The Grit of Eric Sorto

The Grit of Erik Sorto

About 10 years ago I had a very unique student in one of my public speaking classes at Los Angels Valley College, named Erik Sorto. Eric was always early, never late. Eric never questioned the demands of class, or any assignment. Eric never failed to submit his work, all of his work, on time! Eric never failed to excel with any of the classroom assignments or demands. Eric Sorto earned one of the highest point total A grades in class. These qualities alone place Eric into a super elite minority within the student body at Los Angeles Valley College. However, when you add to the fact the Erik Sorto is a quadriplegic who can only move his head and fingers, you truly have a student who is amazing! Eric not only set the standard in class for excellent work, but his presentations were stellar. Furthermore, Eric is an extremely humble man. His paralysis is the result of the gang life. A bullet to the spine, and his life was changed forever. Yet, Eric has something that the bullet in his spine could not take, and probably increased – grit! Eric Sorto has grit! Grit is defined as: a determined spirit, indomitable courage, invincible will, resolution. Nothing was going to stop Eric from getting an A grade in my class, and he refused to be treated as “special.” Most students want to be treated as special! And by “special” I mean, they want their challenges to be noticed, and compensated for. Not Erik!

This is why I was not surprised when I opened up The Wall Street Journal on May 21, 2015, and saw a photo of Erik Sorto. The article, was titled “Neural Implants Let Paralyzed Man Take a Drink.” The Journal explained how a group of scientist and doctors had implanted chips in Erik’s brain with the hope of proving that a robot could be controlled with human thought. The article further explained that, after “6700 attempts,” Erik Sorto successfully – with his thoughts – was able to move a robot’s arm and bring a drink to his lips. When I read that Erik had tried six thousand and seven hundred times just to get a drink to his mouth, I smiled to myself and thought – “I know why Erik was chosen to participate in this experiment. Eric has grit!  Eric Sorto does not feel sorry for himself.   And he refuses to be anything but excellent.”   Excellence is a choice!  Mediocrity is a choice! Feeling sorry for yourself when faced with life’s challenges, and failing are choices! For Eric Sorto, excellence is the only option.

Public speaking is the number one fear in life. Second, is actually speaking about death (fire fighter, police officer, or doctor who has to deliver sad news). Third is actually dying. Add to this fact that Erik is a quadriplegic. Erik has challenges most of us cannot even accurately contemplate. Yet, Erik stepped up, with the help of his wheel chair and nothing else, and was able to shine on every level in a public speaking class. Unless you are in a more challenging situation than Erik – you have no excuse for not at least trying to do what needs to be done; and not just when given the privilege to speak, but with everything in life.

How much grit do you have?

I’m speech coach Duane Smith. I have served groups and individuals in the corporate and academic areas develop and improve their public speaking skills. I'm also a tenured public speaking professor at Los Angeles Valley College.

89 Comments on “The Grit of Eric Sorto

  1. “Don’t you dare say never”:

    So I actually have the pleasure and honor of meeting Eric Sorto later on today in my English 103 class! I’m so excited! For those of you that didn’t know, not only did Mr. Sorto go above and beyond in his classes here at Valley, but he cowrote a book with one of the professors here, Dr. Wallis. I don’t know if you guys understand or can fathom that concept, like a whole BOOK with hundreds of pages to proofread and all that meticulous stuff. Here you have this man, quadriplegic, and he writes a book. He really is unstoppable and a force to be reckoned with. I love seeing stories like this because it inspires me to be a better me, and to really be grateful for all that I have for it can be stripped from me in seconds like it unfortunately was from him. He truly is an inspiration and one of those “never give up” stories because even what seems to be impossible is possible. I know it wouldn’t make a difference to him, but man am I proud of him. For goodness sake he made history! I can’t believe he tried seven thousand times to get a drink by himself. That’s the true definition of perseverance, a man that knows what he wants and goes out there and gets it done. It’s unreal and I’m just so proud that the human race has motivated and dedicated people like him in the world. It’s very cool to know that somebody so successful came from Valley college, just like the rest of us! We are sharing these halls with incredible people. God bless. The article in itself was just so humbling, thank you for sharing. Also just an FYI, the book that I was talking about earlier is named Payback.

  2. Inspiring story to never let go and Persevere

    This topic is unique in a way where I have never known someone with great obstacles keep trying. In los angles you keep seeing people give up and not desire to try. This also is a true tell for not only people like me that do not have a physical obstacles and to others that do that, someone with grit and a will to push the limits can achieve more in life and be recognized in a way that erik was in the wall street journal. Then as me personally I was interested because I want to become a electrical engineer and apply things that this to change one lives. With the hard work of engineers and the deserving hard work of erik is a quality I hope I can instill in my self to get pushing for my dream in the electrical engineering field. I thing I take away with this is that even without erik, trying 6700 attempts this success on the breaking possibilities might not even come true.-171

    The article not sugar coating it. It leaves no doubt about not having any excuses and shows proof of why not. When the article describes that Excellence is a choice, mediocrity is a choice and feeling sorry for you self is a choice. I think is true and would not lie to myself otherwise. If everyone in speech wanted and works as in comparing erik 6700 times can earn an A. But not shooting for the star and aim for the ground is in reality come students, co workers- and friend lives. It also seems like it is addressing life in general and to just step up because someone somewhere has it worst than you do and they are praying for a chance that you might have. With the fact of being a quadriplegic and want to pick up his first beer and keeping his mind on the goal, let you know that how hard he wants to relate in some way of just normal tasks.-166

  3. If you chose to place a brick once a day, everyday, for a lifetime, how much more could you create?

    That video is amazing. The human species is capable of great and beautiful wonders, such as building the tools needed to get stuff done! Because of Erik’s determination, his team succeeded in building better versions of the tool needed for him to grab a drink with his disability. It is your choice to do more than your present self is doing. Our battery life can reach 100 years, never turning off in the time frame, despite various hardships the body and mind receives. In this marathon that we call our lives, there are long strides of road to endure, and then there are short sprints that can and should be tolerated for their own reward. Succeeding with a disability is as epic as when our hero of the movie wins the fight blind folded, like in the movie (spoiler alert!!) Dodgeball! This subject proves how capable we are of accomplishing any fearsome task, and even though you may not see results in the first 6700 times, the sense of achievement is worth the adventure.

    It was and is a choice to do what ever you do. I have heard somewhere about how the alternative choice to being held as a slave is death. Regardless of the position you are in, there is always more than one decision that can be made towards a general direction. Trying can be more educational than being, giving a sense of perspective between what was before and now is. It allows for a greater appreciation. A brief comparison of this idea is like feeling how hitting rock bottom is. This is so that when soaring up above the clouds, you have a better idea of what is between you and the ground. Pilots who push the boundaries of their jet planes show off this charisma that Erik demonstrated in the video, relentless in accepting anything but success. Not all limits are the same nor are the circumstances around them. Allowing yourself to try to prepare ahead of time for a presentation such as a speech for your class creates confidence in the subject rehearsed.

