by Andrea Martell
I believe I have a unique set of obstacles, but in the big scheme of things they are no different than other peoples obstacles. Let me explain.
When I look into my past I see my adult life in three parts.
The first was when I was sick, and in complete denial. This happens to a lot of people with invisible disabilities pre-diagnosis, and even post-diagnosis where someone tells them "everything is okay", so they keep going as they were, as though nothing has changed. This part of my life lasted a long time. In fact, it played a part in making me sicker since I went on pushing myself to be "normal".
The second was realizing I was sick and in need of help. This was another struggle. It took me years to get the right help, and validation because of the nature of my illness since CFS is where multiple sclerosis used to be 20 years ago. Anyway, after diagnosis and validation came the third part of my life.
The third part is where I am currently. Being diagnosed and validated helped a lot. I let out a lot of grief, took my pills, and decided I wasn't going to let life get me down. Receiving a disability
check every month has to be one of the most embarrassing thing for me as someone who spent four years in one of the most elite journalism schools in Canada, but it's a reality. But rather than dwell on it, I spent my first summer on disability reading every book on business I could find. I read about Terry Fox, and Rick Hansen as well because I wanted to understand how you get from ill to success.
The greatest thing I've come to understand from reading all these books, and talking to all the people I have met is that my problems at the end of the day are no different than others. Obstacles are a part of life. It could be a divorce, a lay off, an illness, an accident, a bankruptcy, a robbery....all these things can happen to anyone, and they happen to everyone. All of us, in no matter what the situation have a choice, but it's realizing you have the choice that empowers you.
There are people who have gone through divorce, an illness, an accident, a robbery, bankruptcy, and disability and they have not given up, while others have just put up the towel.
We all have a choice. Do we wake up and try to figure out a way around, under or through an obstacle or do we just let it stand in our way? Each obstacle is unique, but our goals of financial independence and time freedom are the same!
I don't think I'm different from anyone else. I just chose not to turn my life into a tragedy. Oh, I may work slower and with less resources than I want, but so what?
Napoleon Hill's son was born without ears. In college he got his hands on the first hearing aids, and he went to work with the company who made them to improve them. You bet he made a fortune there. You can check "Think and Grow Rich" if you don't believe me. What about Rick Hansen? A tragic accident puts him in a wheelchair, does he give up? No, he wheels around the world for spinal cord research! He envisioned himself rolling on the Great Wall of China and you know what, not only did he do it, but he's now a CEO and author!
I can cite numerous examples of this phenomenon. Our entire lives are a choice. Sometimes we make the right one, sometimes the wrong one. But whatever happens we're still the captain of our own ships whether we know it or not.
I am of course preaching to the choir here, but I wanted to explain to anyone who will read this, that life is a choice. Bad things happen to everybody. It's how you deal with it that matters.