You are Blessed
“Some poems don’t rhyme, some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end, not all flowers are fragrant and not all trees give shadow. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next”
We remain engrossed in our own lives very often until the journey so far seems to contract in a single moment.
It is this moment which decides the course of your action ahead. It changes the way you think, the way you perceive things, the way you deal with oddities and even the way you think about your own self.
The moment is defined as Kairos (Greek Word to describe a moment).
Such a moment came in my life a while ago when I heard the most captivating,inspiring,emotional and at the same time rational, full of faith yet backed by scientific facts ,speech at Resonance 2012 (a semi-annual conference of Toastmasters International District 41 )by Sam Cowthorn.
When we entered the conference room that day ,we saw a tall ,rather taller than most of the people I had seen in my life, man who was smiling cordially at everyone he saw and had the charisma and poise which made everyone’s head turn towards him.
I had seen his photograph on the banners in the auditorium
He was posing with a guitar and had that infectious smile. He was no different from his picture.
We decided to get a photograph clicked with him primarily because he was handsome and secondary and tertiary reasons being his acclaimed fame which includes winner of the Australian of the year award, world acclaimed motivational speaker to name a few.
He greeted us warmly and extended his left hand. Little amazed by the gesture I shifted my cellphone from my left to right hand and shook hands with him.
The photo sessions got over and we sat down for the session.
His session stood in between the brief tea break and the sumptuous lunch.
The auditorium was packed and Sam rose to speak. His initial introduction by the emcees comprised of phrases like “disabled”, “frightening car accident “,”he lost his right arm and leg”, “He was declared clinically dead for three and a half minutes” etc. etc.
I was now occupied with a sense of sympathy for him not realizing that after the next few hours I will feel the same for myself.
He was unconventional in his methods.
He did not use the stage or the podium to deliver his speech. He came down walked, jumped skipped hopped, climbed up chairs and kept moving throughout the room and in his own words he described it as “Intentional and purposeful.”
“Charisma doesn’t overshadow character”He repeated this sentence as he walked from left to right corner of the auditorium.
In context of public speaking he said that it is your values, morals and integrity which define who you are on stage and not how the way you look.
He narrated how he met a fatal accident emphasizing that it was his own fault. The day was very clear in his mind and I could picturesque every word he spoke.
He was pronounced dead as his heart stopped for three and a half minutes. After resuscitation he faced severe injuries including the amputation of his right arm above the elbow and severe damage to his right leg.
While he narrated this he detached his artificial hand from its prosthetic arm and showed how he had programmed it with his latest IPhone 5.
A family photo of his wife and 3 kids appeared on the screen and Sam continued how he was pronounced handicap and told by the doctor that he will have to spend the rest of his life on wheelchair. That he will never be able to hold his daughter in his arms, that he will never be able to play guitar, that will have to be dependent on others, that he will never be able to run and dance around and that we will never be able to drive again.
But what Sam believed in was:
“It is your decision and not condition which determines what you are “ What followed was a yearlong fight against his condition from a state of denial to acceptance and then of changing things.
With faith, attitude and the proximity of his loved ones he created his own future.
Standing in front of us was a man who was told that he would never be able to walk again and he was jumping all around in the room and here we are who feel lazy and unessential to reach out to people whom we love and who love us.
Standing in front of us was a man who was once bed ridden and was supposed to be on wheelchair all through his life and today he was talking to unknown people, travelling and meeting everyone with open arms and here we are who at times do not even exchange smiles with people who work for us or work with us.
“Happiness starts by choice and it starts with you”He conducted an exercise where everyone had to stand and greet everyone in the room with the happiest expression possible. The energy levels in the room rose exponentially.
When you want the world around you to be happy you need to be happy at first place.
Another remarkable section of the session was the introduction of Bounce Forward theory.
In times when nothing seems to be at the right place and things start falling apart, we tend to bounce back to the original happier state because it seems to be a familiar territory. But Sam suggested that why don’t we try to bounce forward instead and go to the unknown. Try new things and explore the unexplored.
One should remember that Crisis creates opportunities. It is on you that what you focus on –The crisis or the opportunities it creates. To explain this concept he asked the audience to glance through the room for 10 sec and notice everything that was green. He then asked everyone to close their eyes and take names of everything they had seen in these 10 sec which was purple.
It is therefore your focus on things which determines their importance in your lives. It was because of this focus that the pain he suffered in his arm 24/7 was inconspicuous to him compared to the beautiful things in life he focussed on.
When we were kids we always crossed busy roads holding hands. That is what is required in times of disparities –Holding Hands in Traffic. He told how the support of his family and loved ones and their belief inspired him to face the biggest challenge of his life.
Finally Leverage happiness that fuels success. Happiness starts with your own self. You are the average of five of your closest people. So remember to keep good company because “Proximity is Power”He also cited that the greatest investment one can make should be in himself –investment in his own brain.
He even touched on various aspects of decision making with the 10/10/10 principle.
Before making any decision think how will the decision impact you, the people around you and the society in general for the coming 10 days 10 months and 10 years.
One should always be grateful to whatever he has in life and should respect and cherish its presence.
In any adverse situation the challenge should be to survive through it and “Turn shoulds to musts”
He concluded the session with a beautiful song which he played on his guitar and asked the audience to sing along with him. He is one of the few people in the world to be able to play a guitar with an above elbow amputation.
“Take this opportunity and sing along .After all when you see a man who has no arms perform for you” were his words.
For the next few minutes the whole room was singing along with Sam
“I am blessed. I am blessed.
Every day that I live, I am blessed.
When I wake up in the morning
Till I lay my head to rest,
I am blessed. I am blessed.”As he finished the whole auditorium rose for a standing ovation and the applauses weren’t just stopping.
His speech was by far one of the best speeches I had witnessed.
It was once in a lifetime experience for all those who attended.He made us cry ,laugh and instilled a feeling which made us all feel grateful of whatever we have in our lives :our parents ,family ,loved ones ,the company we work for, the money we earn, the home we live in and most importantly an able body .
Not everything you have in life will stay with you forever but with faith, gratitude and the right attitude you can always make the best and most of the things around you. We are all here for a specific purpose and each one of us has a unique destiny. The challenge is to identify your purpose in life thus making your life more purposeful and worth for yourself and others. Hats off to the man who taught me the much known principles of life in a way that they will stay with me forever and beyond.