Welcome to Friday the 13th!! As some of you will know, we are currently having a couple of health related problems in the Henderson household.
Naturally enough, we have had spells of feeling sorry for ourselves; that life is a bit unfair. But then we change our thinking and regain some perspective and balance. This usually leads me to thinking about W.Mitchell, a man that I had the privilege of spending some time, albeit briefly, with this man and I can tell you that he is truly an inspirational character who we can all learn so much from.
Let me give you a quick summary of Mitchell. In 1971 he suffered extensive burns, 65%, to his body as a result of a motorcycle accident. He was basically a human fireball as the flames engulfed him. He was in a coma for many weeks before waking up in searing pain. Many months and many plastic surgery operations followed.
Undaunted and with the money he received in compensation he set up a business and became highly successful. He always wanted to learn to fly a plane and, even with his extensive injuries, he succeeded in getting his private pilot’s licence.
Incredibly, he was flying to a meeting with three colleagues when the plane crashed. As a result he was left paralysed from the waist down.
Now I don’t know about you, but if that had happened to me I would feel distinctly ‘cheesed off’ to put it mildly! Mitchell took a different view. As he said to me when I met him at a public speakers’ conference, “It’s not what happens to you that is important. What is important is what you choose to do with what happens.”
As he said, “I can’t unburn myself. I can’t unparalyse myself. I have to make the best of my situation as it is, not as it was.”
To me, this is a phenomenal attitude that has helped Mitchell to build a very successful career as a motivational speaker that sees him travelling the world, talking to millions of people over the years.
It is also an embodiment of the principle of E x R = O. E stands for the events of life that we all face – all day, every day. Some of this will be ‘good’ and some will not. However, events happen to you whether you are young or old, male or female, tall or short, rich or poor. No-one escapes them.
The O stands for the outcomes that you get from the events that you encounter. Again, some will be more enjoyable than others.
The R in the equation is whether you react to these events or whether you respond to them. When someone reacts, they tend to be driven by their emotions. This means that they act quickly with little or no real thought.
Consequently, they experience an event. They react quickly without consideration. They then get the outcome that their behaviour produces.
Alternatively, the person who responds puts some time between the event and their action. In this time they consider what outcome they might like from the situation or event. They then back up and work out what they need to do in order to get their preferred outcome.
It sounds simple doesn’t it? And it is. It’s just not always easy. But, it works. As Mitchell proves. He experienced two events that few of us will ever get close to. And yet he was able to consider what he would like to happen and worked out how to achieve it.
Remember his words: “It’s not what happens to you that is important. What is important is what you choose to do with what happens.” They could just make a big difference in the life that you experience. It has certainly helped Wendy and I think differently about the situation we are in at the moment!
If you would like to learn more about this inspirational man log on to www.wmitchell.com where you can see more pictures and read more details about his incredible story.