418. You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Be Happy
Born in the Czech Republic and very sickly from an early age, Otakara spent more time reading great literature in her mother’s library and visiting doctors than playing with her friends. Now she lives on a ranch in the mountains of Oregon and travels every chance she gets. But it wasn’t the doctors who turned her life around. What did she know that they did not?
Otakara Klettke was a sickly child who couldn’t even carry her school books. She managed to escape special diets, constant visits to doctors, surgeries and hospital stays, and become a personal fitness trainer, adventurer and TV reporter while keeping her body in shape. Through her illness and recovery, she learned to talk—and listen—to her body. In her book. “Hear Your Body Whisper,” she shares how she said no to the limitations of her health problems, left doctors in the dust and started living life to the fullest. Currently she lives on the ranch with her husband and daughter by the beautiful Cascade Range in Oregon, raising too many pets and taking every chance to go on road trips with her home schooled daughter.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“I grew up in the Czech Republic during the communist era. Confined to my bed for much of my childhood, there wasn’t much to watch on TV, especially for kids, so I became a huge reader. I was addicted to the written word and would read everything everywhere. Thankfully, I came from a family with a collection of the most beautiful and amazing literature from around the world. I was blessed to read works of many authors. I knew at an early age I wanted to be a writer.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
Growing up in a family that valued education, it was expected that Otakara would follow the well-worn path of preparatory schools and college, but she had an independent streak. “Anything expected of me—especially as a young person who didn’t want to do it—so, naturally, I ditched college and decided to educate myself through travel and experience. You don’t have to get all your knowledge from school. You can gain what you want from the practical aspects of life. I love reading, so I love learning. Traveling was hugely important to me at that stage of development.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“I always thought I have a talent for language but I gave up on it when I moved to the US. I didn’t want to write in Czech because I hadn’t been using it much. But my skills did not seem strong enough in English. I became depressed because I felt I lost the one true Talent I always had, a facility for language. But I got to the point where I knew I could not be happy if I let my talent slowly decay. A huge milestone for me came when I gave myself permission last year to write a book that was less than perfect. Things were going so badly that it just had to come out! It did, and I am super happy.”
Steps to Success from Otakara Klettke
- Give yourself permission not to be perfect.
- Surround yourself with people who will encourage you on your path.
- Recognize the ways we are brainwashed by society and wash away the beliefs you don’t want.
- Don’t allow your children to be brainwashed by the system.
On Her Bookshelf
The Little Prince, by Anthony de Saint-Exupery
The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
Connecting With Otakara Klettke
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