PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE: How High Do You Want to Rise?

It’s a matter of moving on . . . of moving forward.

By Greg Shepard
Published: Fall 1998
We are all given two precious gifts in life. One is the freedom to choose. The other is an unspecified time in which to make these choices. How we choose determines our success and happiness. We can choose to be successful. We can choose to be happy. How high we rise is not a matter of ability, ethnic background or talent. It is solely a matter of choice.

Everyone will at some time or another have something bad happen. A loss of a loved one, a financial setback, a health problem, etc. Remember this phrase: Pain is inevitable but misery is a choice.

Perhaps the best story to appear in a BFS Journal this decade is in this issue: “Pennies in the End zone”. The coaches were down after losing an overtime state championship game. A bunch of eighth graders changed their coaches’ perspective right there on the sidelines. They helped their coaches move on and move quickly forward. The eighth graders vowed to their coaches that they would bring them back and win the state championship game when they were seniors. They told their coaches not to be sad.

Emotional healthiness is based on one’s ability to forgive, move on and move forward. Recently a murderer was executed in Texas for a brutal slaying of a woman. The woman’s husband at the execution was bitter, miserable and full of hate. I empathize. We all do. The man declared, “I will never forgive. My wife will be waiting in the afterlife and she will take care of this murderer. I can assure you this meeting will not be pretty.” This poor man is suffering more pain than most, and he is faced with a choice. For him to be able to play his song the way God intends and for him to ever be emotionally healthy, he most forgive, move on and move forward. No matter how hard. Pain is inevitable but misery is a choice.

Christopher Reeve is an inspiration. Struck down in the prime of life by paralysis from the neck down could have caused much bitterness. He could have blamed God for his misfortune and been miserable. However, in March of 1998 his TV special A Celebration of Hope will help millions. Christopher Reeve is doing more from a wheelchair than he ever did as superman. He chose to rise above his situation. He forgave, moved on and moved forward.

We have told many stories about athletes playing their song. This phrase is important in our BFS Clinic presentation. It is one of our Five Power Axioms of Success: We Must Play The Song We Came On Earth To Play; Let Us Not Die With Our Music Still In Us. This wonderful, inspiring phrase came from a 5-2 man who loved basketball. His name was Spencer.

Spencer as a young boy nearly drowned. He suffered from Bell’s Palsy. His mother and beloved sister both died while Spencer was young. Shortly after marriage he contracted smallpox and over 100 pustules were counted on his face. Spencer lost some investments and suffered from boils for many years some of which were on his nose and lips. On one occasion he suffered from 24 boils at one time. Later he would suffer excruciating pain from heart attacks which led to open heart surgery. After this came a serious cancer which affected his vocal cords requiring voice training and cobalt treatments. The Bell’s palsy returned and skin cancers were removed. Spencer’s greatest attributes were his ability to love others and his great leadership ability. He never thought about himself only what he could do to help others. Spencer played his song and inspired countless others to play theirs. No matter what happened to him, he always cheerfully moved on and forward. Spencer chose to rise in spite of the pain. He chose happiness over misery. Spencer died in 1985 at the age of ninety.


Greg Shepard