YOU hear so many sob stories from celebrities who have 'triumphed'over a difficult upbringing, 'battled' with an illness,'survived'poverty or been a 'victim' of bad experiences at school or work. You wonder if success is possible without first serving up a tantalising trauma from your past.
Many of us suffer fall-out from bad experiences in life but there are many tales of determination and quiet courage that will never be told.
While counselling and support groups undoubtedly have a place, I was reminded of the simple strength of the individual human spirit, and the rewards that the love of friends and families can bring, when I attended a very special party last week.
My father-in-law, who still has the same sharp intelligence and keen interest in life he had as a young man, was celebrating his 90th birthday.
As it was a surprise 'do' held in Bournemouth, with people coming from all over the UK, it had to be organised with precision, which is something he would have understood only too well.
Because of the vagaries of historical timing, Mr F Senior was an RAF navigator on the bombers in the Second World War.
While on a mission over Germany his plane was shot down and burst into flames. He had to parachute out of the plane, and was eventually taken as a prisoner of war to Stalag Luft III where The Great Escape took place in 1944.
You wouldn't hear any of this dramatic stuff from him though, because like many of his fellow compatriots he never talks about it; never moans; never complains about those lost years.
Seeing him on Sunday, happily surrounded by old friends and family, including six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, it was abundantly clear why he and the rest of his generation had risked their lives to ensure our survival.
Even if such things had existed for them, they would never have considered suing for lost earnings, or calling for six figure sums for trauma suffered.
Defending their loved ones was their only overpowering motive; seeing their children (us) grow up in a free country was all the compensation they craved.
Celebrity culture, with endless brave souls 'battling' troubled pasts, may dominate today's headlines but my father-in-law, and so many like him, have never seen themselves as either victims or heroes.
Don't they put all those whining wimps well and truly in the shade?