Chris Rock said, “I have had horrible cars, because I never had money, so I’d always end up broken down on the highway. When I stood there trying to flag someone down, nobody stopped. But when I pushed my own car, other drivers would get out and push with me. If you want help, help yourself, people like to see that.” I could not move, I was a paraplegic. In addition to that, I was allotted only forty-five minutes per day in physical therapy. With that being said, I gave it my all in those sessions, and then some. Therapists began to take notice and push me me beyond everybody’s expectations, including my own. When I was transferred to the next facility, I pushed myself even more. This time however, whenever somebody did not want to go to go to their therapy sessions, management would elect me to go instead. In addition to that, when I left those sessions I would also bring back a piece of gym equipment back to my hospital room. Fast forward to yesterday, when I went to water therapy. At this facility, I have taken up every program that they have to offer. A man named Joseph shook my hand and asked, “Would you mind if I worked on you with physical therapy intern for four months?” This brief conversation, in addition to my hard work, netted me a scholarship for four months of free physical therapy. This experience taught me that if you demonstrate that you are willing to help yourself then other individuals will push you towards your goals.
After leaving the hospital I had no longer had a dedicated place, schedule, or team of therapists to guide me through my recovery process. Not knowing where the next step to continue moving forward was, my mother and I joined a gym to begin a proactive journey towards overcoming paraplegia on our own. With that said, we signed up to a gym that caters to individuals with disabilities, and the elderly population, that had a pool, community fitness classes, a physical therapist on staff, and they offered a water therapy as well. In addition to the services, there was so much support this community where everybody’s prime objective in life was to be better each day then they were the day before. Furthermore, a plethora of fitness activities were offered and what I learned, through my experience, was that the more classes I signed up for, the more people realized how serious and determined I was to overcome paraplegia. To make a long story short, the more that I worked to help myself, the more others were going out of their way and put in effort to help push me towards my goal. With that said, what I learned was that if you are in a powerless position, you always have the option to create an opportunity that you can then leverage for power. It is similar to what what Bruce Lee once mentioned, “To Hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” If a circumstance seems impossible to overcome then putting in the effort to create new possibilities for yourself will instill further power and freedom. With that said, my experience at the Timpany Center taught me to look for turning points, remain thirsty for knowledge, and to attack my weaknesses.
Look for Turning Points
Andy Dufresnex said, “I guess it comes down to a certain choice. Get busy living or get busy dying.“ Adversity is a turning point to make a choice, prepare to suffer or prepare to overcome. Additionally, bystanders observe from the sidelines to see how you react to adverse circumstances. If you react negatively, you will receive a negative reaction from your environment. Alternatively, if you react constructively you will receive a positive response, in a negative circumstance. Individuals will tell people about your character and will to help yourself and someone will see your actions as proof that you are worthy of helping. With that said, situations in life are neither positive or negative, they are turning points and it is up to you to react constructively and create a proactive environment for yourself. According to Robert Greene, “An opportunist in life sees all hindrances as instruments for power.” Opportunities multiply as they are seized and times of tension, along with chaos, are instruments of turning points that open up new doors when called upon. When fear is set aside, and the call is answered, you will set off on a path that is uniquely your own. In this new life you will discover new needs and avenues of contribution. Additionally. where there is no opportunity, there is a void waiting to be filled by one. With that said, life is full of turning points that we can leverage for the creation of new opportunities for ourselves.
Tweak Your Life
I was talking about New Years resolutions, with the physical therapist of the Timpany Center and she, Dr. Jen told me, “It is hard to completely change your lifestyle. Instead, focus on things you are already doing everyday, and tweak it, so it can hopefully improve the quality of your life.” This expedience, recovering after being shot in the head taught me that your life can change fast and recovery requires small tweaks that, collectively, yield larger outcomes. Jack Canfield once said, “Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them.” Forecasting a positive outlook is the cornerstone of mental wellness, which reinforces other life dynamics as well. Thinking in a positive light, and then applying yourself. develops solution based thinking which opens doors where there once were only walls. With that said, a positive perspective will overcome discouragement and instill the confidence to continue making progress during turbulent times. For example, when I was paralyzed, and could not move my legs, I was not upset, have a negative attitude, or was ever discouraged. Instead, I thought in great detail the marathons I would run, I promised my brain surgeon I would come back and visit him dancing on my toes, and my primary care doctor told me that she would take me out to dinner on a date with her if I walk again. At this point, I was burdened with a mentally deep rooted responsibility to get on my feet again which required many little steps in the process. There was a Dragos Bratasanu quote on the hospital wall that which read, “Every step you take toward the top is possible because of all the little steps you took in the past.” All of the smaller efforts are the building blocks to open bigger doors in the future. Additionally, the smaller challenges provide a platform, or proving ground, where one must execute previously acquired skills order to progress toward fulfilling their goal. Such challenges should be welcomed as these road bumps and challenges are opportunities for one to to further improve themselves. With that said, baby steps are like cords in strong rope, individually they may be weak however, cohesively they become indestructible.
Remain Thirsty for Knowledge
One of my karate instructors, Bear, told me, “You know the question, ‘Is the glass half empty, or is the glass half full?’ Most people want the glass full, however, this is the wrong way of thinking.” With time, our minds tend to close off. At some point, we feel like we know what we need to know; our opinions are certain and firm. With this approach, your life will never fulfill it’s potential because your overall view of life life will and grow increasingly narrow and static. Bear continued by saying, “You want to keep your glass of knowledge almost empty. When you fill your mind to maximum capacity, you think you know everything and you eventually become resistant to change.” We become what we think thinking about the most and by limiting our outlook we are only shortening our horizons. On the other hand, thinking outside the box, and be a person of original thought, this gives us the freedom of forming unique perspectives on life and find creative solutions for overcoming challenges that has never been perceived by anybody else.
Sun Tzu said, “Avoid what is strong, attack what is weak.” What I learned from trying to help myself through adversity is that if trying if you are truly trying to make a change in your life, make sure that you apply focus, not all of it, the areas that need improvement. The idea is to achieve success in all areas of life, and not only in one isolated dynamic, to attract more abundance, happiness, and opportunity in your transformative journey of self-growth. For example, since the strongest part of my body is my arms, and if that is that is what I concentrated in improving, I would never learn how to walk again. Even though it is much easier for to move me to move my upper extremities, I will be doing myself a disservice by further diminishing my weak points. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer said, “As you place more and more energy on what you intend to manifest, you’ll start seeing those intentions materializing.” In other words, the more more you attack your weaknesses, the more independent, and the less help, you will need in the future. Additionally, by transforming your weakness into strength you have greater authority, and less worry, as you learn how to help yourself and gain control of your life.
One thought on “Transform Your Weakness Into Strength”
Thank you again for sharing your amazing recovery story! I agree with you…I try to view problems and conflict as a self-teaching mechanism too.
You are so fortunate to have had so much and such specialized rehab! You are an inspiration & a teacher to all TBI survivors! Best to you! 👍