Do you struggle to accept your losses, misfortunes, adversities, or disabilities? Do you feel it makes you less than others? Such a feeling is not uncommon. Many of us feel that way when we come across a hardship.
I am disabled for life. I lost my ability to walk well before the age to walk. I contracted polio when I was 6 months old and one of my legs got paralyzed. I was left to live with that permanent disability for life. The first two decades of my life were miserable. I could merely crawl on the floor or use walking aids to get some mobility. However, there were very slim chances that I could make it to even primary school.
Despite that, now I am a performance scientist training thought leader for a Fortune 500 company. I have been fortunate enough to earn two doctorates, over 100 international credentials, author 20 books, and be one among frontier specialists on speed in learning and performance. I teach organizations and professionals to walk faster in whatever they do, even though I still can’t walk.
Such a drastic transformation would not have been possible if I had not embraced my disability truly. I embraced my disability as my x-factor or differentiator. Then only I could leverage every single opportunity it offered me. I learned that unless we embrace our losses, we can’t leverage them either to move forward.
How can one embrace the losses, misfortunes, and disabilities so that they become their differentiator over others?
Here are the five tips to truly transform your thinking and accept the disabilities and adversities so that you get yourself on the path to unmatchable success:
- Strive for true acceptance, not compromises
I hated myself when I saw myself in the mirror. But I tricked myself by saying, “I tried my best; now this is the way it is. I accept it.” Still, I kept on sulking over it. That was a compromise, not acceptance. When I strove for true acceptance of what I had gotten into, it gave me the strength to move forward.
Acceptance is the first thing that has to happen when we face adversities. But be aware that there is a fragile line between acceptance and compromise. If it is really a true acceptance of losses, it will not make you feel miserable about it. Rather, it makes you see disability as a differentiator.
Therefore, strive for true acceptance of your situation, not compromises.
- Not all disabilities are real
I realized that most of my challenges, like making friends or getting accepted in the social circle, were less because of my physical disability and more because of my self-limiting beliefs that I was not good enough. I experienced pull down because of the inferiority complex.
When you experience some losses, misfortunes, or hardships, think about what exactly is restricting you. In most cases, you may find that your perceived or unreal limitations are pulling you back.
Therefore, take time to understand your limitations well enough.
- Look beyond immediate walls
In childhood, I wanted to be a scientist. As I thought more, I realized that there is no connection between my inability to walk, a sort of wall, and my desire to be a scientist. Instead, in some ways, my inability gave me plenty of time to read books and master my passion for science.
If something is genuinely restricting you from moving forward, you need to assess what exactly is on the other side of that wall that could be worth seeking. If it is not worth pursuing, then you can prevent yourself from investing so much of your energy in struggling with your walls. If you find it is worth seeking, then breaking that wall is not the only way. Once you are clear about it, you will find routes to reach there and may not necessarily break into the wall to go there.
Therefore, take time to look beyond immediate walls.
- Look for windows through the walls
My immobility made me sit for hours. In turn, I could focus and immerse myself in the world of learning. Eventually, the same thing took me forward to develop a learner inside me, made me an author, ignited an artist, and was pretty much responsible for shaping the scientist inside me. I saw so many windows of opportunities, leverages, and advantages within my limitations.
If you shift your thinking this way, you will find that you don’t always have to break the walls supposedly limiting you. Your struggles become unescapable only when you ignore to spot windows of opportunities that are opened up right amidst those walls. With this simple shift, you can spot the windows through those supposedly impenetrable walls. These windows would allow you to reach out to the world beyond.
Therefore, look for windows through walls, no matter the situation.
- Seek clarity, not motivation
In the beginning, I read several motivational books to draw my inspiration. Soon I realized that those charged feelings of ‘Yeah, I can do it’ usually were short-lived in the face of hardships, struggles, and day-to-day challenges. However, when I changed my perspective to seek clarity about my limitations, clarity about the distinction between real versus perceived limitations, clarity about what was beyond the wall and clarity about my directions, I was supercharged most of the time with endless energy. That fuel eventually pushed me to transform and achieve things which were out-ruled initially because of my condition.
For a short while, you may get pumped up because of internal or external motivation. However, that feeling is short-lived. Instead, when you focus on gaining clarity about your limitations and the possibilities it offers, you won’t need motivation or inspiration. You will have sustainable fuel to move forward.
Therefore, seek clarity, not motivation.
Success amidst any situation is a matter of viewpoint and thinking process. Sometimes simpler shifts in thinking are all you need to gain the massive success or achievements you are striving for.