We may have all faced or are facing crisis in our lives, in varying degrees. Some of us may have survived it, others may have given in. But there is always a lot to learn from those who have suffered unimaginably but triumphed by sheer grit and self will. Excerpts from an interview Guy Kawasaki had with Jerry White, whose life changed in 1984 after he lost one leg to that lethal litter called landmine. He later co-founded Survivor Corps and went on to share the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. Here I go –
“…Acceptance is just the beginning…slowly, we start to “face facts” to break through initial denial and fear. When life explodes, our first instinct is “fight” or “flight.” We rage at what as happened or we run from it. These are short-term survival instincts, but not healthy long-term survivorship strategies needed to get through tough times. And just “getting through” is not our primary life objective….
….I never give “good press” to a “bad thing.” To this day, I wish I had never stepped on that landmine in Israel and lost my right leg. I don’t romanticize the pain nor do I give any credit for my thriving to landmines—they are lethal military litter that daily maims and kills innocent men, women, and children. I don’t know any rape survivor who would put a positive spin on sexual violence, nor any cancer survivor who fancies cancer and chemotherapy….
…..The key to thriving is not the “thing” but our determination to choose the survivor path, en route to a healthy and positive future. Life can wound us terribly, but we, thankfully, are more than the sum of our wounds. We can choose our response to tragedy and trauma. As the cheerful but hackneyed saying goes, we can “make lemonade out of lemons.” Still, lemons never stop being sour, do they?”
Great lessons. Powerful insights. It touched and moved me. More importantly, it made me all the more wary of my immense power as a human. It’s a shame that we often limit ourselves because of fear (of having to compromise something if it didn’t work out) despite having all limbs and senses in tact. I am now completely convinced that we grossly under-commit and under-extract ourselves.