Going to a staff conference today, I was not expecting to leave uplifted, inspired and with a host of new quotes to add to my ever-growing list of favourites! And you know my love of quotes!
After being told that we are only half-way through a decade of austerity and that further cuts would be needed, things seemed bleak by mid-morning of the conference. Once we returned from the break, however, we were greeted with a guest speaker- Chris Moon.
Chris has had a varied, exciting and hugely challenging life. When clearing landmines in Cambodia, he was kidnapped by the Khmer Rouge guerrillas and became one of the few Westerners to avoid execution. In 1995, he was blown up by a landmine in Mozambique and lost his left leg and arm. He survived, even though he had severe blood loss, and was told he would remain in hospital for over 6 months. Three weeks later he left the hospital and within a year, he ran the London marathon, despite being told ‘This is something you can’t do’.
He said that after losing 2 of his limbs, he focused on the thousands of things he could still do and didn’t dwell on the 100 or so things he could no longer do.
Since then he has run the Marathon des Sables and the Badwater Death Ultra Marathon and continues to push himself physically and mentally.
Telling us about his experiences, it seems that a very positive attitude, a great sense of humour, an extreme mental strength and a dogged determination is what got him through his toughest experiences. Below are 10 pointers I took from his talk today:
- Take ownership of the way you think
- Never play the part of a victim – it triggers a reaction in a perpetrator
- Focus on what you can do and not what you can’t do
- Shit happens in life and shit sticks- no one wants to sit beside that person. We all need to find ways to wipe it away!
- Don’t take things personally as that always results in you putting blinkers on and not seeing other perspectives
- Don’t assume others are wrong
- Be realistic- think about what the worst case scenario could be and put a positive spin on it- for example, when he was blown up, he thought that the worst thing would be if he lost all limbs and his manhood. When he realised he had 2 limbs and his manhood still intact, he became optimistic!
- Everyone assumes that when you’re in a near death experience, your survival instinct will kick in. This isn’t always the case- if you are in agony, the easier option is just to give up and get respite from the pain
- Every day, think about what you have to live for and what you are grateful for. Being thankful releases an even bigger endorphin than shopping!
- Chris also quoted Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, saying: “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
A lot of what Chris said has stuck with me. One really interesting thing he discussed was that when he nearly died, he didn’t see his life flash before him. What he saw instead were all the things left that he hadn’t done yet. It got me thinking about what I’d be rightly annoyed about missing if it all ended tomorrow! Not seeing Peru and Colombia were top on the list. What would be on yours?