Super Bowl.

Two different sports but the same spirit

Being his own agent and negotiating his own contract raised many eyebrows; there was skepticism surrounding his risky power move. Yet, Richard didn’t see it that way.

You talk about risk like I’m out there being reckless. If I decide to jump a route or bait a quarterback, it’s something I’ve studied, thought about and weighed the consequences long before doing it. Don’t call it risky and assume that just by being an athlete I got away with it. I trust what I know.

Richard Sherman to The Washington Post

The thing is, the man is both “street-wise and book smart, “savvy and stubborn” as Jerry Brewer, a columnist for The Washington Post who has been covering Sherman for years, affirmed. It is easy to see him as just any other athlete but as we know by now, the truth of his story is much, much different.

And this difference was recognized by no other than Kobe himself, who saw in Richard, the same fire and determination that had moved the legend throughout his career.

His mentality is what separates him. From being overlooked, from being kind of thought of as someone who won’t be able to maximize his potential, I think he uses that as fuel to drive him and propel him. I’m excited for him to come back and show the world what he’s got, man. It’s going to be awesome.

Kobe Bryant to ESPN

Yes, Sherman managed to overcome all the odds perceived to be against him. What Kobe saw in him manifested in real life and ended up being proving that these two friends had the same strong will in common. As Sherman said, “We’re different animals but the same beast.”

The ‘Mamba Mentality’ lives on

Needless to say that Kobe’s death, only a week before Super Bowl LIV was to take place was a blow for his friend, Richard. “He was a friend of mine,” Sherman said on Super Bowl Night. “He was a mentor. He meant a lot to this world. He made a positive impact, and there is nothing that I can say to really quantify his impact on myself and on others.”

On Instagram, Richard honored the late Kobe Bryant through a touching post, whom he considered a “genuine human being.”

However, he found one glimmer of light through the grief, inherited from Kobe’s friendship and the strength of his character.

I was kind of down, I was in the dumps, and then I just thought about what he would tell me. He would tell me, ‘Stop being a baby. And man up.’ And play it, and do it in his honor and win this game for him. And that’s what we’re going to try to do. I’m going to go out there and try to play some dominating ball, just like he wanted. The Mamba Mentality lives on.

Richard Sherman to ESPN

Whatever the outcome of the Super Bowl LIV, we can count on Richard Sherman bringing his full potential to the field. With his own determination, the same trait that has catapulted him into the unquestionable force that he is today, and the will to honor his late friend, it is impossible to doubt his upcoming performance.

While he may no longer be with us, Kobe’s impact on the world, whether friends or fans, is undeniable. He left an indelible trace on this earth and his legacy will continue to impact generations.

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Jennifer Lopez Didn’t Settle for Being Backup — and Neither Should You

By | Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, Motivation, stories, success stories

What’s Jennifer Lopez’s secret to success? Hard work. We’ve seen this lady singing, dancing and acting for almost 30 years. She didn’t stop when she was overly criticized and she’s definitely not going to stop now.

We see so many entertainers come and go. In the entertainment industry, if you don’t bring on your best game and keep it at a high level as years go by, you’re doomed to fail. A lot of artists sparkled for a brief moment and then they just disappeared, like they never existed in the first place. One day we’re singing their song, and the next we don’t even remember the artist’s name.

Well, this is certainly not the case with Jennifer Lopez. She started where many others did, people told her to quit, but she’s striven harder than many to prove her worth, and now her efforts are highly rewarded. She went from backup dancer to a Super Bowl performer.

The beginning of a blossoming career

Some people just know what they want to do for a living, but the secret is to stick to your ambitions. Young Jennifer took up dancing and singing lessons ever since she was five years old. She grew up in the Bronx, sharing a bed with her two sisters and her family couldn’t afford to offer her too much.

Jennifer had to take her fate into her own hands.Against all obstacles, she commuted downtown to Manhattan on the 6 train to take dance lessons. She moved out of her family’s apartment, took a job at a law firm while she took dancing jobs at night.

You simply cannot picture J Lo standing in a corner and just singing. No matter how slow the rhythm is, she’ll still find a way to show us her dancing skills. And if the song doesn’t allow it, well… there’s no such thing for Lopez. She’s got the moves for any type of song.

Even though she is a complete artist, most people refer to her as a singer, but her breakthrough was actually as a dancer on the popular Fox comedy television series In Living Color. She was one of the “Fly Girls.”

There’s tape out there somewhere, for sure., J Lo told Jay Leno in 2011.

She was also a backup dancer for New Kids on the Block and Janet Jackson. Anybody would have found the opportunity to work with Janet Jackson a career highlight but it was not enough for Jennifer, who knew she deserved the centerstage.

She was supposed to do the entire tour with Janet Jackson, but instead, she decided to opt out because she knew she could do way better than that. Had she not taken that valiant decision, the world may never have known the Jennifer Lopez that we have today.

