Recently, a friend sent me a video on Scott Belkner, a man with cerebral palsy. Scott’s attitude reminds me of many of the children with disabilities that I used to substitute teach for years ago; they always had the best attitude. In the face debilitating conditions, they often dealt with them with grace and poise and dignity that we call all learn from.
Watch Scott’s video, and then think about all the excuses you make every day for not doing what you truly love. Watch Scott’s video and then think about all the times you quit trying at a particularly tough task (in all likelihood only a short time before a breakthrough was about to occur).
“My name is Scott. I am turning 30 next month. My mom tried to teach me to swim when I was a baby and I couldn’t swim. She asked why I couldn’t. [That’s how doctors] found out [about my condition]. They asked if she wanted to put me in a home. My disability is called CP. All my life people told me I can’t do things because of my disability. I don’t take that. …
If you have a disability and you want to do something, do it.
People out there who have a disability — please don’t feel sorry for yourself. If you can’t do it in one try, keep trying. It just takes me a little longer, but I get it done.
I’m not lying, it’s hard having a disability, but it won’t stop me from doing what I want to do.
[The doctor said] I would be like a vegetable. You can see me now. You know that it’s bulls**t. I couldn’t be like I am now if it was true.
How often is it that we let others dictate the outer limits of our success? Even if our goals and aspirations have long odds, why do we let others take us out of contention? Or, more accurately: Why do we take ourselves out of contention? If there are always outliers, then why can’t you be that outlier? Why would you willingly adopt a self-fulfilling prophecy of low expectations and underachievement? It makes no sense, and yet all of us are guilty of allowing unfounded fear and doubt to creep into our consciousness and take control of the wheel on occasion.
Scott’s story is also important because it demonstrates just how special life — all life — is. In most conversations I have that touch on disability or old age, the phrase “quality of life” tends to come up. It’s usually a euphemism for “a quality of life that wouldn’t suit me.”
What would Scott’s life have been like if his mother listened to doctors who said he’d be like “a vegetable” and sent him off to a home? The doctors’ predictions probably would have come to fruition, and almost 500,000 would not have been inspired by the YouTube video of him. All the people Scott inspires on a daily basis within his home town would not be touched by his tenacity and can-do spirit. And while the world would have gone on spinning, it would have been one a little less hopeful and a little less optimistic.
The next time life throws a daunting set of obstacles in your path I hope you think of Scott, bear down, and then keep trying.