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Success Newsletters

Volume 4, Number 5 – September – October, 2004 Issue

In This Edition
1. No Short Cuts
2. A Story of Courage and True Grit
4. Recommended Reading

These past few weeks I have marveled, as I am sure a lot of you have, at the 2004 Olympic Games that have just finished in Greece. The Greek people have so much to be proud of. They delivered a fantastic games for the entire world to enjoy, and completed all the facilities on time when many doubted that they would. The facilities, built especially for the games, like the Olympic Stadium were outstanding. The warmth and hospitality of the people of Greece, which I have experienced first hand many years ago, is as genuine and welcoming as a warm Athens summer night. Also the upgrades to the many existing public services and facilities will serve the city and its people well in the future.

The vast majority of the competitors were competing fairly and within the rules, but once again there were the few cheaters. At least the ones who were found out this time were sent home in disgrace to their respective countries. This is a credit to the International Olympic Committee for the new tough rules that are being put in place and enforced to stop these athletes from trying to create an unfair advantage over others by taking drugs in whatever form to enhance there performance rather than going the traditional route of hard work, dedication and practice. There is no place in the sporting world for these cheats.

In many ways what happened at the Olympics parallels life. Some people looking for quick fixes, magic pills, and trying to cut corners, or cheating their way to success. Others take the route of hard work, dedication, determination and practice to achieve their success. Which is more satisfying? Well in the field of sport, competition is supposed to be a testimony to skill, strength, endurance and execution; cheating means you may win the gold, but not truly win the competition. In life, and I talk from my own experience, success is achieved through hard work, practice, discipline, sacrificing, commitment, trial and error, persistence, having faith and taking action. Success requires looking at it from a long term perspective, not a short term one. Have I achieved success? In my opinion, yes, and more importantly, I have done so in a way that I am proud to tell my children about and have them learn from.

What sets successful people apart…true winners in life, is having integrity, being able to look at themselves in the mirror, hard work, honesty, showing courage, taking action and not trying to take short cuts. The old saying “Winners never cheat and cheaters never win,” is so true. There is no place in this world for cheats, and it does not matter if that is on the sports arena, in the corporate boardroom or in a committed loving relationship. Short term gain will always equal long term pain. Be in everything you do for the long term. Remember there is no free lunch…except in mousetraps!!!!

Jim MacLaren had the world at his feet. He was on top of his game. He was a well liked 22 year-old who had recently graduated from Yale School of Drama, where he had excelled as a scholar, athlete, and at theatre. Then one balmy October night his life changed. He does not remember the 18-tonne New York City bus that hit his motorcycle while he was cruising down Fifth Avenue in New York City.

The next thing MacLaren remembers is waking up in intensive care in a NYC hospital and having to face the tragic news that his left leg had been amputated below the knee. Rather than feeling sorry for himself however, this remarkable young man found the true grit and courage over the next eight years to do some extraordinary things. He refused to let his disability hold him back or to keep him down. On the contrary it seemed to spur him on. Within a year of losing his leg he was running. He started out running 10K races then graduated to running in the New York City marathon and then the Boston marathon breaking the record for amputee contenders. He became the fastest one-legged endurance runner in the world.

Next he set out to conquer the grueling and challenging world of triathlon, which consists of a combination of swimming 3.8 kilometers, then biking 180 kilometers, then running a full 42 kilometer marathon…all in one race….all in one day….and in Jim’s case….all on one leg!.

This explains why he was in Orange County, Southern California in 1993, when tragedy struck again. While completing and leading a pack of cyclists on the bike portion of the triathlon in a closed racecourse, Jim was hit by a van that had somehow been let through on to the course. This time he vividly remembers being hit, the screams from the crowd, and his body flying across the street and smashing into a lamp-post headfirst. He remembers riding in the ambulance, aware that he could not feel his limbs.

When he awoke after emergency surgery on his spine, he was in the trauma ward. He could not move. At 30 years of age Jim MacLaren was a quadriplegic. Although confined to a wheelchair, he still had limited nerve activity allowing him some movement and sensation. He could raise his arms a bit, bend forward in his wheelchair, and sometimes lift his legs a few degrees. Jim MacLaren’s reaction to this news amazed his doctors; he said “So I’ve been very lucky.”

