Photo by Interactive Sports on Unsplash
by Bulbul Beri

Life is an obstacle course. We have to face many challenges, jump over many hurdles and navigate roadblocks that come in the way of our goals of happiness and success, some bigger than others. It is easy to get disheartened, settle, give up, lose hope and feel like we just can’t do it. But as Henry Ford said after overcoming huge financial loss and failure “If you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” We have to employ the right mindset, be passionate, compassionate, persistent, hopeful and brave to overcome these challenges that we are faced with and emerge stronger as a result. The saying “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” made famous by Nietzsche is backed by science.

The Paralympic Games symbolises overcoming adversity, and embodies at its core, the values of Determination, Equality, Inspiration and Courage.

The Paralympic Games

The Paralympics has raised awareness of mental and physical disabilities in the hope of creating a better life for those with disabilities. Research found that one in three people changed their attitudes towards persons with disabilities as a result of the Paralympic Games in London 2012.

The Paralympic Motto, “Spirit in Motion,” represents the strong determination and courage of every Paralympian to rise above their circumstances and show their true worth. The Paralympic Games, comprises athletes displaying their physical, vision and/or intellectual impairments with pride while setting world records. In Goalball, Blind athletes successfully defend their goals against a ball that they can only hear, not see. Archers use their feet and mouth to shoot arrows. Para-athletes use their wheelchairs as extensions of their own bodies to achieve incredible physical feats while playing sports such as Wheelchair Basketball.

Not only are the Paralympians highly skilled in their fields, but they have also overcome unique mental and physical challenges. They show what can be achieved with years of determination, courage, practice and training, and inspire others with disabilities or who are differently abled, of the possibilities that lie ahead for them if they put their mind to it. Denise Schindler inspires a younger athlete in the video below:

Do Your Challenges Limit You?

Too often, we let our hardships define us. The key is to always remember that we are all differently abled and face different challenge in life. What we need to do is to shift the focus on our own abilities – inner and outer. “Don’t limit your challenges. Challenge your limits” as Tony Robbins says. Founder of “Healing, Health and Happiness”, Dr Reetu, shares her story below of how she has been able to do just this:

Dr Reetu’s Story

“For me, looking back at what I had to re-learn after my sudden severe illness of brain encephalitis: everything from walking, talking, brushing my own teeth, feeding myself. The journey was not only physical, but mental and emotional.

I remember my first meeting with the physiotherapist during my recovery – he said, Reetu, you walked 100m in just over 4 minutes.” I nearly fell out of my chair, thinking “Usain Bolt does 100 metres in less than 10 seconds!” He then told me “don’t think limits, anything is possible.” The battle for me was to believe it!

Yes, it has been downright difficult; days where I did not get out of bed, many times where I just wanted to give up, but knowing that I was given another chance of life for a purpose, to make a difference, to make someone happy gave me the courage, determination and inspiration to keep going.

It has been 4 years to the night of September 11 when my whole life changed, and I am filled with many emotions: negative feelings of adversity to positive ones of triumph.

Looking back, the first year after my illness was total re-learning and physical rehabilitation. However, it was the mental shift I had to make that helped me achieve this. I had to shift my belief system to what my physio had told me and not be limited by my challenges and instead challenge my limits. My mantra was the words of Martin Luther King Jr “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Baby steps have led to bigger steps and now I am committed to helping others overcome their challenges through my work as a health and wellness coach.

I am inspired by Paralympians and how they apply courage, determination, strength – mental, physical, emotional and show us we can overcome our physical or mental handicaps with the right attitude.”

It’s All About Your Belief System

Returning back to Henry Ford’s quote: “If you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” At the end of the day, it’s all about your internal beliefs. Shifting those can help you achieve greater successes and happiness and you will find yourself moving closer to achieving your dreams. Because, in our reality that we call life, nothing is more real than the thoughts we think that create our present and future

How do you believe in yourself?

If you struggle with self belief, the following suggestions may help:

Change Your Thoughts.

The thoughts you think on a daily basis create emotions, which in turn influence your actions. Try to catch yourself when you think thoughts that don’t serve you. Make a list of the thoughts someone who has achieved your goals would be thinking and practice them as affirmations to replace other thoughts that don’t serve you.

Change your Language

The language you use on a daily basis affects your thoughts and emotions. Examine the language you use. Do you frame things in a positive or negative light? Do you catch yourself complaining or saying if only? Shifting your language and you will shift your reality.

Learn a New Skill

This will help you believe in your abilities and as you practice and get better at the new skill. this will give you the confidence.

Face Your Fears

Make a list of things that scare you. Arrange the things from least to most scary. Start with your least scary fear. For example, maybe you are afraid of heights and spiders and worms and talking to strangers. Maybe the least scary thing on that list is worms. You could start with just saying the word “worms” over and over again until the word loses its meaning, and then maybe look at a picture and build up to a watching a video with a trusted person. When you overcome your least scary fear, you will be empowered to tackle another. This article gives a detailed explanation on how to face your fears.

Engage a Coach

Coaches can help you challenge any limiting beliefs that you have about yourself, boost your self-esteem, help you create a strong self-image and increase your self-belief. To make an appointment with Dr Reetu, click here.

Believing in yourself will open the door to many wonderful possibilities. Changing your thoughts, language, developing new skills and facing your fears will help you change your reality. Be brave, persist and inspire like a Paralympian and give yourself permission to say “YES I CAN!”

We leave you with this “I Can” video