“You can’t always get what you want.”
The Rolling Stones said it best, but we all know the truth of this statement. We create plans and scheme tirelessly, expecting our efforts to produce the exact fruits of our desire precisely how we imagined it would go. However, life has a way of changing our plans in unexpected ways.
Sometimes, those unexpected changes are painful.
Really, really painful.
Before March 18, 2015, I had a great family, a good job, and enjoyed a decent life, no
overwhelming drama or challenges. This was the life I thought I wanted.
On March 18, I merely scratched my right hand on an exterior garage wall. Three days later, I woke up to find a lacrosse ball-sized bump on my right elbow. Within 10 hours, that bump had spread so that it tripled the size of my right arm.
I looked like the Incredible Hulk in mid-transformation.
Becky, my wife, drove me to the hospital’s emergency room. Medical professionals tried their best, but the hospital eventually stated that my situation was beyond them, and I was flown to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, where I was diagnosed with necrotising fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria). Once doctors knew the extent of my illness, they prepped me for surgery and placed me in a medically induced coma for five days. In that time, they performed several life-saving and reconstructive surgical procedures.
I woke up after my coma not only with extensive physical trauma, but I had begun dealing with increasingly negative thoughts. “What am I going to look like when/if I fully heal?” “How will this affect my relationships/mindset/finances?”
“But if you try sometimes, well, you might find…”
A couple of days after I woke up, Becky told me about how people in our lives helped us out. Learning about those acts of kindness washed away those negative thoughts and helped me develop The Attitude of Gratitude (TAG).
TAG challenged me to ask three questions:
1.“What good things do you have in your life?”
2.“Who do you appreciate, and why?”
3.“How can you give someone else a reason to be grateful?”
By answering these questions daily, I developed the positive, grateful, and resilient mindset that motivated me to not only proactively participate in my own recovery, but also establish (and accomplish) several personal goals. I’ve also become a professional speaker who shares TAG with young adults.
“You get what you need!”
While I was living a pretty good life before my hospitalisation, TAG has greatly increased not only my gratitude but also my social impact. I now have a greater purpose than just having a good life.
We’re only here for a short amount of time, so we must make the most of it. By realising the value of what we already possess, letting those we love know how much they mean to us, and giving others reasons to be grateful, we can make the world around us a better place!