    Arturo R
    Spring 2016

  4. “YOLO”
    I could not help but get goose bumps while watching the video and tearing up when he spoke about how that was his first beer all by himself. Can you imagine? Not being able to be able to drink by yourself when you were thirsty. That is not even the beginning of what he cannot do alone. The video alone was extremely touching and then reading how Mr. Smith had the pleasure to know him and experience what an incredible human being Eric was. Man, it astonishes me that fight and the will that people like this have when all odds are against them. It makes me feel so ridiculous about complaining about ANYTHING! Life is so precious even the littlest task of taking a drink can be taken for granted. The technology is just outstanding and is getting better every single day. I bet 13 years ago Eric never imagined being able to move anything with just using his brain. He is an example of how not giving up and being positive will work out in your favor one day. Going back to the article I am still amazed about what a terrific student Eric was. He didn’t have to be. He could be depressed and blame his lack of effort on his disabilities but, he didn’t. He instead went the complete opposite direction and used his disabilities to push him. He strived for greatness because that’s all he had. I would love to have the pleasure of meeting him one day. I am unbelievably inspired by him and his story. Thank you to Mr. Smith for sharing. I will continue to share Eric’s story. It is so cool to know that this technology is not just happening not “Grey’s Anatomy” but, in real life too. This is real life!

  5. “All you need in life is the Grit”

    I thought the two topics of this article were powerful and interesting “Erik” and “the Grit” should be inspiring to people. This article made it clear to me that Erik had many great qualities to him regardless of his condition. It really makes you think how people could really achieve anything as long as they have “grit”. I thought after reading about grit, it should really be a necessity in peoples life. In life we always have to face obstacles, and with grit and determination it is possible. I really know that feeling, of feeling sorry for ourself is are to go to when things get difficult because it’s the easiest option. But we have options which is to be like Erik and choose excellence, mediocrity, and face your problems we will fail and we will succeed. You know in order to be striving to success whether you’re a : parent, student, educate, athletes, etc.; the secret to an outstanding accomplishment is not talent but a passion and persistence which in other word is “grit”.

    The article really blew my mind, as I was watching the video I understood where Professor Duane saw that Erik Sorto had the grit. As I read more into all of Erik Sorto’s accomplishment, I really wanted to believe that if I could have the “grit” like him I would be successful. I thought it was funny how he just wanted to be normal and have a beer like any grown adult, I was blown away on how many times he actually attempted before he actually accomplished able to drink a beer. What admire most about Erik is how he did not feel sorry for himself. Because I have seen people when their life starts crumbling apart all they do is mope and cry which could be a small part of one’s healing, but we really just need to not give up as we fail and things in life gets difficult. Our solution should be facing our problem and learn from our mistakes.

  6. “I probably don’t have as much grit as Mr. Sorto.”
    I think it’s amazing that technology has gone so far that we can finally begin to dig deeper in neurally controlled robotic prosthetic. It’s really awesome to see this in my life time and I hope the technology continues to advance and eventually offer cybernetic upgrades to all humans. Finally we’ll be able to have a USB port on our heads to just upload knowledge into our brains. So long 100,000$ tuition debt! I think that this achievement is just the top soil of a planet of knowledge and it is also one of the reasons why I chose to go into the field of engineering. Somethings are priceless, and to give a person the ability to have a little more control over their life then that’s definitely a priceless accomplishment.
    I think the video was quite well. I also think the article was well written. He sounds like an outstanding character from what you say in your article and makes me want to meet him my self. He has overcome so much and I hope he will accomplish much more. I hope more people go into the field of robotic engineering and neural engineering so we can fast track the process. Amazing things can be accomplished if we put our minds together and work together. I see that the article is well written and well structured. The quotes are well announced and it is quite heart warming to read. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be that proud of a student. From your article I can deduce that Erik Sorto is a one of a kind man who has over come so many obstacles that many other men and women would probably not be able to over come.

  7. I probably don’t have as much grit as Mr. Sorto.
    I think it’s amazing that technology has gone so far that we can finally begin to dig deeper in neurally controlled robotic prosthetic. It’s really awesome to see this in my life time and I hope the technology continues to advance and eventually offer cybernetic upgrades to all humans. Finally we’ll be able to have a USB port on our heads to just upload knowledge into our brains. So long 100,000$ tuition debt! I think that this achievement is just the top soil of a planet of knowledge and it is also one of the reasons why I chose to go into the field of engineering. Somethings are priceless, and to give a person the ability to have a little more control over their life then that’s definitely a priceless accomplishment.
    I think the video was quite well. I also think the article was well written. He sounds like an outstanding character from what you say in your article and makes me want to meet him my self. He has overcome so much and I hope he will accomplish much more. I hope more people go into the field of robotic engineering and neural engineering so we can fast track the process. Amazing things can be accomplished if we put our minds together and work together. I see that the article is well written and well structured. The quotes are well announced and it is quite heart warming to read. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be that proud of a student. From your article I can deduce that Erik Sorto is a one of a kind man who has over come so many obstacles that many other men and women would probably not be able to over come.

  8. “Perseverance and Excellence:Erik Sorto’s Inspiring Story”

    Many times in life, we get wrapped up in our own troubles. At times life has a way of putting obstacles in our path, which seem impossible to overcome. It is at this point in life though, when we should remember this story to inspire us to continue moving forward and attempt the impossible. This former LAVC student not only achieved academic excellence, he was able to give hope to other people in similar situations. Erik, who is a quadriplegic made history by “proving that ‘neural implants’ inside his brain allowed him to control a robotic arm using only human thought….the article continues to say that ‘after 6700 attempts, it was a success”(Smith). Like many inspirational figures throughout history, Erik did not let failure stop him. Every failure led to increased determination to succeed, and the will to try harder. This is how he inspires others, including myself to continue even when it seems impossible.

    Perseverance and excellence seem to describe him well, because he received a glowing review from the Professor as a phenomenal speaker with “stellar presentations” and as we know “public speaking is the number one fear in life” (Smith). Every challenge Erik has met seems to eventually be overcome. I am glad you shared this story because with so much negative news to report, it is great to hear an inspiring story like this one. It gives hope to those who need it, and future inspiration for things to come. But when you think the challenge in front of you is impossible, and there is no way you can do it or try and attempt it, remember the story of Erik Soto, and the impossible becoming the possible, that hope exists even when things look hopeless, and that even the greatest minds fail at times, but we learn from our mistakes and continue on.

