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Expected to die, today he’s inspiring others to truly live.

World-renowned inspirational speaker + national bestselling author John O’Leary wants to help you wake up from accidental living so you can do, be, achieve and impact more through your life.

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  • Every Monday, John shares a quick burst of inspiration to help start your week on fire.
  • Every Thursday, John interviews an amazing guest on their story, successes, failures, lessons, and life to help you uncover tips to apply in yours.

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Jun 13, 2019

The plight of the refugee is both timely and timeless.

Often when covered in the news, headlines focus on the sheer number of refugees in the Middle East, North Africa, Central America… The number is so vast, it can be hard to relate to and even dehumanizing.

Today, you’ll hear the story of one little boy. First, how his life was interrupted and shattered as he was displaced from his home. Then, how his hope drove him and his decedents to an inspired life. This episode is for you if you could stand to better understand the plight of individual refugees or if you could use inspiration to reach beyond your current circumstance to something higher.


  • "Like most first-generation immigrants from war-torn, impoverished countries, my father overcame great struggles when coming to the United States."
  • Sometimes obstacles are incredible opportunities.
  • It took a long time for Bassam to recognize the hero in his father because he was so humble and didn't share his story.
  • United Nations Resolution 181 created Isreal, carving out land to place displaced Jewish people after World War II. Learn more here.
  • The most memorable story his father shares is watching the destruction of his town of Lydda through a blitzkrieg-style attack.
  • Days later, his family was marched out at gunpoint for 20+ miles, barefoot with only the belongings they were able to carry.
  • Bassam's father remembers his father taking the key to their home promising they'd return. They never returned but the key represented what they lost.
  • How did your father imagine a world better than the one that currently exists? Partially from his life in his former town, partially from his readings but really a belief deep inside.
  • Bassam's grandfather + father disagreed for decades. His grandfather, a realist, wasn't trying to take away a dream but was trying to provide for his family + a realistic future for his oldest son.
  • Ripple Effect: Bassam's grandfather didn't understand the ripple effect of putting positive thoughts in those around you.
    • You're not stuck. You can do anything you image
    • How you act and what you do affects everyone around you.
  • Bassam's father worked hard to beat the odds, earning the top score on the high school exit exam in the Kingdom of Jordan and a scholarship to the American University of Beruit to study Medicine.
  • You can't measure the heart inside oneself.
  • After immigrating to the United States, Bassam's father became a proud citizen of "the country that gave him a chance."
  • Before his death, his grandfather finally told his father he was proud of him.
  • "Live the world through their eyes. Everyone should be understood in their circumstances."
  • Without hope, you don't go anywhere. You have to have hope and a belief. Aspire to aim higher.
  • Get Dr. Bassam Hadi's book about the life of his father The Road to Nablus here.



1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? Innocense.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? My Bible.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? Jesus and I'd ask, "could you please tell me what would unite the three major religions?" He may respond, "does it matter what or who I am? Love another, worship the Lord, and do good."

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Always try to see the world through the other person's eyes.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? You're not as great of a person as you think you are and you're going to need a lot of help along the way.

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? Redemption.


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