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By: Louis Torrez
July 14, 2011

Hard work, belief and perseverance: these are the three principles that Landon Schaffert accredits to his success as the National FFA Secretary but also to his success in life.

Schaffert was born legally blind, but he did not let that get him down. As a kid he played with friends, went to school and did things that most kids do; even though when he was born doctors said he would never be able to read or have a normal life. He was doubted because he was blind but proved everyone wrong.

This year at convention Schaffert gave a keynote address about remaining true to yourself and his quest to being elected as National FFA Secretary. In his address, Schaffert talked about accepting challenges and appreciating life’s blessings. Schaffert used himself as an example; he said that he accepted his blindness, knowing there was nothing he could do to change it. Instead of dwelling on his blindness and letting it get him down, he moved on and now he can be happy.

By appreciating his blessings, Schaffert said he does not take things for granted. When Schaffert was in the third grade, one of his best friends died of a brain condition. This made Schaffert realize that we take things for granted in life, like playing, going too school with friends or just being alive. He said most people fail to realize that the time we have is precious and we should make the most of it by being and doing the best we can in our day to day lives.

Schaffert says that in life there are two kinds of obstacles: those that are like small wet floor cones that make us trip and stumble but in the grand scheme of things do not have a lasting effect. Then there are the kinds of obstacles that are like big concrete pillars that make us stop completely and take us by surprise. These concrete pillars can be something tragic like losing a friend or a close family dying, things that we can never get back, things that can test the faith of any one.

Schaffert says these obstacles are not life halting; one can find strength and move on. He said that if we stop and take a minute to truly appreciate what we have in life and cherish it, then that is the greatest of any blessing. Schaffert said we all have “the power within” to find true strength and make something incredible out of our lives. All we have to do is resist the pressures of dangers that are presented to us and to be ourselves.