There Is a Gift In Every Problem

Sam Bailey grew up on a farm. During his teen years he decided to take a few years away to see the world. He expected that when he returned home he would take over the reins of the family farm, get married and raise a family. However, Sam’s dreams were shattered when, at just 19 years old, he was in a car accident which left him a quadriplegic.

Sam said there were times in his life when he would look to the heavens and say, “Thanks very much” with anger, resentment and despair. Nineteen years later he says, “Thanks so much” and means it. Sam believes that while a car accident changed his life forever it gave him so much more. It helped him to become aware of what he valued most.

Sam chose to never let his injuries prevent him from being happy or from creating a life that he loves. He chose to be resourceful and persistent. He began by learning to get himself on and off a four wheel dirt bike so that he could navigate his family’s property. This took a lot of trial and error and many falls. He now uses a hoist to get himself into farm machinery. He learnt to drive a car again and went on to learn how to fly an ultralight plane. Sam aims to be the first quadriplegic to fly a helicopter. And while all of those achievements are significant, Sam said the most important event in his life was meeting and falling in love with Jenny.

There Is a Gift In Every Problem

Jenny was a radio journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC). She met Sam when she planned to do a story about him. They became friends first and as their relationship grew into something more Sam did a lot of soul searching as to whether it was fair to ask Jenny to share her life with him. When he decided he had something to offer her, he proposed to Jenny live on air during her radio program. They married soon after.

Sam hasn’t let anything stop him living his life to the fullest. But what is so amazing is how grateful Sam is for his life and his handicap. Sam said that he wouldn’t change anything even if that meant he could walk again.

When you develop the habit of being grateful you begin to recognise the gifts in your problems. Being grateful is a habit which will continually support you. A good habit to establish is to fall asleep each night giving thanks. If you do this regularly you will find that your first thought on waking is gratitude. It’s a lovely way to start and end your day.

Sam Bailey’s book Head over Heels tells is an inspirational biography. I highly recommend it.

Accepting Your Own Power

They made fun of him, shunned him and called him names like “Crazy Eddie”and “Mr. Magoo on Skis” but none of that stopped Eddie Edwards, also known as Eddie the Eagle, from achieving his dream.

The movie, Eddie the Eagle, was my inspiration for today’s blog and if I had the power I would make it compulsory viewing for all kids.

What’s so special about this movie is that it’s not about winning and being the best. It’s about having a dream and the courage to pursue that dream despite incredible obstacles. It’s about courage,  resilience, belief in oneself and making your opinion of you more important than what other people say about you. And what I love most about this movie is that Eddie became an inspiration not because he was the best, he actually came last in all his Olympic events, but because he did his best and celebrated his successes.

In our world winning and being the best has become way too important, when we focus on achievement we often overlook what really should be celebrated and that is courage, determination and belief in oneself.

It is a sad reflection of our society today that people like Eddie are a rarity. Every day I hear people talk about their limitations, what they can’t have, how they doubt themselves, what stands in their way. But what if you shifted your perspective and asked questions like:

What is the opportunity in the challenges I face right now?

What gifts am I being given?

What if I am powerful?

If I acted as if I believed I was powerful what would I change in my life?

The delusion that we live under that we are powerless to change our lives, and the lives of others, is what has held society back for centuries. What if you chose to see the world through different lenses. Rather than resisting what is or focusing on what is missing you focused on the opportunity you have to change yourself how different would your life be? What if you chose to believe that the challenges you face right now are guiding you to the quickest path to your ideal life.

The willingness to view challenges as opportunities to change yourself and your life can be life changing. We need to reconceive what power is in order to claim it. Power can be anything you define it to be. Power can be expressed through gentleness or kindness.  Power can inspire and influence others positively. Power is taking the quickest route to your goal. Power is never about force.

Accepting Your Own Power

The widespread attention that Eddie received was embarrassing to some on the British Olympic Committee so they changed the rules making it nearly impossible for anyone like Eddie to compete in future. However, Eddie, a working class plasterer who came last in his sport, was powerful enough to change Olympic rules. In 1990, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) instituted what became known as the Eddie the Eagle Rule, which made it fairer for future competitors.

Eddie said, “To me competing was all that mattered”, and that’s what it should be. Doing what you love, exceeding your own personal best, simply because you love it.