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Turning the Worst into Success: Ted Turner

2017 High School Essay Contest second place essay by Eric Corona

Fiercely, vigorously, and ingeniously Ted Turner made a name for himself in the television industry with all odds stacked against him. Mr. Turner has bipolar disorder, which has caused periods of depression and suicidal thoughts; his father struggled with the same disorder and actually committed suicide. Although the disorder has evident negative effects, Mr. Turner was able to use the disorder to his advantage through risk taking and the limitation of the negatives that may have otherwise hindered his success. To understand how Ted Turner limited the disadvantages of bipolar disorder and used certain aspects to his benefit, it is essential to comprehend how he got to the top. In 1960, Ted Turner got a job at the advertising company his father ran with the results being tremendous: the branch he ran more than doubled their profits. After his father died, though, Mr. Turner had to do much more than run a single branch: he had the whole company in his hands. Throughout the years, Ted Turner achieved much with an incredible expansion of the company. With innovation in his sights, in 1980, Mr. Turner created the first news network to run news 24 hours a day, CNN. Later in his career, Ted Turner created other successful ventures like TNT, Turner Network Television, and Cartoon Network. With this in mind, it becomes clear that Ted Turner is a brilliant entrepreneur and this is in part because of bipolar disorder. For example, most executives will simply not take many risks; this has caused a lack of innovation, since the synthesis of new ideas is not always profitable. Yet, Ted Turner was bold and daring enough to take a risk with CNN, one of the most powerful news networks in the United States. His revolutionary idea and will to execute it is due in part to bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder have periods where they are manic and euphoric. In these moments, wild and incredible actions can be taken and this is seen with Ted Turner. This is also seen in other ventures Mr. Turner has created. For example, Cartoon Network was the first network that exclusively ran cartoons, a huge breakthrough at the time. Although the disorder proved to be essential in Ted Turner’s success, it could have easily destroyed his career and life if he had not limited certain aspects of it. In his experience with bipolar disorder, Ted Turner admitted that he experienced moments of extreme depression and suicidal thoughts. He fought through that and he would not have achieved all he did if he would have listened to those malicious thoughts. Luckily, he does have treatment for bipolar disorder, as it can destroy lives if not treated correctly. Now, after learning what Turner has gone through and faced with bipolar disorder, I have learned a lot about facing difficult situations. Ted Turner could have sobbed and grieved over a million tragedies committed against him, and yet he chose to work through the pain and sorrow. Not only did he do that, but he also turned his seemingly unstoppable disadvantage, bipolar disorder, into an advantage with the limiting of unfavorable aspects. This unbreakable will and spirit in achieving goals inspires me to do so much. I want to work relentlessly, tirelessly and fearlessly because of Ted Turner’s incredible mastering of his life and a seemingly untamable beast, bipolar disorder. 

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