To live with a chronic illness is not a limitation, but a special invitation to those of us who are willing to accept the challenge.

Shad Ireland

By Darren Cawley | Mindset

Nov 11

Moving Forwards, not Backwards.

Goal: To change the level of your thinking from vulnerability and victim-hood to acceptance of the challenge.

It is true that when you suffer adversity it feels unfair, unnecessary and a waste of the life you had once planned. This is an understandable mindset, short-term. Long-term it is utterly useless.

With this attitude you live in the past and your future withers. 

At some stage you must come to accept the situation you are in right here, right now. Easier said than done!

We often feel a debt to our past in terms of owing it to ourselves to carry on with plans as laid out years before.

This is a wrong mentality.

If you trained to be a lawyer for example and you hate the job, you need to change and move in a different direction. Yes, you may feel you have wasted years in college. But the point is, this is your past and what you did in the past does not hold you accountable to your present and future self.

Similarly, and this can be very hard to take trust me, when you get sick or suffer adversity your past and future self are essentially no more.

What can we do then?

Acceptance coupled with a mindset of seeing the adversity as a challenge to be both learned from and overcome sets you on a new path.

There is always the opportunity to grow into a different person.

The person that is more fitting to your current situation. If you play rugby and you suffer a major leg-break in a car crash, your playing days are over. This can be seen as a tragedy or an opportunity to begin a new path, which you would have to cross at some stage anyway upon retiring.

You can go on to become an inspirational coach within rugby giving more value than you ever did as a player.

Transplant games - Accepting the Challenge

Transplant games - Accepting the Challenge

Personally, I was a very active sportsperson who was studying for a Sports and Fitness degree when chronic illness struck me. I packed in all sports and felt totally useless.

Fast forward a few years and I get to represent my country at the World Transplant Games. Amazing in that as good as I thought I was in sports I was never going to compete for my country! 

Now I do so with the enormous gratitude of competing again, meeting great friends and role models and standing on a podium while my national flag is raised in triumph.

An experience undreamed of prior to adversity. 

What is needed then is firstly, accept the situation you are in and secondly relish the challenge and where it may lead.

By doing this you are back in control and creating a life you want on your own terms.

“If you can’t go backwards you only need to figure out the best way of moving forward".

Paulo Coelho The Alchemist

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About the Author

Darren is an inspirational speaker offering real life advice and guidance. He has a Degree in Sports and an MA in Health Promotion. Couple this with 1,800 hospital sessions and 2 transplants, due to Kidney disease, and you see his impact as a speaker and educator. Darren's skill is in improving the lives of those who suffer adversity and creating positive change within the healthcare industry.

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