Hard Life | Lessons from Two Strong Men that went through hell and made it out

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These are two tales from two very different men who share some of their experiences of not having an ‘easy life’. They do not have a victim mentality. These are stories of incredible resilience and consistency of effort to improve their lot. 

I have transcribed as best as I could – any errors are my own.

The first story comes from the ‘Sage from South Central’ Larry Elder about his father’s life. I have been following Larry Elder for several years now, about the culture war, current events, and American history. He has written several books and has run The Larry Elder  Show since 1994.

The second story come from Swede Burns, a legend in the sport of powerlifting.

Lessons in Resilience

Larry Elder’s Father


Watch the beginning of the above video or read the transcription below.

One of the reasons that I have such little patience with some of these social justice warriors is because of the experience of people that went through real stuff – like my father. 

My father was born in 1915 – in Athens Georgia deep in the Jim Crow South. My father never met his biological father, he literally was thrown out of the house by his irresponsible mom when he was 13 years old – never to return. 

My father became a pullman porter for the trains – they were the largest private employer of blacks in those days. And he came out to California on a run one day and he was shocked – that you could walk into a restaurant through the front door and actually get served and my dad made a mental note that maybe someday he’ll relocate to California. 

Well… Pearl Harbor is bombed – my dad joined the marines he became a staff sergeant stationed on the island of Guam. In charge of cooking. So he goes back to the South after he had met and married my mom when the war was over, to get him a job as a cook. And he’s told by restaurant after restaurant after restaurant, “we don’t hire niggers”.

My dad went to an unemployment office – the lady said you went to the wrong door. My dad goes out to the hall and looks up and sees ‘colored only’. Goes through that door to the very same lady who sent him out. And my dad told my mother, “This is BS. I’m going to LA, I’m going to get me a job as a cook.” He comes out to California, he walks around for two days – nobody will give him an offer, because they say he has no references. They treated him the same way that they treated him in Chattanooga, they were just a little more polite about it. 

My dad goes to the unemployment office – this time just one door. And he takes the first job he can get which is cleaning toilets at Nabisco Brand Bread – which he did full time. He took a second full time job cleaning toilets at a company called Barbara Ann Bread. Cooked for a family on the weekend to get additional money. And went to night school two or three nights a week to get his GED. The man never slept. 

And my father who had every reason to be angry, a lifelong Republican, told my brothers and me the following:

Hard work wins. You get out of life what you put in it. You cannot control the outcome but you are one hundred percent in control of the effort, and before you whine about what somebody did to you – go to the nearest mirror and say to yourself “What could I have done to change the outcome?”

Swede Burns’ Story 


Below is a transcription of Swede Burns’ answers towards the end of the above video.

I’ve learned a lot in my life, I’ve lived a lot in my life – I don’t think most people have. A lot of people live sheltered, protected lives, they haven’t really done much, they haven’t really been forced to do much, they haven’t accomplished much. The road was prepared for them; they weren’t prepared for the road…

I’ve been to prison – a bad prison that was closed for human rights violations by the Department of Justice… I’ve been through a lot of things in my life, I’ve seen some shit, and I’m still here. I broke my spine, I’ve been injured in every way…and for much of it I was left to face the consequences of that myself. And I’m grateful for that, it might sound crazy but I’m grateful for having been alone and having to do that because that made me very strong – and as a result of that I’m able to help a lot of other people learn to become strong. ― Swede Burns

Not to delegitimize how debilitating depression and anxiety can be but few people have had such a difficult lives as these men and many like them – repeated traumas and constant failures one after the other. But they did not break, they did not become black pilled and stew in a bleak view of life, and resign themselves to hopelessness. They had it bitter and hard, but they showed resilience and did not give up working to improve their situation. Don’t give up on yours and don’t drink the kool aid of the miserable.