...What Ali taught me were invaluable lessons we all need to learn: that life is not supposed to be fair; that complaining about our situation is wasted energy; that we always have a choice about how we play the cards we are dealt; and that our attitude is not determined by anything other than our own thoughts.Read more here.
...He chose how he felt, he wasn’t going to waste time bemoaning his plight, he refused to allow his circumstances to define his dignity, he wasn’t going to give in to self-pity, and he sure as hell wouldn’t allow me to do that as his proxy.
If I could list all of the lessons those years taught me I’d be writing a book, not an Inc.com post. So here are the seven most important ones. As you read them think of your own life experiences and ask yourself how you measure up.
1. How you think is how you will feel.
When we find ourselves in situations that cause us to feel depressed, anxious, or angry, our first response can be to find someone or something to blame. We look outside for something to change to make us feel different inside.
2. Others ultimately see you as you see yourself.
3. Complaining is like trying to get out of a hole by using a shovel instead of a ladder.
4. Life isn’t fair and it’s not supposed to be.
...Does fairness challenge you to be creative, to evolve and grow, to reinvent yourself?
...Lesson: Instead of labeling events as fair or unfair think of everything that happens in life, no matter how hard, as an opportunity to learn and grow?
5. Giving up is always an option.
...Lesson: Give yourself credit for not giving up because many others already have.
6. Courage is understanding the only thing you control is how you respond.
Lesson: The situation is not always yours to choose, but your response always is.
7. The greater your discomfort the greater your opportunity to grow.
Lesson: We learn best and grow most when we are challenged and uncomfortable.
In what was one of life’s greatest acts of unfairness, Ali came down with an infection and passed away just weeks before my college graduation. In so many ways, some that I’m still just beginning to realize, I learned lessons from him that have endured longer than those learned in the classrooms and hallowed halls of my alma mater.
On my nightstand for the past four decades has stood a tiny plastic statue that Ali gave me. It me reminds me every morning and night that I have no reason to complain, that life’s greatest lessons about courage, strength, and dignity aren’t learned when we are comfortable, but taught in the midst of life’s greatest discomfort and adversities, by circumstances that none of us would call fair, but which, in the end, are the circumstances that shape and define who we are.
You know what? That’s fair enough!
Sunday, October 21, 2018
"He chose how he felt, he wasn’t going to waste time bemoaning his plight, he refused to allow his circumstances to define his dignity, he wasn’t going to give in to self-pity, and he sure as hell wouldn’t allow me to do that as his proxy."
Tom Koulopoulos writes in Innovation Excellence about his years caring for a person named Ali who was quadriplegic.