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Thank you, Eli, for this essay. It is a wonderful reminder that we don't have to default to pity - as we seem desperate to do out of some confused notion of "compassion" - especially when people like you have worked extra hard to earn the rewards of a life fully lived.

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The entire article was wonderful and the wisdom and generosity of the final sentence will stay with me and hopefully change me.

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Terrific article. Continued blessings. I really like your attitude re: new technology. You're a pioneer.

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Thanks for writing this, Eli. I had to wait to get home to type the comment on my one-handed keyboard. It would have taken too long on the phone. Like you, I was born with a disability, mine being cerebral palsy; and also like you, I find it to be a blessing, though I didn't always see it that way. Like the kids say now, as a child, I "Identified" as a football player and as a soldier, and those things just weren't in the cards for me. I felt like a character in a Kafka novel, being punished for some unknown crime. I wallowed in depression, self-pity, and eventually substance abuse for years before finally realizing how profoundly lucky I am. That I exist at all is an astonishing thing and I'm often in awe of it. Like you, I also had courageous parents who made choices for me with the information they had, while not letting me give up, and trying to give me the best life they could. I'm deeply grateful. Keep up the good work. You have an important vision and voice that people need to see and hear.

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Thank you for your note, Steve. The Kafka analogy is spot on and I think every disabled person asks a variation of "why me?" at one point in their lives. Very glad you made it through that difficult place in life. -- Eli

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Most of us had problems growing up, me I had a bad speech problem , in that 4 years of speech therapy with the head of speech teaching therapy at a local collage . She took us on because I was a mess and money was a real issue for us. Ya I took a lot of shit for the way I talked but I learned to just push it off , no use getting mad at my problems . I was in 5 grade when I was considered cured , I was lucky in so many ways. Eli problems were so much worse but as he said "mine to live, sink or swim." well said I say ! Many may not understand Eli point of view but I get it , your life with all of it's problems is yours to fix and work through , no ifs ands buts about it .

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When we first learn that life isn't fair, some use it as an excuse to not try in life. I'm so glad that you did not. I really enjoyed this read and your positivity in challenging situations. Your last line drove it home. "There will always be people like that- but, don't they serve as a reminder of all the good we have?" I always do better and feel better about myself and the world when I remember to be thankful. Thanks again!!

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founding

Congratulations to you, your family and your therapists. Victory hard one. Not only did you learn to "hear" on this journey, you also had to learn to "listen". Do you have any advice for the rest of us to learn that skill? I, for one, admit to needing instruction.

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I think that's one of the harder lessons in life, Diana, how to listen. Even I struggle. A simple key is to focus on the person in front of us and give importance to their words -- go on their journey. After all, you'll always be there.

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founding

Thank you for that wisdom. I will try to remember and apply it.

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Inspiring story of how to meet and overcome challenges. Well done.

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Every person who believes that they are "oppressed" needs to read this.

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Great mix up from the hardcore topics of late. Made me stand up straight, tuck my shirt in, face the wind and fight the good fight. Thanks

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Kudos!

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Go Eli Go! Bless you. There’s a really good (I think it’s good) movie on Amazon called The Sound of Metal, a young man overcomes drug addiction and then becomes deaf. A wonderful community portrayed in the film. There’s some plot development of implant aids versus the beauty of silence.

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Yes, I enjoyed that movie. A good one. Also, Children of a Lesser God. Different kind of film but still relevant.

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My wife is Deaf and that introduced me to the world of Deaf Culture. She never got an implant but she perserveres.

The different teaching philosophies for Deaf kids in the last 100 years is bonkers. I know two who were forced to be oral before using sign. Now it's all ASL focused in our state school.

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So inspiring! My hearing is slowly decaying and it sometimes gets me down. Never again after reading your story, Eli. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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I will never forget my first Zoom meeting with Eli. The empathy he showed while listening to my story was remarkable… When we met, we didn't know about my Russian accent and that Elli needed to read my lips. It turned out my accent could create some challenge - however we overcame it quickly. We shared our stories, our beliefs, and something clicked - we became friends-:)

As Elli said, "Life is unfair. It always will be." Several years ago I was added to the downsizing list and was asked by my friends "Have you figured out why it was you? Who made this decision?" My answer shocked my friends in the same way as Eli’s "Neither the decision nor the people who made it define me," i said. "It’s their choice, and it may define them, but I am defined by my journey with the company, the impact I made there, and how I can translate their decision into my opportunity for success." And i did -:)

As Elli said, “there will always be people like that—but don’t they serve as a reminder of all the good we have?”

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