Step 51- What does it take for you to understand what it’s all about?
I just finished Tim Ferriss’ book, “Tribe of Mentors,” and one of the people featured in his book is a woman named Turia Pitt. I haven’t looked up every person in this book, but for some reason, I Instagrammed Turia right away. And it just hit me. I went on YouTube to watch her Ted Talk and…I cried a few times watching it (it takes 18 minutes, so I basically cried almost the whole time). Why did it hit me so hard? Turia is Australian and was an ex-fitness model and a successful mining engineer. In 2011, when she was 24, she was caught in a firestorm while competing in a 100km ultramarathon in Western Australia. 64% of her body was burned. She suffered a lot. She couldn’t move, walk, or really do anything. She had to wear a mask for two years! The damage to her body is still strongly visible even now. Doctors said she would never run again. After the accident, she moved in with her boyfriend and his parents. She’s been with her boyfriend ever since and is pregnant now. She not only walks, runs (she started running after a year), bikes and travels, she also gives speeches and has written two books. One of her hands has only four fingers, but she just started using it again – she can feed herself, she can lift objects, and she’s slowly coming back to where she was before. Will she ever be the same person? No, she will not. She is changed forever; everything changed. When I look at the cover of her book, “Unmasked,” I have tears in my eyes. It’s so bold what she did. She is standing there showing her burned body, covered with scars. She looks straight into the camera, smiling. How strong must you be to get to a state like that? Where do you gather this strength from? I wish I could talk to her one day. I have so many questions to ask her. I can’t wait to read her book. People like her are the people I admire and look up to. I don’t care about celebrities – I care about people whose lives are a true testament to living. Her appreciation of life is really inspiring.
One of the things Turia said was, “When I was younger, it’s not like I was ungrateful, but I never stopped to take the time to reflect on everything I had going for me. Now I do a gratitude practice every morning.” After all, she went through, she wakes up and is grateful. And there are people out there (most of us) who have two legs and two arms, good jobs and money, and can do whatever the fuck they want and they still wake up angry or unhappy with their lives. And my question to them is: What the fuck is wrong with you? Seriously, though – what the fuck is wrong with you? What will it take for you to understand that life is about something other than you think? Do you even take time to reflect? Can you even see how lucky are you? I bet Turia has bad days or days when she asks herself, “why did it happened to me?” but I also believe that most days she is just grateful that she is still alive. She said that the day she was able to feed herself for the first time again her whole family was present and started crying. Do you understand my point now?
I know you have bad days; I have them too. I know you’re ambitious and you want to achieve something more. You have high hopes for the life you imagined for yourself, and when it’s not going according to your plan, you’re disappointed and think that “nothing makes sense anymore.” Let yourself feel like that for a day or two (I wrote about recently), but then just look around. Just stop and look around. You really do have everything you need. What has to happen to you to finally understand that? So wake up tomorrow and simply be grateful. Be grateful for all of the “basics” that you probably think are irrelevant and which you almost certainly take for granted. And from now on, every time you go down this “hole,” think about Turia and think of two things – that your life might change in a heartbeat so just enjoy it right now, and be happy with what you have and who you are right now. And that you’re stronger than you think you are and that you can overcome the obstacles you have right now. The obstacles are usually smaller than your fears. Don’t wait for something drastic to happen to you to look at life as a great gift that you can share with others.