When I went from an active 27 year old with many goals and ambitions to suddenly being paralysed from the chest down, my world felt incredibly limited. What the hell would I be able to do now two-thirds of my body didn't work? If I wrote a list of all the things I couldn't do, it felt ridiculously long- just thinking about all I had lost, weighed me down more than a tonne of bricks. It often seemed impossible to get up again.
It soon became evident that paralysis wasn't actually my biggest battle. I couldn't change what had happened to me but I could change how I was going going to deal with it, so with a shift in my approach and mindset, my life started to improve.
How often are you held back by your thoughts? If you think things aren't possible then it is likely they aren't. This doesn't mean that if I truly believed I would walk again that I would be dumping my wheelchair next year, but our thoughts can have a big influence in the direction of our lives, our success and happiness.
As I describe in the film above (taken at a recent event), in many ways nothing has changed in 16 years of being paralysed, I still have no movement or sensation from the chest down but the most influential factor that determines our destination has, and that is my mindset.
Developing your best mindset requires self-awareness, resilience and a growth-oriented perspective. I found I cultivated a positive attitude by focusing on gratitude and optimism. I started to work on the list of 'what is possible' rather than dwelling on that long list of what I 'couldn't do'.
Now the 'can do' list outweighs the 'can't do'.
I have made sure I have embraced challenges as opportunities for growth, learnt from failures, and maintained a growth mindset. I have surrounded myself with supportive and positive people and that has impacted my journey, and I make sure I set clear, achievable goals to consistently work towards.
Adapting to change can be tough for us all and the key is to stay open to new experiences and prioritise continuous learning.
By nurturing these qualities, we can all develop a resilient, optimistic, and growth-oriented mindset that empowers you to thrive in various aspects of life.
You either control your mind or it controls you.