“If At Birth You Don’t Succeed”

Since the advent of YouTube, viewers have been subjected to the very best and worst of the internet.

We live in a day and age where a college professor can reference a TV show in class and follow up with the statement, “I forgot, you guys don’t watch TV. You watch YouTube.” YouTube is taking over the world of video-based entertainment. A “YouTube star” is a thing. Those “stars” are now hosting live televised events, publishing books, and making an entire -and pretty comfortable, according to popular rumor- living off of their YouTube channels.

I have no shame in admitting that even I have a teenage fan-girl living somewhere in my complex personality that screams in praise at the mention of a few YouTube personalities. What really gets my inner fan-girl going wild though – I’m talking a four-pack of Redbull and a backstage pass to a Taylor Swift concert kind of wild – are those rare inspirational gems you might see embedded in a Facebook post. Let’s get specific: Zach Anner.

You may or may not recognize the name from Oprah’s Search For the Next TV Star in 2010. Anner, born with cerebral palsy, claims over 200,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel.  I had never heard his name until this afternoon.

As with most popular YouTube videos, Anner’s are comedic in nature. Behind the humor, however, Anner’s success, and the very nature of his enterprise is downright inspiring. At one point in the video posted below, Anner says, “This is the most exercise I’ve gotten all my life, and it’s only been four minutes.”

This guy busted his ass to create something designed to make other people laugh, people he would never meet. In a more recent video, Anner even makes light of his own cerebral palsy for the sake of facilitating a smile on a stranger’s face. I can’t help but wonder, if I were in his position would I be able to do the same?

The struggles of daily life don’t seem so burdensome after watching Anner’s videos. Things could be far worse, and things are far worse for someone else. If this one man can have so much hope and diligence and give all he’s got to put some happiness out into the world, maybe at the very least we could grumble a little less over how long we waited for our morning coffee (or how long it took for traffic to get going after the red light turned green.) Take a hint from this guy: Keep looking up and keep doing awesome stuff.

Keep moving forward.

Anner’s book, If At Birth You Don’t Succeed, is available for pre-order from his website.

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