Born in 1914 in Austria, actress Hedy Lamarr was the personification of glamor. Discovered for her beauty in her teens, she dazzled audiences from the silver screen for decades. At 19, she raised eyebrows by doing what is believed to be one of the first nude sex scenes in a movie. The film was banned by Hitler, and became a widespread controversy.
People around the world were spellbound by the beautiful Hedy Lamar; to some degree, she was the original Kardashian. Provocative and captivating, she simply couldn’t be ignored.
The fascinating thing to me, however, was her incredible mind. The farthest thing from a ditzy model, Lamarr was a talented inventor. Just after World War II, she was granted a patent for a frequency-guided torpedo that leveraged her groundbreaking invention of “frequency hopping.” The technology that she invented became the basis for GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and other secure wireless communications. Scientists estimate that the value of that patent today would be worth over $30 billion.
Despite her beauty and her brilliance, life was hard on Lamarr. Six marriages, six divorces. Her talent for acting and invention didn’t translate to business, never managing to enjoy the compensation she deserved. She struggled with depression, anxiety, and the punishing toll of toxic relationships. Throughout her career she was chided in the media, and she lived her final days as a recluse.
Regardless of her suffering, she managed to stay positive and forge ahead even in her darkest moments. Before her death in 2000, she penned the following:
People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish motives.
Do good anyway.
The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Give the world the best you have, and you’ll be kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
What incredible words to live by. Every one of us has a dream, and every one of us has 78 reasons why not to pursue it. When we step off the beaten path, fear often sets in and it becomes easy to quit. Yet bowing to the critics and finger-pointers is not the stuff of legends. The ones that make history are the ones that forge ahead even when it gets tough.
They love, even when they may get hurt. They do the right thing instead of the easy thing. They think big even when the world tries to hold them back. They build and create, despite the discomfort along the way.
Let’s follow the lead of the incredible Hedy Lamarr. Love anyway. Do good anyway. Think big anyway. Build anyway.
Do it anyway.