After two horrific accidents you would think this is where this man’s remarkable story would end. However in retrospect, this is where his story begins. After months of incredible pain in the hospital and grueling treatment, MacLaren was released to a rehabilitation centre in Colorado. His tremendous attitude, courage, and belief in himself, willed him to make very fast progress. Within six months of breaking his neck, he was living on his own, giving motivational speeches about the strength of the human spirit, and proving that it takes a lot to keep a good person down. Then he came to the harsh cold realization that his body had healed as much as it would. No matter how focused, courageous, determined or committed he was, it was not going to get any better. Pain would always be with him; he would never walk again….these facts would not change.

After winning a $3.8 million dollar U.S. settlement for his accident, MacLaren moved to Hawaii, telling his friends he was going to write his memoirs. In his own words he admits,”… I was just running away.” He did not want anyone to know the truth that two years after breaking his neck, MacLaren had been introduced to cocaine and he had became addicted to it. He had surrounded himself with people who encouraged this behavior, mixing and living in a world far removed from the one he was used too, and for the first time feeling he had no future. He could see his life slipping away.

By some twist of fate, late one night, looking for more cocaine, he found himself on a stretch of highway in Hawaii where he had competed in one of his best races, the Hawaiian Ironman. This proved to be another turning point in his life. While he did not want to live his life as a quadriplegic, he did not want to die either. At 33 years of age he knew he had to make an important choice. He made the choice to live, and take control of the part of his life he had control over….. These days he is pursuing a doctorate in mythology, working out on good days at a gymnasium, walking in water and pedaling on a recumbent exercise bike.

His story is an inspiration to so many people throughout the world. He donates time to the Challenged Athletes Foundation, is a sought after motivational speaker and consultant, and Fox Network is currently developing a movie based on his life. Although Jim MacLaren is still working through his own fears, he continues to help people through their own fears and perceived limitations, leading by example.


“Success is not a place you want to go to…it is a state of mind you live in 24/7”
Charles Marcus

“A dead place is just a good place to turn around”
Naomi Judd

“The world isn’t interested in the storms you have encountered, but whether you brought in the ship”
Raul Armesto


Derrick Sweet at
My colleague and friend Derrick Sweet has a wonderful content rich website that I strongly suggest you visit. There are all kinds of goodies to view, including a recent interview we did together on success. Derrick also has two terrific books out titled Healthy Wealthy and Wise and Get the Most Out of Life. They are both excellent reads containing valuable and practical information. His new book You Don’t Have To Die To Go To Heaven…what a terrific title….. will be published and available in September 2004. He also has a Healthy Wealthy and Wise Monthly Wisdom Program that I would encourage you to explore. Derrick lives his life by the principles and values he writes about. He walks his talk.

Discover Your Destiny: The 7 Stages of Self-Awakening
By Robin Sharma

Robin Sharma is one of the world’s premier thinkers on leadership, self-discovery and personal change. He is also an incredibly successful author. His books to date have sold well over one million copies. Robin’s latest book Discover Your Destiny is in, my opinion, his best work to date, and destined to be a classic. Like the previous four bestselling books that fueled the worldwide Monk Who Sold His Ferrari phenomenon, Discover Your Destiny is written as a rich and rewarding fable. There are so many lessons and words of wisdom to take from this book that I could not put it down. I got tremendous value from it and know you will too.

What It Takes To be #1 By Vince Lombardi JR.

The greatest coach in NFL history is still inspiring millions. In this uplifting book, Vince Lombardi, Jr. explains his father’s leadership philosophy, and extracts powerful lessons about what it takes to be a leader. Expanding on his late father’s legendary 1970 speech on the supreme importance of self-knowledge, integrity and character, Lombardi examines each of these qualities. He shows you what it takes and how to win with no frills and complete confidence in your personal and professional life.

Permission is granted to reproduce this newsletter in whole or in part provided the following byline below appears along with the article and that a copy is sent to me after publication. Thank you: To check previous issues for publication, please go to and click on articles/newsletters.

Charles Marcus is an international motivational speaker. To subscribe to his FREE success newsletter, please send an email to An electronic copy will be sent out to you every month. For more information on how Charles, his book and his programs can benefit your organization or group, please call 905-847-2323. Toll-Free in North America at 1-800-837-0629, or visit his website:

Date Added: September 30, 2004 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Newsletters

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