Friday, October 15, 2010

A Shift In Perspective

"Often, a shift in perspective makes all the difference in the world.  Don't focus on what you can't do.  Instead, focus on what you can do.  Use that familiarity and confidence as a springboard to pursue the things you didn't think you could do."

Last night I caught "Paralysis" on PBS.  As the title states, the program was about the condition of not being able to consciously use a limb or limbs due to injury or illness.  The program detailed Cody Unser's (daughter of Al Unser, Jr.) paralysis due to Transverse Myelitis, an autoimmune disease that struck her at age 12.  Cody, now 21 years old and a student at the University of Redlands in California, continues to recover from her illness and awaits a cure (with stem cell transplantation).  But, the cool thing about her story is the shift in perspective that she gained from her illness.

Motivation to workout is usually the limiting factor for many people's pursuit of health and performance.  For some it is cyclical, as they go through periods of high motivation, followed by periods of low motivation.  For others it is non-existent.  Your attitude toward training would improve if you had a different perspective.  What if you had to workout everyday for two hours, never getting a day off?  That seems excessive to most of us.  Fourteen hours per week?  Few people do that.  But, that is Cody's life.  She lives alone and is fairly independent.  She does just about everything that you and I do on a daily basis, but with no legs.  She has to bath, get dressed,  go to class, eat, travel, and go to the bathroom without the ability to stand or walk.  She is constantly rowing, dipping, or pressing her body in and out of her wheelchair.  How many sets of dips have you done this week?

The irony is that she is working so hard just to be able to walk like us.  She is not preparing for any athletic event or trying to look better in her jeans.  She just wants to do what we all take for granted; the ability to use our muscles.  So, the next time you feel unmotivated to work out, think of Cory.  Appreciate what your body can do, not what it can't.  Shift your perspective. 

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