We all love to hear stories of the underdog. People who have overcome crushing setbacks to achieve so much will bring a lump to our collective throat. When those who have made horrible decisions then right their ship and sail to the waters they were supposed to be in the first place, we cheer. But far too often we forget to give applause to those who didn’t deviate from the path.  Those who, while tempted to take the easy way out, stayed the course. It is easy to know why we don’t hear stories of those people – we love the dramatic. Stories about a person who didn’t have to forget about an abusive father, battle back from obesity or survive a terrific disease don’t, as they say, make good copy.

Recently I was reading about a famous runner who had dealt with a plethora of such issues and used running as their road to finding themselves and giving life meaning. While all well and good, I am here to do the long slow clap of John Hughes 1980s movies to the other types of people. These are the ones who would have thoroughly enjoyed eating fatty food but resisted.  People who, while their hardships might not be Oprah-special worthy, have handled them with aplomb and poise. They are the ones who were tempted by drugs, alcohol, crime or any other life-wrecking choice, but “Heismaned” that poor choice in the face and shoved it to the ground.

This is an era of excuses (not reasons – which are entirely different) where we can point to a disorder, lack of support from our families, or something else as to why we have not achieved what we wanted. On a weekly basis I meet people who refuse to allow excuses to determine their fate. And while those who have bested their own bad decisions or fought back against cruel fate absolutely hold a place in my heart, it is those who go through life doing things the right way that also touch me.

The parents who have raised good children, not letting busy schedules stop them from finding time for exercise, play and the various activities of their kids, take a bow. Teens who refuse to allow the obesity “epidemic” to claim them by taking time to eat right, exercise right and make the correct choices regarding drugs and alcohol, I am glad the future is in your hands. And everyone in between who tackles adversity, fails, gets back up and soldiers on, this is my thank you to you.