Life is about choices. We’re put in situations and given things but it’s up to us to choose what we do with it. I’ve said this before during the several times I’ve been asked to do motivational talks. Life is like poker. It’s not always the best hand that wins. It’s who plays their cards right that often end up winning.
I was born with a rare genetic disease that has robbed me of a lot of physical abilities. I was fortunate enough to have been brought up with a positive disposition. I could use my sickness as a stumbling block or a stepping-stone to something great.
Some people tend to dwell on the negative things of a situation. In my case some people in my situation would tend to think about not being able to walk, or do things on their own. I admit I think about those things. I don’t dwell on them though. So I can’t walk or do most things on my own. Tough. No matter how much I cry over it though it won’t change anything.
What I can do though is to focus on things I can do. I can also try to see how I can turn these bad things into an opportunity for something good.
People like underdogs. People like stories about overcoming challenges. I guess that’s my opportunity to do something great. Try to make the most of my situation and make something out of myself. I can use my story to inspire people.
With that mind set, I set to do things, which I thought I never could. The earliest accomplishment that I can remember is finishing school. I was not an excellent student. I did not graduate with honors. Now I could feel bad about that and just say that I’m an ordinary person. When I think about it though, I realize that finishing school is an accomplishment in itself. I did it on time. I did it with good enough grades.
What some people don’t realize is to get to school; someone like me needs to get up hours ahead. If a normal person wakes up at 6 a.m. to make the 7:30 a.m. school bell, I would need to get up at 5 or maybe even 4:30. In order to finish school I had to put in twice the effort as most people do. That in itself is a big success for me. I remember the words in my high school classroom. “Success is not where you are, it’s how you get there”. So even if I didn’t graduate with honors I am successful because of the challenges I had to overcome to simply graduate. Could I have done better? Sure. All of us can. Should I dwell on the fact I didn’t? No. It’s the past and I can’t change it. I can just move forward.
In the 30 plus years I’ve been on this, God’s Earth I’ve done things that I never thought I would be able to do. I’ve met a sitting president. I’ve spoken in front of 6,000 people in a packed arena, I’ve been paid to speak in front of people, I’ve appeared on TV several times, and a lot more. All of which I was able to do because I chose to turn my stumbling blocks into stepping stones to something good.
I can use my disease to do something good. People like my story. They like the fact that I keep trying to do things where most people would quit. In doing this, I’ve turned my challenges into opportunities to make other people realize that they can also overcome their problems.
In hindsight I’m thankful I was put in this situation. I’m thankful that in going through this horrible disease it allowed me to inspire people. Something that not all people have the chance to do.
So the next time you’re faced with a challenge, think of it not as a stumbling block but as a stepping-stone to something good.