The most successful people I know are the first ones to tell you that success happens after a lot of effort. Unless you are an Internet Unicorn - but let's not digress too much.
A couple of years ago, I had a client who made prosthetic limbs. But the next level kind. I am talking about robotic hands with movable fingers and joints that can sense and predict movement - futuristic stuff. Initially I was thrown a bit on an emotional level because what do you even begin to imagine what to say when you are confronted by this? None of us expect to suddenly lose a limb in an accident or a sudden medical emergency and that was the initial uncomfortable side for me when I saw the actual prosthetics for the first time.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, this was an uplifting and enriching journey.
Because I knew and often saw the South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius frequently at the time, I was no stranger to amputees. And after all, Oscar was an active guy who played rugby and water polo at school way before he became the fastest man in the world with no legs. So I thought he was the exception. And because he had the world records and the Olympic medals I no longer saw him as disabled. Until I got to meet another 16 year old double amputee accidentally one afternoon after a visit to my client. Now I am going to lie if I tell you that I didn't notice this kid didn't have legs, but it was a brief thought. Trust me. Let's call him Mark to preserve his identity - Mark blew into the office like a tornado - it was a flurry of school satchels and a laptop and sweaters amongst incessant talking. Before I had a chance to blink I was greeted with "if you want to lose weight, you have to go swimming because it is easy on your joints." Followed by his mother saying sorry about that, I am so and so and this is my son Mark. In seconds we all had an update on the alleged hotness of girls in his vicinity and the standards a 16 year old boy has on related matters - to the incredible amount of homework he was saddled with. Then it dawned on me that he wore shorts and had a sticker on the one leg. And I asked him if he would mind telling me why.
So I learnt that he was there to get a fitting for a pair of legs with the Ferrari logo airbrushed on them. And the insane coolness of this and how the guys with the normal legs are going to pass out with jealousy. And I thought Mark was another exception to a younger disabled person.
To make a long story short, after that I refuse to use the word disabled to describe people. Because if anything, what I saw first hand was the exact opposite - these people were active and so happy to be active that it blows your mind. Let me immediately preface this by admitting that my exposure here is my personal experience and my journey - I don't speak on behalf of anyone except myself.
Later I got to meet Natalie du Toit, who I am ridiculously happy to call a colleague in SportsPodium - now here I am going to be unapologetic. I love Natalie. I still have to pinch myself that this is a woman who competed in the able bodied and then as an amputee in the Commonwealth and Paralympic Games. Who has THIRTEEN Olympic gold medals - (and who has my number on speed dial, sits next to me at meetings and can actually put up with me most of the time). Natalie has an amazing story - Steemians who attended our SteemSaturday Johannesburg event will tell you in person. Few of them even saw me wipe my eyes after her motivational talk).
Finally it dawned on me that what makes these amputees and disabled athletes and people so very, very fantastic is their tenacity. Something we all have in our DNA. They get up and keep going. Obviously there are challenges and obstacles that I cannot find words for - but in the end they overcome and they triumph and medal and wear Ferrari logos with unbelievable coolness because they conquer their own limitations and fears.
Are you in the mood for victory? Then learn from this. Tap into yourself, grab that tenacity.
Grip it by the neck and try and try again until you conquer it. Be a victor, not a victim. You'll thank me later.