Many years ago I was meeting with a mentor of mine. While in his office, I couldn’t help but admire his AWESOME bicycle (this was before e-bikes were a thing). There it lay against the wall; white wall tyres, a powder blue frame, chrome bars; it was well equipped for touring and looked set for an adventure. I asked my mentor about his plans and heard that he was set to ride around the south of France, the most beautiful place he could think of.
What you don’t yet know about my mentor is he’s completely blind. How did he know how beautiful the South of France was? He said, “Cam, I may not be able to see, but I can feel the sun, the wind and the air on my skin, I can hear the birds, the trains and other riders around me, I can smell the flowers and most of all it makes me very, very happy.” As to how he rides his own bike, he simply rides with his most trusted friends and rests one hand on their shoulder.
Happiness and the creation of joy is what enables us to thrive through and beyond the greatest adversities this world can throw at us. So when things are unexpected and different to how we imagine here’s some AWESOMENESS that enables us to thrive, to be kings and queens of happiness and joy.
“It’s not how good you are. It’s how good you want to be”: Find that ultimate dream and work backwards from that point to achieve it. When my mentor lost his vision he was told he could never ride his own bike, but he found his motivation (France), he established his process (ride with friends), he brought his bike and ticket.
“Don’t give a speech. Put on a show”: This is what I use in my profession as a speaker but it’s also what we can all use in each and every interaction of each and every day. People remember how we make them feel so bring them and yourself happiness and joy, be unforgettable and noteworthy. It was 2011 that I met my mentor... I was inspired by his life through the way he made me feel.
“Create sunshine on a cloudy day”: Sometimes we wake up or reach a point of the day where there’s a big dark cloud hanging around. At that point there is one thing more important than anything else… YOU. Give yourself time to breath, to stop, to stimulate different parts of your brain through creativity, physical activity, social engagement… whatever, but let your mental health and wellbeing become a reflection of your dreams and aspirations rather than the reality of your fears. My mentor could have chosen to focus on his fears; he didn't.
Dreams never end: Ride the whole journey of our dreams, appreciate the opportunities, lessons and experiences that come from the journey. Disruptions are going to occur, there may be more processes, there may be greater investments, and time-frames may push out… but don’t let any of this make you believe the dream has ended. Rather see it as providing spice... giving you the tools for resilience. When asked if he would do anything to change his life, he said “No, life is more awesome now than ever.”
For myself, living with cerebral palsy, some people perceive this to be a great “challenge,” “disruption,” “limiting factor”. Disabling those perceptions to enable happiness and joy has come through embracing the above lessons. Find time to reflect on the things, people and moments that enable and or inspire you to ride through life, distributing happiness and joy!
Enjoy your awesomeness!