    I always wonder when the reality of someone’s life takes place. Is it graduating from high school for some? Is it the news of your girlfriend getting pregnant for others? For Eric it seems to have been a bullet, and as much as he’s lost with that bullet, he was able to gain so much. It’s a shame that it took the harsh lesson of being shot at to learn that living a gang life doesn’t add to your life, it takes away. It’s a shame that the cost for being such a humble, diligent and successful person he is now, was because of a decision he made years ago, before he had the chance to begin to live life fully. I applaud Eric’s ability to turn his life around in spite of his obvious setbacks. It would be nice to know whether he is taking his life story and mentoring other at risk youth, or those who do not yet possess the grit that he does, to turn their lives around against gangs.

    This article is so humbling and shows me, even more so, that we “young and healthy” students, no matter what our hurdles may be, have to choose to succeed. I believe that this article highlights the struggles of a person who essentially went from zero to hero. Who could possibly be against a strong-minded person who finally came to the realization that the gang he was with wasn’t doing anything for him or the betterment of his life? Who could be against that person wanting to make a total turnaround and want to excel in school? Who could be against a quadriplegic who wants nothing more than to be the best that his best self could be? With all the trials he’s been through, he is finding the challenges in life to be an adventure, something to conquer. There is no longer anything to fear. The act of living for him is a challenge in itself, and this article shows to me that he isn’t wasting any time doing just that.

    • I agree with you 100%, every person has their own time when there reality takes place, unfortunately some people’s reality take place in a more tragic way than others. Although given that when you do join a gang, the people you’re banging with are your ride or die people and generally its death. Life’s got a funny way of teaching you a lesson, by funny i mean messed up. Life is gonna keep hitting you, most times when you least expect it, but what makes us human is that we’re gonna take those hits and survive. When tragedy strikes there is no warning that comes along with it.

    • Joselyn, I think you have the right idea by applying Erik Sorto’s “choice to succeed” to other areas of life. At times school, work, and life in general can present hurdles that bring doubt and failure. But like Erik, if we persevere, and continue on even after failure, we will eventually accomplish what we set out to do. “6700” attempts is a lot. But just imagine if he gave up at the 6999th attempt, he would have never known success. His story is not only an inspiration to people in similar situations who will benefit from this technology, but as you mention “it is humbling” and can be a source of inspiration to anyone in need of that extra motivation to succeed.

  10. “Never to let yourself go”
    What an amazing story of courage.The article did a job of highlighting his drive after an incident rather than events that lead to his setbacks.Very often in life we all get hung on to events from the past that ultimately I believe slow us down,and can put a stop to goals that we set ourselves.Eric made efforts with determination to not allow setbacks to slow him down one bit,he took his work seriously and was able to achieve.Before I decided to sign up for school at valley college,I had to overcome lack of sleep and also figuring out how to take care of my four month old infant while enrolled in class.I work night shift and most times I had to attend classes right after work and I find hard to stay awake in class most times.The other huddle was getting my husband to change scheduling with his clientele so that he can watch my infant while I attend classes,and that has cost him business in the past.I had to come to terms that my employment is not ending,and that my infant would always be there,o I decide to move forward with school enrollment.Life is full of challenges and they come in different folds ,but one should never loose site of what’s at stake.
    Right after high school I made a personal decision to pursue degree in industrial chemistry,seem like a good decision until years after I graduated, I couldn’t find sufficient employment.So after few years being out of school my mom advised me to go back to school to pursue a program in nursing.I believe that one should not let his or her setback to define them.Eric’s story is truly an example of the limitless nature of life.

    • Obidum, like you I was inspired by the story, and took away a similar message. We make decisions in life that sometimes we need to change. In the example of your prior academic achievement, finding work was difficult, so you chose to go back to school to find steady employment which I might ad will inspire your child as well. Continuing to learn and trying to retain stable employment in a different field instead of taking the easy way out and just giving up on working for the sole reason that nothing out there is in your specific field is commendable, and your child will one day appreciate the work you had to put into all of this.

  11. “Reaching your goals and being successful, is YOUR choice”
    This article made me absolutely smile. The reason why is made me smile was because I had the privilege in meeting Eric Sorto in my English 103 class last year. He came into our class and spoke about his life and his gang related experiences and how that one bullet changed his life forever, but for the better. I remember him saying that if it wasn’t for that bullet he would probably still be doing what he was doing, and possibly end up in a worse situation than he already was in. he was so positive, despite what he had to go through every day and how much pain he is in, he always remained positive. I believe that the bullet changed his life for the better, he learned the value of his life and now is doing such great things for the science society. He is participating in neurological studies to better improve his current situation, as well as anyone else that may be experiencing his situation as well. And the fact that it took him 6700 attempts to simply drink water with his thoughts, doesn’t amaze me because he is just that kind of person. He is the kind of person that no matter what situation he is in or has been through, that he will not settle. He will keep going and keep trying until he gets to where he needs to be, or to where he is content with his progress. I loved reading this article and especially the fact of what he is currently doing and what research he is participating in just makes me even more privileged to have met him and talk to him about his life and his upcoming successes. I admire Eric Sorto’s drive, his passion, and his desire to keep going and never give up. I admire his dedication and participation to better himself in the name of science and just for himself in general. I truly admire him as a person overall, and he will go so far in life, even further than where he is now.

    • I agree with you for the most part,but one should not allow only a definite moment to change a failing attitude.I like to dwell on his courage to change rather than event that inspired him to change,He was truly lucky the bullet went the wrong way,could have been worse. Having courage to make better choices in life should be the lesson here,courage to quit drunk driving before a car wreck,courage to attend class before being dropped from class,courage to maintain a good marriage before getting hit with divorce papers.Making better choices before the inevitable. The courage to do the right thing at the right time would erase sometimes years and efforts it would take to correct mistakes in one’s life.My dad always say”start by doing it right the first time”. Eric’s courage to make things better for himself is what inspires me the most

    • Its so cool that you have personally met this guy and he talked to you about his experiences and bullet that changed his whole life for the better. Im taking English 103 next semester, I hope I can run into him as well. How was the class by the way ? Its strange what a will power of a person can do, or motivate you to do. This is truly one of those articles that if you are ever feeling down in life, you can watch this video and read this and you will smile and look forward to a brighter day.

