The Story of Michael Oher

Below is a video that highlights the life of 2009 NFL first round draft pick Michael Oher. His story is truly incredible. Less than 10 years ago, he was an illiterate youth who struggled to find food each day. He’s now a college graduate ready to embark on a professional football career.

I enjoy this story for several reasons. It is obviously amazing to see such a dramatic turnaround, but perhaps more importantly his story is an example of potential. Oher always had the potential to become an honor student. He always had the potential to become a world class athlete. The potential existed all along, but the individual (Michael Oher) never knew it was there.

Perhaps his story is one of luck or simply the right people helping the right person. Either way, he is clearly fortunate to have tapped into this potential. For the better part of his life, Michael lived without purpose, other than sheer survival. He couldn’t read and was headed nowhere. Fast forward a few years and he is now on top of the world.

I’m not posting this entry to suggest that we can all become NFL football stars, but to instead remind everyone that we often have untapped potential waiting to be unlocked. Regardless of the past, there is always the possibility to improve in the future.

Far too many people are defined by their past. They never take the steps necessary to reinvent themselves and move forward. The past is the past, whether it was good, bad, or indifferent. We can never go back, so it only makes sense to move forward.

Unfortunately, the hopeless often do not believe in the ability to change. They don’t see the potential that often exists within. Seeing someone such as Michael Oher reinvent himself should give hope and inspiration to others who are still waiting to take that first step.

A related (powerful) quote comes from Madame Marie du Deffand,

“The distance is nothing, it is only the first step that is difficult.”


  1. I’m sad to say I never knew of this guy when he played for Ole Miss but I will definitely keep my eyes out for him in the NFL. The book the video promotes is going onto my summer reading list for sure. Thanks for sharing this one and for the solid commentary.

  2. This is a great story indeed. I like people who can change there life if it is not the way it should be, or not what they want out of it.

    It’s a good example that we can change whatever we want.

    If we are mental strong enough

  3. Great post Ross!

    I heard his story during the draft and thught it was INCREDIBLE. Very inspiring…

    Keep up the good posts man!

    – Justin

  4. I still have a hard time finding inspiration from pro-atheletes weather they be Michael Phelps or Jordan. Where others see extreme dedication, I see a myopic focus on competition and a team of handlers coddling their star players from dealing with life. I don’t criticize those at the top for this or those who take care of their cash cows, that’s the price of being world-class.

    Michael Oher’s story gets murkier the more you read about him (See Blindside by Michael Lewis and follow-up investigative reporting about incidents that were hushed up to protect a star player.)

    The narrative that comes out of that reporting is not that of a downtrodden kid who raises against adversity but of well meaning rich people finding a genetic freak of nature for whom an NFL future is inevitable and they do everything they can to steer him there and to protect him from anything that could deviate him from that path.

  5. Truly inspirational: Utmost respect to Michael Oher for being such a strong being and to his beautiful family. You are an example to what this world should be – All blessings to you.

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