By guest blogger Jake French – Build a Ladder to Your Dreams
The pity pit. This dreary destination is carved out by negativity, home to the hopeless, filled with fear, lined with doubt, and unfortunately is a trap many people with a spinal cord injury (SCI) fall into. Three years ago the unforgettable snap of my neck bought me a one-way ticket to this depressing place. While in the hospital for twelve weeks, I was joined in the pit by the majority of my fellow patients. Burn victims, strokes, car crashes, amputees, friends, family, and hospital staff. Wait a minute, why are these other able-bodied people taking up room in my pity pit? It’s supposed to be all about me, remember, poor me! The answer to this question literally set me free. Choice.
If you find yourself buried deep in the pity pit or even teetering on the edge, you are not helpless. Let me tell you about the ladder I built to get out of the hole and start moving forward. The FACTS of life is an acronym I created to remind myself of the variables that I always have control over. Whether I’m giving an inspirational speech to hundreds of high school students, keynoting a conference, or teaching at a Team Success workshop, every single audience member (including you) has the chance to be the victim or victor in the following five areas of life. These are examples and observations of what the FACTS look like in my life. What could they represent in your life?
FOCUS: We seem to wind up getting what we focus on. Stick out one of your thumbs and pretend it represents the biggest challenge in your life right now. Close one eye, and move that thumb so it’s one inch from your open eye. What can you see? Now stick your hand out and give me a thumbs up! Is your view a little bit different? Your problems did not go away, you just changed your perspective.
ATTITUDE: Attitude is contagious; a negative attitude infects others, while a positive can affect others. If you’re thinking, “but Jake, it’s all the people around me who have a negative attitude.” When you want something to change, where is the first place you should always start?
CHOICE: I found this poem and it reminded me of something Hulk Hogan would say. For maximum effect, read it out loud in his voice! “As you go through life brother, whatever your goal, keep your eye on the donut, not on the hole.”
THANKS: The legendary speaker Zig Ziglar was right on the money when he said we must have an “attitude of gratitude.” I bet you run across an opportunity every day where you could reach out and help someone else.
SMILE: I’m a manly man. When my diabolical nurse gave me a hot pink wheelchair, I knew I was really in for it with my friends! “Hey Jake, it’s so good to see you. Looks like you’re doing great, but what’s up with that pink wheelchair?” snickered one of my buddies. “What do you mean?” I asked. “The color is actually manjenta.”
I would be lying if I claimed just having a smile and positive attitude will make all your problems go away. However, if you make a commitment to have the FACTS be part of everything you say, think, and do, it will open many doors for you. Like most things SCI related, personal change takes time. Research shows from six months to a year. Practice makes permanent, so remember to keep your eye on the donut, not on the hole!
*** Jake French is the author of Life Happens. Live It! Find it on Amazon.