  12. There Is Always Hope

    What are your thoughts on the topic? What did you think of the article?
    The video clip was definitely inspirational and the technology was beyond this world. To see the inventions made for individuals with disabilities has been a great cause as well as the appreciation and the look on their faces is incredible. Eric seems like he is an incredible man that appreciates what everyone is doing for him to make sure he is happy and able to do all the things that he wants. This article was definitely done for a good cause and for everyone watching this video they got to see that regardless of what disability you have you are should appreciate life and take on any challenges. In the beginning of the video Eric mentions he knew all about what is going to happen before they even mentioned anything. That shows an individual is well prepared and ready for any challenges or tasks as an individual. This article as well as the video is motivational and should be passed down for others. I would love to help someone in need of assistance. I currently work in the USC Keck School of Medicine Building and this is new information brought to me and was amazing watching the entire video as well as the article. As individuals we should not be scared to do anything and there is no excuses. Anything you set your mind to will be achieved and I know everyone is capable to succeed and becoming where they want.

  13. “The perseverance of Eric Sorto”

    Eric Sorto is actively redefining what it means to be quadriplegic by shattering popular misconceptions of life after an accident, broadening his horizons of possibilities and exhibiting an unyielding perseverant spirit which can serve as an inspirational wake up call to all exposed to his story. Firstly, his current situation itself serves as testament of the determination he exhibited, necessary to successfully complete his recovery; Soto managed to turn his life around after a gang related shooting which ended with a bullet in his spine and consequent paralysis in all four of his limbs. His progress following the accident is of sufficient merit on its own, however, its Eric’s most recent participation in a neurological study sponsored by USC’s Keck School of Medicine which exemplifies the same unyielding spirit he has exhibited throughout his life. The article points out it took Sorto 6700 attempts before he successfully controlled the prosthetic arm proficiently enough to use it to drink a beer. This is an unbelievable feat of determination, clearly failure is literally not an option. However, his unyielding work ethic is of no surprise, according to Smith, Sorto exhibited the same work ethic in his class, arriving on time and turning in assignments punctually; it could be said this work ethic and perseverance exhibited 10 years prior and until now directly contribute to his success. To Eric Sorto, circumstance is not an excuse but a dare and challenge waiting to be overcome, this is why I consider myself another admirer of his. This quality is apparent in his attitude during the interview, his demeanor is not that of a victim but of a survivor who successfully recovered, learned and thrived following his accident. His 6700 attempts will serve as a benchmark for my existing and future endeavors, for this I thank you Eric.

  14. Erik’s First Modelo

    Erik Sorto’s determined spirit, indomitable courage, and invincible will was something that motivates me to strive. His humbleness and pureness is a trait I was to embody. His willingness to learn and help out others will make this world a better place. Erik’s overall Grit is pure ambition. I enjoyed this video and read, and felt a list of emotions as in happy, sad, blessed, and truly honored. Technology has come so far and is truly a miracle worker. Erik’s heartwarming story increases my desire to be able to help people and children in need. Not everyone has the same spunk as we have seen in this video, but I would love to help someone in some aspect to retrieve their motivation. Erik’s strength to overcome his struggles even way back when, Professor Duane Smith’s class, is amazing. We have all had our own personal struggles, our own personal demons, which we all handle our different ways. Erik’s way of living is inspiration to all of us.
    I have always struggled with simple science. Chemistry has too many structures, biology has too many elements, while the word astrobiology is just too long to read. Erik Sorto’s courage to allow a group of scientist and doctors to implant chips into Erik’s brain without guarantee that a robot could be controlled with his thoughts is what science is all about. After 6,700 attempts, he managed to successfully move the robot’s arm and bring a drink to his mouth, which was a Modelo beer! I cannot imagine living a day to day life without being able to use my legs, hands, even thumbs. This article inspired me to look a little more into the statistics of neural implants. 100,000 people are living with brain implants; most being treated for Parkinson’s disease. Psychiatrists also are finding new ways to use this technology. Thomas Schlaeper is using the implant to treat severe depression, at the University of Bonn in Germany.

    • Hi Haylee,
      Erik Sorto’s is determined I totally agree with your post and I would like to add that he is ready and able to take on any challenges that comes his way. The video and article was definitely influential as well as motivational. This video shoes that there is no excuses and nothing should stop you from speaking and doing what you want to do in life. As individuals we tend to struggle from time to time but no excuses should be made we don’t score perfect on everything we do right away, we tend to practice over and over until we are satisfied with the work performed.

    • Haylee_Vaughn
      I completely agree with your thoughts on how much of an inspiration this man Is today, especially to our generation. I also agree with your statement about how far technology has come and how it has allowed people with such disabilities to feel normal and go back to the way they once were. Erik’s story is such an inspiration and he is definitely a role model on kids today. I also loved that he moved a Modelo beer out of everything he could have moved! I think his story will always live on with me and that it will forever inspire me to never give up and to keep moving forward no matter what situation I am in.

    • Hey Haylee! I totally agree with you. This story makes me want to go out there and do something as well. I still can’t get over the fact that he tried seven thousand times to get a drink by himself it really does blow my mind. And yes we have all had our own struggles, all different, but his definitely does inspire us to do better and does show us that anything is possible if you have the will and the drive. Thank you for the facts and for putting extra time in just to look this up! Very interesting!

  15. “No excuses, do it”
    This story alone is incredible. It’s great to see that even when you have struggles you can never put yourself down. Erik had the will to succeed in everything he set his mind to, regardless of disability. And because of this he was able to participate in a project that can give him what he had before. It is very inspiring for everyone. We’ve all had our doubts that we could not succeed or accomplish things here and there, but that should be no reason to give up. Not everyone has the same privileges as one another. And in Erik’s story, nothing got in the way for him. It was another reason to keep going to achieve greatness. I’ll admit, there has been times where I thought I could achieve goals, but there should be no excuse. There is nothing in this world that no one can’t accomplish. If you set your mind to it anything can happen. And it was great to see Erik having an opportunity to work with robots using mind control. I don’t know how else to put it but because of his hard work, positive attitude and determination he got to experience something like no other, and to feel independent again. It’s very inspiring and gets me pumped up to be the best I can be without any excuses. There should never be an excuse. Everyone is capable of amazing things. Just have to go for it.

    • Colleen_Martinez
      I completely agree on how incredible this story is. I believe that he has so much potential and that I am so grateful that he didn’t stop what he was doing with his life and came back to school no matter the struggle and no matter what he was going through. He knew that education was the key to success and didn’t stop chasing it until he could make an impact and a difference to this world. I agree that his story is truly inspiring and it definitely inspired me to never give up, no matter how hard life tends to get and no matter what my heart and my head say. We don’t have too much time to enjoy, and also enjoy what we have, so we should be entirely grateful. I also agree on your point to never give up, no matter what life throws in our way during the roller coaster of life. There should be no excuses to why we can’t be where we want to be, because if we really wanted it we would stop at nothing to help us reach that goal. And that is what Eric Sorto is and that is the kind of wonderful person he is.

