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Your hidden strength


Published:   |   Updated: October 30, 2013 at 04:02 PM

At times of great stress, people from whom we would least expect it, rise to the occasion. What accounts for this unexpected display of courage and intestinal fortitude?  Whether it is withstanding horrendous torture, surviving unbearable captivity or imprisonment, or winning a battle with cancer, these individuals should be studied to determine what accounts for their hidden strength. 
 
During war-time, quiet and rather shy soldiers have been known to break ranks and fearlessly wipe out an entire enemy bunker.  Unlike film idols such as John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, they never cease to amaze audiences with their heroic acts of bravery.
 
We all have hidden strength.  Despite the fact that we use only a fraction of our potential brain power, the same might apply to our mental and physical reserve. Slightly built women have been reported to lift the front end of an automobile to rescue their trapped husband.  Mothers have been reported to perform equally Herculean tasks to rescue their endangered child.
 
The first step toward realizing your hidden strength is to acknowledge that it exists.  Olympic athletes, before entering any competition, must firmly believe that they can win.  Before taking an examination, students must also convince themselves that they will do well. 
 
Hidden strength is rarely challenged when things go well.   It is only when some form of adversity occurs that we become tested.  Most people can usually think of some event in their lives where they surprised themselves by overcoming a traumatic incident. 
 
Your hidden strength is like a bank account.  You have invested it with capabilities that have served you well in the past.  When you are threatened by one of life’s difficult trials, it is time to make withdrawals from that bank account.
 
Countless books have been written about how to release your inner strength. They talk about such things as connecting with your spirituality, self-confidence, and will-power, seeking out groups that address your problem, meditation, seeing the big picture, and trusting yourself.
 
None of these approaches will provide you with a magic bullet, a sure-fire way of releasing your inner strength. Whenever the media reports an incident in which someone displayed an unbelievable example of inner strength, its source invariable remains an enigma. Clearly, the source is not tangible like a liver, heart, or spleen, but rather a paranormal phenomenon which defies a simple explanation.
 
Survivors are constantly asked to what do they attribute their survival.  Their answers seldom provide others with the secret to harnessing their own inner strength. Each person, by doing some serious and honest soul-searching, will find the answer posed by this article.
 
- Professor Eisenberg was born in New York City and now lives in Belleair Bluffs. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II. His career consisted of teaching interpersonal/intercultural communication, public speaking, organizational communication, nonverbal communication, group dynamics, and persuasion at four major universities including Pace University and Manhattanville College in New York. His publications include fifteen textbooks on various aspects of communication. Send comments to: aeisenberg3@tampabay.rr.com.

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