What Would Harry Do?

Wednesday, July 31st, was J.K Rowling’s (and Harry Potter’s) birthday. I think it is only fitting to let Ms. Rowling author this week’s Motivational Monday post.

We do not need magic to transform our world - JK Rowling

It is impossible to live without failing at something - JK Rowling

Greatest fear realized, rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life - JK Rowling

It is our choices that show what we truly are - Albus Dumbledore

One quote at a time

Staying motivated and positive is much more involved than “just do it”. It’s not something you can accomplish in a day; it’s something you have to accomplish every day. Some days it’s easy and others its near impossible.

As (the infamous) “they” say…There’s an App for that!

There are a load of apps that help you start your day right. They send you inspirational, motivational, spiritual, or otherwise quote every morning. And if you are having a particularly bad week, you can get several of those apps and receive messages all throughout the day.

I really like this app. (it’s free!)

Yesterday’s quote felt like it deserved to be in my fortune cookie! It’s so easy to get down on yourself and feel like your failing that it’s hard to see how far you’ve come!

Thomas Edison quote: Many of life's failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up

These quotes really are quite good. I think I’ll have to start sharing them with the world on Twitter!

Have a little faith: beating the odds

Faith was born in December of 2002 with only 3 legs. Her mother tried to smother the newborn puppy by laying on top of her.

Faith two legged puppy

Faith was rescued by a young man named Reuben. He and his mother took care of the puppy, but one of her legs was so severely deformed it had to be amputated.

With only two legs left, Faith struggled to learn to move about on her own. Veterinarians advised that she be euthanized because if she continued to drag herself the way she was, she would rub away the skin on her chest and chin.

But her adopted family had other plans. With much encouragement and some peanut buttery incentives, Faith learned to stand on two feet and walk! At first she would hop but then she taught herself to walk like her two-legged family members.

Faith the two legged dog, walking

Faith the two legged dog serves her country

Faith has recently retired from her career of helping, motivating and healing people. She made visits to veterans hospitals to see disabled soldiers. In this way Faith was able to serve her country just like her rescuer Reuben.

Faith the two legged dog all grown upShe is still an inspiration–10 years and going strong and touching lives!!

The gift of disability

I think one of the “steps” to coming to terms with your disability is inevitably to dwell on what you’ve lost. The future we had envisioned for ourselves. The experiences. Maybe even relationships.

I’m pretty sure this is true across the board from the deeply faithful to the clinically optimistic—these are the people who are the stuff of inspirational tales that are constantly shared. And then there are the people that go beyond inspiring…

Ali StokerI remember Ali Stroker speaking at the Abilities Expo this year. She was introducing her wheelchair dance team, Team Hotwheelz, and she said something kind of shocking: she is grateful for her disability because of the opportunities it has opened to her, one of which is getting the chance to inspire other people like her.

To me, Ali is beyond inspiring. Let me explain. I came across this video a while ago titled “Shit People Say to the Disabled”–it’s a parody of another video and all in good humor. Still, it covers a lot of what some other people with disabilities have said about their experiences with able bodied people that they’ve just met or don’t know at all. For example, (shown at 0:51) people tell him that he’s an inspiration. I’ve heard some people say this bothers them because they are just living their lives with the hand they were dealt, just like everyone else. Sometimes “You’re an inspiration” (perhaps followed by “I could never do what you do”) has an implied negative or pity for the person they are complimenting. Ali’s speech, however, was so empowering! It went beyond inspirational, past any negativity, and straight to motivational.

I think what it comes down to is that “inspirational” is often used to describe people who survive their misfortunes. “Motivational” is a person that achieves and thrives at a level that is impressive regardless of their abilities. You can’t feel sorry for the person who motivates you, if anything they should feel sorry for you for needing them. Ali is one of those people for me because she showed me that some good can come from your disability. And when you stop to think about it, it is so true. Whether it made you more courageous, more compassionate, more tough, feel special, opened a door…

I got a little off topic, but what I was hoping to demonstrate is how Ali saw her disability as, in short, a gift. And as remarkable as she is, she is not alone in this sentiment. What is really cool is that another site took the time to seek out the testimonies of disabled travelers and see how they felt they enjoyed their travels more than their able bodied peers (check it out for yourself here, it’s a great read!). This was my favorite story:

On a safari trip in Zambia a few years ago the rest of the passengers were miserable because we hadn’t seen any lions or cheetahs. For me however, the sensation of heat, isolation, quietude and hearing just the hiss of the cicadas and the groan of the insects was enough to leave me feeling absolutely blissful — a state of mind I don’t think any of my fellow travelers had, as they were so preoccupied with what they could or couldn’t see rather than the other sensual elements that make the African bush so special. –Tom Hart (blind traveler)