    • I agree to not give up when faced with challenges.Erik’s drive and humility serves as a motivation for any of us hoping to climb new heights in life.In every individual’s life,there will always be several huddles to getting to one’s goals ,but it is certainly the grit that can help most get over. For some people huddles can become excuses ,excuses do allow one to procrastinate.I appreciated the fact that the article did not dwell on his gang encounter,or try to speculate whether he was raised poor by a single mother or that he may have been a product of a bad neighborhood, but instead on the courage and resilience that it took to move his life forward. I am also amazed to the fact that Erik kept a positive mind and not wallow in anger for being a victim,and that’s incredible.The lesson for all of us is to always drive yourself to achieve not matter your setbacks.

  16. Eric’s story is so powerful and truly inspiring for me! There are so many people who have had struggles than I will never experience but still manage to make something out of themselves. The only difference between people who are handicapped and a healthy individual is the amount of motivation and drive they have. You can see the determination Eric has just by controlling the robot by his own thoughts. Most people would quit right after the tenth or even fifty times but the fact that he got it on the 6700th time says something. You should not let a little disability or a struggle in your past determine you. You have the power to make a difference in your life, the question is how far are you willing to go to reach the goal.

    • Erik’s story is very powerful and truly inspiring to me also! I totally agree with all you have to say. My true inspiration is someone that can overcome their struggles to become great and become who they would like to be. The video made me so happy, because the light saw in Erik is truly amazing. I honestly think I would stop after ten times, let alone 6,700. He even said in the video if he becomes too frustrated, nothing will work. We all have our own burdens we must live with, learn from, and strive to do better than the day before.

    • You are right. They only difference between people is motivation. You can be the greatest person in the world, but be sleeping all day doing nothing at home and not being greater than what you are! There should be no excuse to not be the best person you can be. And Erik is pure inspiration, no matter what the obstacle.

    • There is really nothing else you can do besides just doing it. And your right, motivation is key to success. There should be no excuse for those fortunate to have more than others and not use their talents for greatness. A disability didn’t hold him back, so I should have no excuse on anything. Don’t get me wrong, we will all fail many times, but like Erik, that didn’t stop him on achieving his first drink in years. Hard work pays off, never give up!

  17. Erik’s story is truly an inspiration. I admire his strength and will power. He clearly made a choice not to accept his predicament but to take control of his life. Not everyone has what he has. I agree that settling for mediocrity is a choice, while striving for self-improvement and excellent is also a choice. Not all of us have the same opportunities in life, and the field is not always “leveled.” However, that should not stop those who may be at a disadvantage from taking action, fighting on and achieving their objectives. While I do not believe in the winner-loser paradigm, I do believe that will power, persistence and hard work can achieve almost everything.

  18. Well, I can’t tell you how much grit I HAD, but now after this story I WILL have a ton of grit. Unfortunately we don’t always find it in ourselves to be challenged, to overcome set backs, we find easy routes and shorter paths. This story is amazing, persistence and dedication is truly the heart of success. I always find myself complaining, sometimes its about very minuscule things and I’m not proud of it at all. This story along with other lessons in life is what helps me grow and come to realizations about the reality of life. Life is a gift, and we have to treat it as so. Nobody owes us anything, it takes heart and wisdom to really find meaning and balance. To be passionate and to be your best is not easy, and that’s why it isn’t as common as average people. I try my best for the most part, there is certainly room for improvement. It reminds me of a sermon I heard in church one day. The preacher spoke of excellence, and how it is a child of God’s duty to carry out excellence in everything he or she does. That sermon moved me, and made me realize why I always feel the need to be my best, do my best, and look my best. But as I said, there is always room for improvement. Good job Erick, that’s the way to LIVE, & actually feel ALIVE.

    • Hey Jazmin!
      I can definitely relate to your post. I also often find myself complaining at the smallest things when it reality it’s unnecessary. One person can be going through so much more personal issues but yet the person who has no struggles will tend to complain more. It truly makes no sense. What really matters is, how the individual is willing to look at the situation. If they have enough drive to make a difference, no one is going to stop them from achieving their goal!

  19. The Grit of Eric Sorto truly is amazing. He is an inspiration to watch on video. WHen I come face to face with a challenge, I will remember Eric. I will do my best to overcome the obstacles in my own life with the same perseverance. Even if I have positive thoughts of accomplishing a goal and still end up failing, I will keep trying until I succeed. Watching Eric succeed in taking a sip of beer put a smile on my face, and gives me hope for others in his situation.

  20. Erik Sorto is a truly great man. His disabilities are not an issue for him to get his work done because he chooses to not use them as an excuse. Sometimes I catch myself thinking, this is crazy I have six classes, two jobs, and feel overwhelmed, but it goes to show no excuse is a good excuse. Reading Erik’s story is pure inspiration and makes you feel guilty in a way for taking things for granted and telling yourself you have it rough. No matter how difficult or stressed you have it, its not nearly on the level of what Erik had to deal with and he still manages to do everything on a timely and elite level.

  21. I applaud this guy for being so strong. Like Professor Duane Smith said everyone wants to be compensated because they are “special” not this guy, he is one tough fella. The fact that he had enough grit in him to go through the studies and have millions of people around the world watch is just amazing. Most people take for granted what they have in life and don’t understand the value of something until they loose it. People don’t know what challenges in life they will face, for example this man didn’t know that the life he was living would have made him ended up like this. This story proves that anything in life can be conquered if you put your mind to it.

  22. Erik Sorto is truly an amazing human being. I believe everyone has something to learn from him. His situation is worse than most individuals who think they have it bad. However he does not complain, he powers through. To have tried something 6,700 times is an insane concept to understand. An individual has to be so strong to attempt something almost 7,000 times with no guarantee of success. I am also really glad that technology is going to improve his life, certainly its been proven that he never asked for help. But now I feel as if this technology will allow him to achieve even greater things.

    • I think that you have a great point about Erik’s strength. What technology can do these days is amazing, and I actually think that this robotic arm navigated with Erik’s thought is exciting and working mostly because of him. With hard work he proved it working, and opened such a technology not only for himself, but for many others in the same situation.

  23. This story is so AMAZING! I’m glad that he did not let his disability stop him from pursing is dreams and he kept going even trying so hard just to be able to take a drink on his own. People like this should always be noticed so that it can give courage to others. Some people just give up so easy and that’s not the way to go. With my learning disability I never let people know because I’m embarrassed and I never gave up I just felt like I was unable to do it because I was not smart enough. Eric story proves to you no matter what you can still reach for your dreams.

    • Yeah Monica I totally agree with you. No one should just have excuses for not being able to complete something if you do something wrong you should keep trying until you get better and perfect it. It takes 10,000 hours to master something and no one should take the easy way out and quit half way.