Acting and singing

Before she was releasing her own music, Jennifer Lopez portrayed the Latina superstar Selena in the classic biopic. The role was uniquely emotional since Selena had died only two years prior to the film. This musical lead became Lopez’s breakout role and paved her way to a long lasting music career. She seized every opportunity and leveled it up.

My business philosophy is that you have to work harder than everybody else. I always tell my kids and they’re like, ‘Yeah, we know you work hard.’ I’m like, ‘No, it’s not just that I work hard. I put in harder work than everybody else. I work harder and harder and harder and harder. When everybody is sleeping, I’m doing more.’ It’s just a relentless pursuit of creativity.

Jennifer Lopez to Variety

Her first music album, On the 6 (1999), was a massive success and we really don’t need the charts to prove it. Twenty years later, we still know all the lyrics of If you Had my Love or Waiting for Tonight, and we still dance like crazy on Let’s Get Loud. The album’s success allowed Lopez to evolve into an icon of pop culture in the years after its release.

Lopez also had to overcome discrimination and double standards on her way to stardom. Very early in my career I dealt with a lot of stuff like that,” she told Variety. “Not getting the passes that men get when they’re misbehaving or doing whatever.”

I was never someone to misbehave, but you’re late and you’re chastised in front of the whole crew and you’re the lead of the movie. The male lead is late and nobody says anything.

Jennifer Lopez to Variety

Despite Lopez didn’t stop to take a break — she constantly improved and reinvented herself showing us that age is just a number. The woman can sing, dance, act and she’s just as fiery as she was 20 years ago.

How the ‘Google Image Search’ was born

Remember the iconic green chiffon Versace dress Lopez wore to the 2000 Grammy Awards? Probably yes, since she recently wore it again at SNL looking just as gorgeous as she did 20 years ago.

Now, we don’t want to just mention a dress that Jennifer Lopez looked stunning in, since she’s had so many other iconic outfits. But back in 2000, the photograph of her wearing the dress was the look that launched a thousand Google searches. And that, was how Google Image Search was born.

At the time, it was the most popular search query we had ever seen. But we had no surefire way of getting users exactly what they wanted: J.­Lo wearing that dress. Google Image Search was born.

Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt to GQ

Not even a tumultuous love life could stop her

While Jennifer is now in a beautiful relationship with Alex Rodriguez, a former professional baseball player and couldn’t be happier, her love life was not always picture perfect.

Back in 1997, Jennifer was married Ojani Noa, a relationship that eventually sent her into a wave of legal troubles. After their divorce, Noa threatened to release a book about their marriage, which would violate their confidentiality agreement. Noa’s actions were vindictive, as he had been fired from the restaurant Lopez owned. Eventually, her lawsuit to counter his actions was successful.

In 1999, she met the rapper Sean Combs, known as by his stage name P Diddy. His association with the rapper inadvertently put her in trouble as the couple was arrested in connection with a shooting that happened in Times Square. While Jennifer was eventually exonerated, having had no connection with the crime, their relationship did not last.

Between Sean Combs and her next, perhaps most memorable to the public, relationship with Ben Affleck, Jennifer was briefly married to a backup dancer named Cris Judd. The marriage did not even last a year before she moved on to the well-known Ben Affleck.

The two were revered as a super couple, being both extremely successful in their respective lanes–she in music, and Ben in the movie world. The word “Bennifer” was popularized and entered into the urban dictionary. But unfortunately, Bennifer was not meant to last and the highly publicized breakup represented Jlo’s first major heartbreak.

I lost my sense of self, questioned if I belonged in this business, thought maybe I did suck at everything. And my relationship self-destructed in front of the entire world. It was a two-year thing for me until I picked myself up again.

Jennifer to Vanity Fair.

She then married her close friend and singer Marc Anthony, with whom she had 2 twins. Once again, her marriage was not meant to last but this time, Jennifer was ready to handle the pressure. She went on to reinvent herself creatively once again, something she has never stopped doing since the inception of her career. This is why she has been a dominant figure in the world of show business

From music icon to judge on American Idol

The singer, who is also an incredible businesswoman, made the decision to become a judge on the incredibly popular show American Idol. She was inspired by every contestant and brought to tears by many of their life stories. But most importantly, she knew she had something to contribute to since music is such a big part of her life. Right now, she is the producer and judge of World of Dance.

Working for free?

It might come as a shock to you that a star like Jennifer Lopez would ever agree to work for free. Yet she did it, and not only once. She believed that taking some career risks might actually help her advance. For Hustlers, Lopez didn’t get paid on the front end for acting in and producing the movie. And now she was just nominated for best supporting female actor for her role in it.

Never accepting to be a backup is the key

If there is one thing we can learn from Jennifer Lopez’ incredible trajectory in her career, it is that one should never settle for the backup role.

You should invest in yourself, believe in your dream and know that hard work and ambition will always take you where you want to be one day. Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you.

Even if she’s already at the top, Jennifer Lopez never let her career get stale and she’s constantly pushing herself to be the best at whatever she does. From Janet Jackson’s backup dancer, Jennifer is now performing at the Super Bowl, proving that by never accepting second place, we can achieve our wildest dreams.

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