A couple of years ago I met Mark Pollock, whose story is truly inspiring. He went blind suddenly and irreversibly at the age of 22. A high academic achiever and international sportsman, his future looked mapped out for success when he was suddenly hit with this devastating diagnosis. His book “Making it Happen” is a summary of the lessons he learned.
I remember that he spoke about how he decided (eventually after understandably being totally despondent) to take responsibility for his life again and he described his mental process he would go through to “make it happen”, whatever “it” may be. This involved an honest and ruthless understanding of what the blockages really were and if there were no straightforward solutions to overcoming the obstacles, he made me aware of the concept of a “work around”. He was going to “make it happen” one way or another, by either overcoming any obstacle or if that wasn’t possible then he would find a work around. A hugely powerful concept.
When I was younger I used to visit my mother when she was at a centre for the physically handicapped. She was starting to suffer with arthritis and visited this place for one day a week. On one visit someone showed me around I was shocked and inspired to see people with all manner of disabilities having fun, playing pool, playing cards, doing stuff that many of us wouldn’t even attempt. They were masters of the work around.
I personally find it gives me perspective and inspiration to spend time with people who seem to make light of the most enormous difficulties and just get on with doing stuff, because they can. of course when I see what others can achieve against all odds it helps me to raise my game; I really have no excuse for not operating at the highest level I am capable of…because I can.
A very good friend of mine tells a story about spending time as an assistant in a hospice and marvels at the fact that he found the people in the hospice generally more cheerful and optimistic than the average person in the queue at the checkout in Tesco. To use an Americanism.. go figure!
Some of the greatest of attributes we humans share are resilience, creativeness and determination. There are examples everywhere, Mark Pollock, Nelson Mandela, our military heroes and people who have faced all manner of physical, mental, political and societal obstacles but have still done the very best with the opportunity that life has presented.
So I wonder where is my excuse for not being the best I can be? Because I can.
Be the best you can be always.