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Ted Williams Turns Faith and Optimism into a Second Chance

Watching the prodigal return of Ted Williams to his mother on Good Morning America today was a great way to start the day. The rags-to-riches story of Ted Williams, the down-and-out homeless man and ex-con with the golden voice, is everywhere.

But watching his happy reunion with his mother and hearing her testimony on the importance of faith and staying on the straight and narrow was a sight to see.

Yes, his golden voice was discovered and went viral on YouTube, but he had something to do with that. Instead of just having another homeless sign asking for money, Ted used his sign to promote his gift and his need for a second chance to use it.

Ted Williams told viewers that he has been clean and sober for two years with support of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anomalous. But it was his return to faith that he credited with his turnaround. While looking at his 2010 calendar, he had considered writing “another lost year.” But instead, it was like a small voice was saying to him, “No, it was not a wasted year. You found me in 2010.” Ted Williams said he found God in 2010, and from now on he was never taking God or any of his blessing for granted.

When asked what advice she offered her son, Mrs. Williams said, “Get your life together and don’t leave God out. Forget about your old friends and get a new life.”

Ted Williams is doing just that and has received a flurry of offers. Kraft has hired him as a spokesperson for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. He also has a job offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers to be the stadium announcer. They’ve added a nice perk to go along with the job—a home. He’s also been offered in role as a disk jockey in an upcoming jack Nicholson film.

Every day people make choices that open new doors. Never give up on yourself or your gifts. Keep looking for ways to use them to serve and good things are more likely to happen.

As I wrote in The Optimism Advantage, optimism isn’t about Pollyanna Thinking; it’s about building on a track record of overcoming obstacles to find the confidence and positive attitude that allows you to invent a better future. It’s an added bonus to know that we have family, faith communities and God to help along the way.

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