Inspiring Examples of Resistance: The Guy Who Didn't Give Up
The moment I saw this video it immediately shattered the threshold I use when I try to decide whether a feat is inspiring enough for this series. Here was a man, disabled through his service to his country, who gained a lot of weight which compounded his disability, to the point he needed heavy bracing and crutches just to move around. Everyone had given up on this man. He seems to have nearly given up on himself. But, something inside him had not fully given up… I will not go into the story, since it is pretty clearly spelled out in the video.
What I find most inspiring about this man's demonstration of resistance is not so much that he traversed his mental and physical limitations. What was most inspiring to me is that to do so was a long, drawn out road to recovery. Further, this long drawn out road to recovery did not have any huge rewards along the way to the destination, no obvious signs that all the work he was putting into recovery was going to pay off. This man had to find satisfaction enough with the tiny steps he was making toward his goal, be perceptive enough to notice those tiny steps. With no obvious sign of progress it would have been so easy to give up. It would have been so easy to give up, and say "It's not working" or "It's too hard" or "All this work and nothing's happening."
This example dovetails into a concept I try to help people understand everyday: creating Reasonable Expectations for Success. This quote “If you focus on the results you will never change. If you focus on change you will get results.” This inspiring man who never gave up did exactly that. Everyday all he could focus on was change; all he focused on was the fact that he was applying himself toward the only thing he was in control of- doing the exercises he set out to do each day. He was not focused on whether he was walking independently or not, or whether he was pain free or not. These results are variables he had no control of. All he could control was whether he did the exercises or not each day. If he focused on the results he would have quickly become discouraged and had been more likely to give into negativity and give up.
So "Why are you walking on the rivers edge claiming to be swimming?" as the age old question goes. It is easier to sit on the rivers edge and watch the current roar by and fantasize how great we would be at taming the waves if only we had a good enough boat. Then again, what good would even the best boat do if you have no experience? You could spend your whole lifetime waiting for that perfect boat, and it may never come. It is easier to think of how great we would be at something rather than doing it because fantasizing feels good… a lot better than the sometimes clumsy and inglorious steps it takes to become good at something and truly master it.
Sometimes what seems impossible really boils down to a self-limiting belief. If you're taking on a challenge that feels monumental, take it slow, one day at a time. Not enough can be said about insistent and consistent dedication. "The Guy Who Didn't Give Up" is the very example of this.