    • I agree that this man has a lot of strength ad determination. If he could move the robot’s arms and overcome his paralysis after 6700 attempts, then there really is no excuse for the rest of us to give up.

  24. Stories like this make you think twice about taking what we have for granted. There’s been times in my life when things got really hard, and I always had to remind myself that things could be worse. A couple months ago I cried over getting a parking ticket. Later that day got in a 5-car accident and totaled my car. I felt so stupid for crying over a $50 ticket when I was going to have to spend thousands to fix my car after the accident. But then I realized how lucky I was. The money didn’t matter because my physical body was left un-harmed. I was alive and had no lifelong injuries, which s something to never take for granted. Something as simple as bringing a glass of water to our mouths can take someone else six thousand and seven hundred times to accomplish. This just shows that it isn’t about the hand of cards you were given, but what you choose to do with those cards. We were all given hardships. For Erik Sorto, he was given challenges that others couldn’t even imagine, and still managed to be the best he could be. His story is one to remember when we ask ourselves “Why me?” We can always make the best life for ourselves if we have grit.

    • It is interesting that even though we know were taking things for granted we don’t really realize it until we read a story like Erik’s. The problem is that even in this moment we will agree that excuses and feeling sorry for yourself should just simply not happen, we seem to always end up doing the same old things. The people who truly do grow are the ones that read this story and learn something and actually apply it to their every day lives. A work ethic is a very valuable commodity.

    • I like the way you think. It is hard to look at the positives of life when things get a bit hard. It’s easy to stress on the little things, until a bigger stress comes up. I think I would cry over a $50 parking tip as well! Although your health is much more important than the amount of any parking ticket. I can’t imagine being in Erik’s situation. I think Erik has a great impression on life and his story is truly an inspiration. We can always strive for the best for ourselves if we overcome our personal struggles and demons.

  25. This story is mind-blowing. It truly puts our lives into perspective and makes us understand that nothing should be taken for granted. To hear about his dedication in trying thousands and thousands of times to succeed at something so simple for all of us is truly inspiring. I love hearing stories like these because I forget the petty inconveniences in my life and take time to be grateful for all that I DO have. It makes me wonder, though…Where does that grit come from in him? Is this a nature vs. nurture thing? Was he born with that strength of character and dignity? Or is it something he learned from his family or others in his environment? Perhaps it’s a bit of both. He is such an inspiration, and I want to read about him again and again especially during those times when things seem rough.

  26. Technology keeps amazing me every day and how people learn to use them is just beyond one’s expectations, but what is truly extraordinary and inspiring is seeing people like Eric Sorto. He is a true hero! We should look up to people like him and stop pitying ourselves. I have realized a while ago that in order to succeed and overcome challenges that life keeps throwing at us, we need to learn to face them and work on them. And, yes, I believe that for most of us it is a skill we need to work on all the time. Another thing we can all learn from Eric is that when we work hard to achieve something, it should be for our own good and satisfaction, and not for someone to notice and tap us on the shoulder. Watching this video, I want to save it, and every time I feel ” I can’t do it” or “This is too hard,” I want to watch it again to remind myself that there is nothing I cannot do and get inspired to keep working!

    • Yes, Anastassiya! I love your comment. I agree that everyone should stop pitying themselves and making excuses for why they can’t do something when clearly, we have the power within us to achieve extraordinary things. Also, I loved your comment about how we should achieve things for our own well-being and satisfaction and not to please or impress others.

    • I so agree with you he is a person that will inspire so many. Many people do pity themselves and when you do it does not get them know where, just to be depressed and have to always count on people for stuff and thats not the way to live. You are so right it is a skill that people need to work on and I hope after people watch this is encourages others.

  27. What a truly inspiring individual! Erik’s grit is something to be admired and draw motivation and inspiration from – on many levels. Having once been a gang member and rising above that lifestyle is itself already a difficult journey – and couple that with his devastating injury, it really is a marvel of his human spirit to address such challenges. The challenges we face everyday is always a test to the our determination, but what separates an individual such as Erik is his ability to go above and beyond when it seems impossible and rely on an internal fire/desire to achieve the seemingly unachievable – the grit!

  28. Erik has an amazing story. With his choices led him into a bad situation and caused an even worse outcome, but he never once let that outcome destroy his life. Erik may be a paraplegic, but he still moves everyone with his story. To have tried something 6700 times with a failure each time, and then one day it working is not a gift from god, it is but that is not fully what it is. it is desire and passion to keep on moving regardless the obstacles. His story is very inspirational. no matter the setbacks he never let anything stand in his way. It seems like he never wanted anyone to feel sorry, and I can relate. No matter what problem I am facing I never want anyone to feel sorry for me.

  29. Science… just wow!!!! Chips and neurons and amazing Doctors and mind controlled robots!!! It’s all too much for me to understand, but Eric’s story is amazing to watch. I will forever remember Eric’s story if I feel like my life is getting too hard or too overwhelming and see that if he can do it, I can do it too. If I fell like I’ve tried enough and I’m tired of trying I will remember that Eric tried 6700 times and although frustrating, never gave up until that straw hit his lips just so he can have that drink of beer all by himself.

  30. It is so interesting that as time goes by technology arises i am so happy for Erik i’m sure now he feels good about himself. What really made me happy was that technology helped him, doctors had no control over it they couldn’t really help him but then technology comes in handy and makes Erik and his loved ones happy. I can not imagine this world without technology it has changed many lives in a positive way, Erik’s story was very inspiring in my opinion he was confident with his look and his body, it makes me happy seeing people with health issues look at life the same way we ‘normal’ people do, they don’t see themselves ‘useless’ because they’re not. I’m sure Erik’s story is going to inspire every reader.

  31. Wow, I found Erik Sorto’s story really fascinating. It amazes me what technology can do these days. The very fact that he could use his thoughts to move the arm seems so futuristic. And about Erik’s grit – that kind of determination and diligence is truly admirable and hard to find.
    I like the part where you mentioned that Erik refused to be treated “special” and how most students want to be treated that way. I’ve noticed, from my own experiences, that a lot of time, the people who have some sort of disability or disadvantage seem to work harder and not make excuses, whereas the people considered “normal”, or even privileged tend to make excuses and want any problem or struggle they have to be, as you said, “compensated for”.
    As for myself, I’d like to think I have some amount of grit, but it’s probably not quite the amount that Erik Sorto has!

