The only guarantee in life is that we all have one shot at living. No redoes or do overs exist. However, we do control the choices and chances we choose to take over the course of our life. Some people decide to drift through life, discontent in their discomfort and dissatisfaction. Then there are others who course correct and move mountains to make changes. Enter Shannon Bream.
Growing up in Florida, Bream had no idea she would one day win Miss Virginia, Miss America, and Miss Florida. She grew up as the child of divorced parents who raised her in the Christian faith. No dancing, no secular music, and no trendy clothing. Not exactly Miss America in the making. Shannon did not grow up a member of the popular crowd in school. In high school she was voted to the Valentines Sweetheart court at school as a joke. She did not let the humiliation get her down.
After high school, she won a full scholarship to Florida State. However, she did not like the college. So she transferred to Liberty University in Virginia. While getting her hair cut, the hairstylist encouraged her to enter the Miss Virginia competition. It took her two qualifying pageants before she won the title. Then she went on to win Miss America, despite a lack of lifetime pageant training. Both scholarship competitions allowed her to graduate without college debt.
While at Liberty, she met her husband. They got engaged and moved back to Florida for her to attend Law school. Right before the wedding, her fiancée came down with a brain tumor. He survived. They got married and she graduated. After a few years of practicing law, Shannon became dissatisfied with the world of law. The constant day-to-day repetitiveness became unbearable.
With the full support of her husband, she did a complete 180 turn and decided to become a journalist. After a long slog of learning the ropes and paying her dues, Shannon got her shot of becoming a news anchor. She now hosts her own night time show on the Fox Network. Through it all she relied upon her strong faith and belief in her own intelligence.
I am not an optimist. Nor am I pessimist. Instead, I fall somewhere in between and consider myself a cynical realist. However, I enjoy reading accounts of people with radically different outlooks on life than me. I believe an important part of personal development is learning how other people view the world. Shannon Bream comes across as a delightful person in the book who did not let some truly terrible life events drag her down. She could have easily become another disenchanted and cynical lawyer. Instead, she chose to chase a different life that aligned better with her personality and life goals. Did life throw her a few curveballs? Yes. Did she let it turn into a cynical pessimist? No.
Reading this book is a refreshing modern tale of how life changes. Everyone can redirect the pathways of their life if they try hard enough.
Themes Explored: religion, faith, Florida, autobiography, Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Virginia, optimism, journalism, marriage, Christianity, non-fiction, biography, news anchor
Synopsis: Whether it’s her work today as a reporter and host for Fox News, her years in law school, or the time she spent competing in pageants like Miss America, Shannon Bream has spent her entire adult life navigating high-pressure environments where perfection is expected and competition is the name of the game. In Finding the Bright Side, Shannon continues a conversation about authenticity, humility, and trusting in God that she’s already begun with her followers on social media. She shares behind-the-scenes stories from Washington, D.C., revelations from her time reporting on the Supreme Court, and lessons learned from the most challenging moments of her life–from the time she was fired from her first job and told, “You’re the worst person I’ve ever seen on TV,” to the time she heard “There is no cure.” (Adapted from Goodreads)
Finding the Bright Side: The Art of Chasing What Matters, Convergent Books, 2019, ISBN: 9781524763473