Helen Keller became blind and deaf before she was two years old, but she went on to lead a productive and happy life.
She is quoted as saying this about happiness:
- Be happy. Talk happiness. Happiness calls out responsive gladness in others. There is enough sadness in the world without yours…. Your success and happiness lie in you…. The great enduring realities are love and service…. Resolve to keep happy and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.
Let me remind you who Helen Keller was.
Few, if any, would have had a better excuse for being unhappy.
Born in Alabama in 1880, Keller contracted an illness at 19 months that left her blind and deaf. Fortunately, her parents did not give up. They located a teacher, Anne Sullivan, blind herself, to work with Helen.
Anne Sullivan arrived at Keller’s house in March 1887, and immediately began to teach Helen to communicate by spelling words on her hand, beginning with “d-o-l-l” for the doll that she had brought Keller as a present.
Keller’s big breakthrough in communication came the next month, when she realized that the motions her teacher was making on the palm of her hand, while running cool water over her other hand, symbolized the idea of “water.”
With her world thus expanded, Helen went on to graduate from Radcliffe College in 1904, becoming the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
While at Radcliffe, with the help of Sullivan and Sullivan’s husband, Keller wrote an autobiography The Story of My Life.
Helen Keller became a world-renowned author and lecturer, and a tireless worker for the rights and interests of the blind, among other causes.
Her story has become known through the play and film about Helen and Anne Sullivan called The Miracle Worker.
Here are a few other quotes from this remarkable woman who overcame extraordinary challenges to find happiness . . .
- “Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
- “Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world.”
- “No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.”
- “Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therin to be content”
- “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.”