  32. Wow! Erik’s story is incredible. I think that most people complain about simple problems when they do not know what real struggles are. Despite Erik’s limitation, he still managed to overcome his physical obstacle and succeeded. It is unfortunate that he could not do all the things that he wanted by himself, but that did not stop him from going to class and getting a good grade. I was amazed to see the robotic arm that the doctors created for Erik. I never thought that machines could be controlled by mental thoughts through chips. It is very amazing, and I hope that Erik continues to prosper and gain more independence.

    • You are so right juan. Erik’s story is amazing. He represents the definition of desire and never giving up. I think technology is parallel to desire. Technology and science could fail at any time. But just like Erik and his grit, technology tries and continues to try. It never stops because of obstacles. Erik’s story can relate to any individual, not just people feeling sorry for small things because to them those small things are big things that affect their everyday.

    • Juan,

      I agree! The advances in science and technology are so impressive with what they can do for us. Erik may have to put more time, effort, and determination into getting what he wants, but at the end of the day he will achieve it. It’s kind of like the saying, “No matter how slow you go you’re still lapping everybody on the couch.” The people that don’t choose to get up everyday and get to work are the ones that usually don’t accomplish what they want out of their lives. I think that if you want something bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to make it work. Erik wanted an A, and he wanted the robot arm to be successful, and he got both of those things after time.

  33. This is such an inspiring story. There are so many times when I feel that I’m getting overwhelmed and I can’t manage all the things that are on my plate, but Erik’s story really puts that into perspective! This story really goes to show that your life is truly what you make of it. Yes, Erik’s paralysis is due to his past as a gang member, but he took a situation that might bring so many others to hopelessness and decided to make the most of his situation. Successful people aren’t successful because success is given to them but because they never stop working toward success.

    • I agree Jessica, Erik’s story is inspirational. It shows that if a person who has more hardships than you does not quit, you do not have a reasonable excuse to give up. Erik’s past taught him a lesson, and he changed his ways for the better. He left the gang life behind, decided to get an education, and is not letting anything stop him.

    • Yes I agree, that Eric’s story puts things into perspective. Many of us complain of our hardships without thinking about the fact that a lot of people have it so much worse than us, yet are working harder to overcome their difficult struggles! And I also like that you mentioned at the end that successful people “never stop working toward success”. I think that if you really want to achieve something, you really have to put in the effort. What you put in, is what you get out!

    • Well put Jessica. I truly agree with what you are saying. Even though he made some obvious bad choices in his previous life as a gang member, he is a total inspiration in his second chance of life. Some people may have looked at being a quadriplegic as a burden, but Eric totally turned it into a positive. I truly admire him for that.

  34. Erik Sorto is very inspiring with his drive, dedication, will power, and sheer grit. It really sheds light on the fact that we are too quick to think that life is bringing us down. Often times, people will face defeat and feel like giving up; however, someone like Mr. Soto has a story that arouses the sense of duty in oneself. It is the type of story that makes you believe that anything is possible. If someone in his position can attempt something over 6000 times and fail and then continue to get up and try again it leads you to question yourself and ask, “have I given it my all?”

    • Jaffar,
      That’s a great way to put it when it you’re so close to giving up…”Have I given it my all?” Such a simple question to ask yourself but when asked in the face of something challenging or difficult, it actually becomes harder to give up because the answer will always inevitably be a “No!”

  35. What an amazing story! I cannot begin but to be amazed at the fact that someone like Eric Sorto could be a light to others no matter his circumstances. He is the definition of a true trooper. Many people may drown in a glass of water, not thinking that there are people that are going through worse scenarios. I always believed that everything happens for a reason, even the worst things can be transformed into something better! it is simply up to us to make the best out of the situation, otherwise, if we quit in the middle of the storm than we lose the chance to see what we are really capable of.

    • I agree with you some people with little problems tend to complain so much and try to get attention without understanding that there are people with bigger problems but you can never know because they don’t show it, I consider erik a very strong and an inspiring person.

    • Zusette,

      I completely agree with you. Although what happened to Eric was terrible, it emphasizes how much grit he really has. No matter what disabilities he had to deal with or how much harder things are for him, he never stopped pushing foreword. Eric certainly did make the best out of a horrible situation. He is truly an inspiration.

  36. 6700 attempts… Six Thousand Seven Hundred attempts! This is how many times Eric had to try before reaching the simple and yet incredible complex goal of taking a sip of beer. When considering grit tenacity may be one of the top characteristics that comes to mind. That and being tough. Eric Sorto is beyond tenacious and tough. The bullet that hit his spine ended his life in many ways but through Eric’s grit it started it in many more. He has now left behind a life revolving around gang violence and has become a man of excellence in both schooling and now history through his contributions to science. When conducting this experiment the scientist’s need went beyond a person who was quadriplegic to a person who had mastered themselves. Eric mentioned that when he became frustrated it didn’t work so not only did they need an individual who would not give up they needed someone who could remain focused and calm in the face of an incredibly frustrating situation. Eric Sorto represents all of those amazing characteristics in one man, despite his challenges.

  37. I really admire Erik Soto. To encounter so many obstacles and not give up is admiring. I would have been so frustrated. I think its also brave that as soon as he received the call about the project he accepted right away. I would have thought about it twice just because of all the obstacles he had gone through. Its amazing how technology has evolved and its people like Erik that are not scared to do experiments knowing that it might not succeed. For this particular experiment he succeeded after so many times but he finally got to drink a beer on his own with his thoughts. I’m sure this feeling was amazing and all the trial and errors at the end were worth all the wait. His story is very inspiring and it will definitely remind me of how lucky I am to be able to use my hands and feet.

    • I feel the same way as you, I believe that after watching the short video my thoughts were “I’am very lucky.” It is unbelievable to think that we have two hands, and two feet to do anything we want, yet sometimes we give up along the way. After watching the video, I felt really inspired and couldn’t agree more with you about Eric, he truly is the definition of perseverance.

    • Yes I agree, he is in fact someone to look up to and admire; he some qualities that many of us need. Especially when we encounter obstacles all the time. He’s a reminder to many when you feel like giving up and are frustrated just be like Erik Soto and have “the grit”. And yes thank you to Erik for doing this not only for himself but for many out there that would need advance technology. I also was thankful after watching the video and reading about him that I am able to move my legs and arms. Your blog was very sincere and thoughtful.

  38. I don’t know where to start. To be in the situation that Erick is in, must be really frustrating. I don’t know if I would be able to go through what his going through. I give people like Erick a lot of respect because life itself is hard now imagine being paralyzed, not a lot of people would handle it. People need to start being grateful for the blessings that they have and not take them for granted. I’m happy for him that he got this chance to make a difference in the world. It gives him more motivation to keep going forward in life and not to give up.

    • To of think of how easy I become frustrated with very small things is so vain of me. His story is true amazing. I too agree that a lot of people may not be able to handle this type of situation as fearlessly as Erick. I respect Erick as well, I’m happy to have read his story.

