November 2, 2012

Embracing Your Limitations

We all have one thing in common as people- we all have limitations. For some it may be an illness, for others a demanding job, difficult family relations, or financial strain. How you view your limitations, however, determines how you will experience and live your life.

The story of Jean-Dominique Bauby is the most poignant example of never letting your limitations define you or defeat you. Bauby suffered a stroke that left him with ‘locked in syndrome,’ a syndrome that left him completely paralysed except the ability to blink one eye. Once a high flyer, Bauby’s life was drastically changed. While his body may have been paralysed his mind was active and fully functioning.

It’s hard to comprehend how in the face of such drastic and all encompassing limitations anyone could approach life in a positive way, but he did. Using the two abilities he had left, one blinking eye and an active mind, he went on to ‘write’ a book through a devised communication system. Bauby would be read the alphabet and would then blink when the letter he wanted was reached. That letter would be recorded then the process would start again. This was how his whole book was written- a painstakingly slow process.

His book became the renowned ‘The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly’ which was later made into a movie by the same name.

Like Bauby, to get the most out of your life, you must look for the things that you still have, the things you can still do and then build on that capacity. By focusing on what is rather than what isn’t you can live your life from a position of power, motivation and positivity and create a life that you are proud of.

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