I’ve been quiet for a while now. That doesn’t mean that nothing has happened. I have found great satisfaction in just helping someone one-on-one and seeing the progression. When you speak to a large group of people you do not get the satisfaction of following up with them and seeing if something you said made a difference in their life. When you work with someone one-on-one and you get to follow them and see how their life plays out. You can see the mistakes that they are making and relate it back to your own life and explain to them the consequences that you suffered. Sharing your own life lessons from both your successes and your failures, you can drastically change the life of an individual and prevent them from experiencing the hardships that you had to face throughout your life. If you stick with that person long enough, have faith in them, and see the growth of that individual, I promise you that it is more rewarding than anything.
Often at my speeches I get the same question, which is, “do you have any regrets?” I think people expect a long list of things that I regret about my past. Although I have the same answer every time and that answer is “no”. I go on to explain that everything I ever did, whether right or wrong, led me to become who I am today. I have found true happiness, purpose, patience, opportunity, and a life where I take nothing for granted. I am who I am today because of the mistakes that I made, but I do not regret those mistakes because I was given a second chance to use those mistakes as guidelines for others not to follow in my footsteps. My purpose now is prevention and to spread hope.
The wheelchair is an incredible tool. I believe that it makes the audience want to listen more closely to what I have to say. I do not want to spread fear, but I believe it does that in a way. Although by spreading that fear and capturing the attention of the audience, they will listen and see that I actually have a message of hope. Being disabled there is a stereotype that people believe that you’re miserable and do not live a high quality of life. People probably look at me before I start speaking and pray that they never end up in my shoes. When I tell people that I am happier now than I’ve ever been, I wonder if they actually believe it. I want to spread the message that no matter what situation you are in you are in charge of your own happiness. No one else can change your mindset and a positive mindset is all you need to find happiness. You can’t compare your life to others. You can’t focus on what you don’t have or what you can’t do. You need to focus on the things that you have in your life and you truly just need to appreciate being alive. The one thing you should never do is complain.
This brings me back to working with people one-on-one. You can’t speak to a crowd for an hour and expect a story to completely change their lives. Maybe they don’t believe you that you have found true happiness. Although when you work with someone one-on-one they see that you’re actually living the way that you claim to be living. This motivates them to believe that they can change their mindset.
Those people that are happily living with a disability are often called an “inspiration”. I’ve heard it many times before, but I do not believe it is fair because so many people have struggles in their lives that aren’t visible, unlike the disabled, and those people never get credit. We all have our own struggles and we can’t compare ourselves to others. It should be inspiring to see anyone living in true happiness without complaints in this high-pressure society. We need more people like that in this world. Those are the people that will change the world one life at a time.
I challenge you to be one of those people. I challenge you to live each day without complaining. If someone complains to you don’t agree with them. Try to help them focus on all the positive things in their life. Try to help them envision a better future. Positivity is contagious.The same goes for negativity. Positivity will attract positive people and make those people with a negative mindset think twice about their life. Change your mindset. Change the people around you. Change the world one life at a time.