Rudy Francisco – Count Your Blessings

World Poetry Slam Champion Rudy Francisco delivers a powerful performance on embracing the day even when its not going your way. His passionate plea to live life to the fullest will make you think twice about complaining.


The following are true stories. May 26th, 2003, Aron Ralston was hiking. A boulder fell on his right hand. He waited four days, then he amputated his own arm with a pocket knife. On New Year’s Eve, a woman who was bungee jumping in Zimbabwe, the cord broke. She then fell into a river, and had to swim back to land, in crocodile-infested waters with a broken collarbone. Claire Champlin was smashed in the face by a five pound watermelon, being propelled by a sling shot. Matthew Brobis was hit by a javelin. David Striegel was punched in the mouth by a kangaroo. The most amazing part of these stories, is when asked about the experience, they all smiled, shrugged, and said, “I guess things could’ve been worse.”

So go ahead. Tell me that you’re having a bad day. Tell me about the traffic. Tell me about your boss. Tell me about the job you’ve been trying to quit for the past four years. Tell me the morning is a townhouse burning to the ground, tell me the snooze button is a fire extinguisher. Tell me the alarm clock stole the keys to your smile, drove it at 7 AM, and a crash totaled your happiness. Tell me, tell me, tell me how blessed are we to have tragedy so small it could fit on the tips on our tongues. You see, when Evan lost his legs, he was speechless. When my cousin was assaulted, she didn’t speak for 48 hours. When my uncle was murdered, we had to send out a search party to find my father’s voice.

Most people, most people, most people have no idea that tragedy and silence have the exact same address. When your day is a museum of disappointments hanging from events that were outside of your control, when you find yourself flailing in an ocean of why is this happening to me, when it feels like your guardian angel put in his two week notice two months ago, and just decided not to tell you, when it feels like God is a babysitter that’s always on the phone, when you get punched in the esophagus by a fistful of life, remember that every year, two million people die of dehydration, so it doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty, there’s water in the cup. Drink that shit and stop complaining.

You see, muscle, muscle is created by repeating lifting things that have been designed to weigh us down, so when your shoulder is feeling heavy, stand up straight, lift your chin, hell, call it exercise. Remember that life is a gym membership with a really complicated cancellation policy. Remember that you will survive. Remember, things could be worse. Remember, we have never ever given anything that we can’t handle. When the world crumbles around you, you have to look at the wreckage, and then build a new one out of all the pieces that are still here. Remember, you are still here. The human heart beats approximately 4000 times per hour, and each pulse, each throb, each palpitation is a trophy, engraved with the words, You Are Still Alive. You are still alive. Act like it.