  39. This is such an inspiring story. I don’t think i have ever heard of some one with more grit in my life. Erik Soto is truly the definition of grit. It takes true strength and courage to face not being able to have a normal life. I have known a few people who were put in very diffiult situations like Erik Soto

    • (accidentally pressed reply)
      and have given up. But he did not. He worked hard in school and was a dedicated student and did not let his injuries change define him. He changed his life and that is not something that is easy to do. The strength he had to change his life and overcome the obstcles the he had to endure is truly remarkable. I am so happy at what he has accomplished and hope that his life only gets better.

  40. Eric Soto’s story is a great example for all different walks of life, no matter your background I think this story touches us and opens our eyes to the real life struggles that are around us. His perseverance, determination and positive attitude made him a good candidate for the study and this is what I believe should be drilled into this days young people. Just like practice makes perfect, perseverance and determination will help you in all of life’s troubles.

    • I agree with you completely. Erik Soto was quadriplegic who never gave up. Everyday he strived to do his best ad be the best person he could be. I am truly amazed at how one person can have so much strength and courage. I have never been more inspired by any one. I am very happy he was able to use electronics to do simple everyday tasks. Every year technology is expanding and improving and i believe that people like Erik Soto deserve the chance to improve their lives with electronic assistance.

    • I agree with you with his positive attitude and just how smart he looks makes him a perfect candidate for the study his involved in. We need more people like him in the world, his positive outlook in life is just unbelievable. Hope fully he can help the doctors find a way to help others with the same condition that he has.

  41. I am completely inspired by Erik’s will and determination to succeed despite his disability. There are clearly no limits for Erik. His 6,700 vigorous attempts to drink his own beer was amazing and I know that I would have given up a lot time ago.

    If I want to succeed in life, I need to be able to confront my fears and set high expectations for myself. As a returning student after 10 years, I felt out of place and embarrassed for myself when I went up for my first speech in class. I am determined to give it my all as I am fully capable. Erik’s story was truly motivating to me.

    • Solorio,
      I totally understand how you feel about being older and going back to school. I too am a returning student after 6 years, and sometimes I feel like I’m “behind” in life because I didn’t just get my college degree earlier like most people. However, this is just something I know we have to overcome because in the end, what is important is that we are here getting our education. Erik’s story is so moving because he has to overcome such huge obstacles every day of his life, and not only does he overcome them, but he is excellent in the things he undertakes.

  42. I think Eric is an absolutely amazing example of how everyone should strive to be like. The determination he had to succeed when faced with such detrimental adversities is inspiring. I’m glad he got to use the electronic machine in order to complete simple tasks that we take for granted. I have no doubt how much he appreciates something so small and we should all learn a lesson from him to think this way a little bit more.

  43. I really admire about Erik Soto since he has come over many trails in his life. As to say, he has been treated differently but yet conquers that he is normal as you or me. Not many people will understand this concept since they think its some kind of joke, or either not have a family member to be in that situation. But this article to me is saying “You can overcome anything, if you put your mind to it.” To me that is the right choice of words for this guy named Eric Soto. I had a moving thought when I read this article, it was very touching.

  44. It’s such an amazing thing to see how technology has evolved and made many peoples’ lives easier. I too believe that Eric was the perfect choice for this project. He’s a man with faith and refuses to give up and by helping these men with this project, proves that he is someone great. Many can agree that people find technology as something that harms society, makes people lazy and they rely on it too much. Well it’s things like this project that I look back to and see many great things coming in our near future, and just lke Eric I too hope technology will improve more to help many othhers like Eric.

    • I agree with all of your comments. The point you made about technology being seen as something that harms society is absolutely true, but like you said it can also be extremely beneficial. New technology has been able to make tremendous medical advances and it will only get better as more and more things are figured out.

    • I completely agree with you. Technology is a great tool, especially in this day and age. It helped this man get one small step closer to getting back to the life he once lived. Technology does a lot more good than people care to admit. Also, bravo to the researchers in choosing someone like Mr. Soto in this study; in this type of situation, you need a strong subject AND research team. Both parties have to be willing to fail and continue to get up and try again.

  45. Great Story! A truly respectable individual with a great work ethic. I know I could learn a lot from him. Anyone can turn their life around and find the beauty in the world. I’m glad he was able to. I know he doesn’t want to be considered special but I think he is very special in the sense that he conveys the character I would want my children to have regardless of whatever situation they face. Now this Wall Street journal article on him is awesome. The things were able to do now are unbelievable and it is because we keep trying and never give up. That’s what us great.

  46. Eric has Grit! Grit: courage and resolve; strength of character. It takes courage to face the fact he may not be able to live a normal life again. It takes resolve to hold in the immense amounts of physical and emotional pain he experiences every day. And lastly it takes strength in character in order to persevere to create and live the new lifestyle and future he has ahead of him. I personally cannot say I have that much grit or will ever have that much Grit. Compared to many people my life has been very fortunate. I haven’t gone through anything more depressing than my parent’s divorce. But, I look forward to one day by following my own path, hopefully not through some tragic event, to muster the same amount of grit with in me as Eric has.

    • I cannot agree with you more. Eric has fire within his heart that cannot be put out, and many people don’t have that. I like to believe that I too have that more grit like he does, but one just cannot truly know unless they face tough challenges like Eric.

    • Maybe we don’t know how strong we are until we fall low enough to rise above our weaknesses. I don’t believe that I have anywhere near the grit of Eric Sorto. Even trying to truly imagine the burdens he carries and enormous obstacles he faces every day makes me uncomfortable. It also fills my heart with admiration for Eric. My greatest tragedy in life was my father dying when I was 16. That left a mark on me that has been difficult to overcome and I am now 28. I can only hope that somewhere inside all of us is a grit mighty enough to conquer the obstacles we face.

  47. wow this is interesting! as time goes by technology arises! i am happy for this man. in the past he has suffered but now he is better. im sure he is happier with him self. the doctors did a amazing job. i am glad people put time into building these incredible machines. i love america. it is very sad that he was shot at 21. i hope in the future when people are injured mentally and physically, that any thing can be fixed!

    • I could’t agree more. As technology progresses so does our understanding of ourselves. We have come to understand how to get rid of the pain. How to recover from a tragic event. How to create a new hope for someone with none. Indeed I love America as well, but our technology is not completely developed and I’m not sure if it ever will be. The future holds many secrets but being able to fix broken people is not one of them.

      • Couldn’t have said it better myself. I feel like it is more about being willing to give someone another chance no matter what they’ve done before so long as they understand the blessing they have that is this second chance. You never know what life is going to throw your way but as long as you embrace and overcome you will succeed.

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