We label people with missing parts of their bodies as disabled. In reality, these disabled people who have been creative enough to overcome their disabilities to show most of us how to understand life and thrive on what we have.
Can you imagine a one-handed person trying to tie up his laces?
Can you imagine a basketball player with one hand outplay players with two hands?
Can you imagine a doctor with one hand doing medical operations that require one hand?
These questions sparked me to write this post.
It all starts with the right mindset
My interest in this topic prompted me to read about the disabled and how they made their way successfully in life. In all the cases I studied, I found that they all shared the right mindset by accepting their reality and more with fun.
Let me explain by examples.
Taylor Orcutt with one arm built the realization of her dream to become a physician by saying “one can stop you as long as you’re determined to never give up”.
Her realization of disability gave her the opportunity to gain skills that normal people lack.
Her unique experience resulted in her being a co-founder of a student club by the name of DREAM ((Disability Rights, Education, and Activism in Medicine). Her dream job ended in her unique DREAM club.
Carson Pickett had the right mindset by saying “I use what God gave me”. She lost one arm but learned to use the other one with double efficiency. She is renowned for her humor to make fun such as in washing her hair with one hand that amazed her teammates being a notable defender in the National Women’s Soccer League. She says, “Control what you can control”. Simple advice, but packed with wisdom.
She used a fun icebreaker coupled with her expanded mindset to achieve a lot. I quote her words of wisdom to see that this disabled woman has a greater purpose in life than most of us have. She says, “I can use my arm for something greater than myself. I am able to affect so many kids and people who may not see a way out. It does not have to affect them through soccer. To see that I am succeeding in life and happy in life can go a long way for some people”.
The strength of her attitude comes from accepting her assumed disability. We discuss teams and the need for team members to work for the sake of the team. Well, Pickett puts this well into perspective “It’s not just about who can be better than the other person. It is about who can help the team the best way that they possibly can.”
The story of the man who lost his right arm is impressive. He accepted being one-handed with fun. It is the story of Porter J. Ellett who lost his right hand. He applied for a job as an NFL coach’s assistant. The coach who interviewed him told him that one of the job requirements was to be his right-hand man. Ellett replied by saying “as long as you would be okay with your right-hand man not having a right hand.” The coach replied, “then you’ll be my left-hand man.” Elletts’ fun got him the job. His positive attitude to learning to adapt and to look for the positives in life, lessons he has shared in hundreds of talks as a motivational speaker.
At age 10 Ellett worked out creatively how to wrap one of the laces around the shoe, then stepping on the lace to hold it tight. Neuroscience explains how these people may do what is for most is wrongly considered as undoable. Understanding how the human brain works is one of the most important goals of science. In addition, one of the first steps to uncovering its secrets lies in working out how the brain is actually organized. Our current view goes back to pioneering work by the neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield in the 1940s, which established the link between brain organization and our ability to operate our body.
The above are examples of few cases of the unbreakable disabled to break our hearts with their elevated attitudes, wisdom, fun, and antifragility.