Last week I talked a little about resilience – about how I want my son to know that it’s the tough times that will make him strong.
I wanted to delve into that some more this week, because it’s something I get asked about a lot.
As you probably know, I travel a lot for work, giving motivational speeches around the country. At every event, there’s someone who will come up to me quietly and ask how I can be so positive. They’ll say things like “I could never get through something like that. I’d probably just curl up and avoid the world”.
Yes, what happened to me was tough. Emotionally and physically. And I could’ve very easily lived out the rest of my life like a hermit – I mean, no one would blame me.
But, here’s the thing: we all face challenges in our life. All of us, each and every one of us is gonna face times that are stressful and hard.
I wholeheartedly, hand on my chest, 100% believe that it’s these hard times that define us.
Because when you’re faced with a challenge, you get to decide how you’re going to handle it. You know, do you curl up or step up?
It’s not the situation that defines you – but how you choose to respond. – Tweet it!
Now, I’m not saying I’m a “look on the bright side” sunshine and daisies, singing in the rain optimist.
There were moments in hospital, and in the years that followed, that I would just lose it. I’d rail at the unfairness of my situation, I’d yell at Michael or tell Mum to leave.
But where focus goes, energy flows. I didn’t want to be focusing on all the negatives all the time.
So, when it seemed like every day was just a living reminder of all the things I couldn’t do anymore, I focused on what I did have and what I could do, not what I didn’t have and what I couldn’t do.
Every night in hospital, I would make a mental list of everything I had going for me.
I’d say to myself “You’re tough, you’re gritty, you have determination, you’ve got the best partner in the world, you have the support of some amazing people”.
Every day I made the decision to focus on the positives. And day by day, that act of positive reinforcement helped shift my mindset to one that could take on anything.
This isn’t blindly sticking your head in the sand, or walking through life with a fake, cheery attitude. It’s shutting out the negative noise, and focusing on the good stuff.
So, the choice is up to you. Will you walk through today thinking about everything going wrong in your life? Or will you focus on all the stuff going right for you?
I know which choice I’ll make.
PS – This is the kind of stuff I talk about in Good Selfie, my new eBook for teens. In Good Selfie I share some of my favourite tips and tools for getting through hard times, building self confidence and creating a kick-ass crew, check it out here.