1. Diana Nyad
And you thought it was tough to get out of bed this morning? In September of 2013, Diana Nyad became the first person to swim the 110 miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. As a 64-year-old, she had tried and failed to complete this swim on four different occasions, but had to cut each swim short due to complications such as jellyfish and lightning strikes.
2. Lil’ Bub
It ain’t easy bein’ cute. Believe it or not, the world’s cutest cat was the runt of the litter, and was born with several genetic mutations and a rare bone disorder that made life extremely difficult early on. But thanks to a dedicated owner, Lil’ Bub is now happy and has her own online store which donates proceeds to pet charities.
3. Balpreet Kaur
If humanity can overcome obstacles, so can you. In September of 2012, a Reddit user posted this photo of Balpreet Kaur, a student at Ohio State and an observant Sikh, with the caption “I’m not sure what to conclude from this.” A short while later, Balpreet actually responded in the most gracious way possible, which prompted the original poster to apologize publicly. The rest of the internet immediately clamored in support for Balpreet.
4. MAJ Stephen Snyder-Hill
Sometimes it’s worth waiting for something you believe in. Major Stephen Snyder-Hill was booed by audience members at a 2011 Republican presidential debate when he brought up the issue of being able to serve while being in an open relationship with his partner. But after waiting patiently and continuing to serve his country, he was finally able to marry his partner this year after being in the military for over 20 years.
5. Bethany Hamilton
You know that time you thought about giving up because it was too hard? Bethany Hamilton was just 13 years old when her left arm got bitten off by a shark while surfing. After a month of medical operations, she returned to the sport, learning how to surf with one arm and a customized board, and hasn’t stopped since.
6. Dawn Loggins
Believe it or not, you can make your own luck. Dawn Loggins, a former school janitor and straight-A student at her high school in North Carolina, was homeless her senior year after being abandoned by her drug-abusing parents. Not one to let her situation limit her, she applied to and was offered a full scholarship from Harvard.
7. Caine’s Arcade
When was the last time you failed, and then got up and tried again? At 9 years old, Caine Monroy spent his summer building his own DIY arcade out of cardboard in his dad’s used auto parts shop. His dream was to eventually bring in customers to enjoy his creation, but hardly anyone actually came. Not one to give up easily, Caine manned his arcade until the last day of the summer when a filmmaker dropped by, bought a “fun pass” for $2, and decided that the world needed to know about this.
The result was a flash mob of people who showed up to the auto parts shop for their own “fun passes.”
8. Karen Klein
One good turn deserves another. Karen Klein was a bus monitor in upstate New York when a video surfaced of her being brutally harassed by students on her bus. Upon seeing this, the internet collectively raised over $700,000 so that she could retire. And not only did she retire, but she has taken part of the money to start her own Anti-Bullying Foundation.
9. Kyle Maynard
So much for all that complaining you were about to do. Kyle Maynard, born with a condition known as congenital amputation, is the first quadruple amputee to successfully ascend Mount Kilimanjaro without any prosthetics. He made this happen by taping pieces of bicycle tire to the ends of his limbs to protect him as he scaled the mountain.
10. Liverpool vs. AC Milan (2005)
Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning an epic sports comeback. In what may be one of the greatest comebacks in sports history, Liverpool FC managed to overcome a 3–0 deficit in the second half of the 2005 UEFA Champion’s League Final to defeat the favored A.C. Milan side in a penalty shootout. This match will be talked about for generations to come.