STOP Cutting Corners

STOP Cutting Corners!

“What separates people … is not the presence or absence of difficulty, but how they deal with the inevitable difficulties of life.” – states Jim Collins in his book Good to Great.

Part of “dealing with difficulties” is training yourself how to adapt to the limitations that have been placed upon you. Some people say “Limits don’t exist” or that you “Shouldn’t accept limitations”. This view is not only ambitious it’s a little short sighted. Ignoring limitations does not make them go away. At times your only option is to accept them and look for how you can adapt. Allow me to add some rationale into your thinking by stating

“Don’t let limitations define you. Take a proactive approach and define your limitations.”

After my injury I became somewhat dependant on other people for help, but over time was able to adapt. My right hand is my dominant hand and it sustained the injury which made my most obvious adaptation to get my left hand to answer the call. One of the ways I’m defining limitations is continuously training my left hand to become more dominant and take over more strenuous activities. Another tool to recovery is challenging myself to look for ways to adapt. During my recovery I passed many hours by playing left handed Sudoku, which, by the way, is much more challenging than right handed Sudoku. I can write my numbers quite well left handed, but as I recovered writing was a task that slowly transitioned back to my right hand. As time and therapy progressed I was able to test my hand with more and more responsibility. If I wouldn’t have accepted this gradual progression I would endured needless pain and lengthened my healing time.

I would encourage you to constantly reassess your goals and look for ways to challenge yourself. Where is your left hand? What can you use to propel your adaptation? When a problem solver is faced with a problem they meticulously examine the issue from many different angles breaking it down to smaller and smaller issues. Eventually the problem solver can solve components of the problem. After continued analysis and likely many failures a comprehensive solution will be revealed.

I recently saw the movie Soul Surfer (spoiler alert), the story of Bethany Hamilton who had her left arm amputated from a shark bite. She was very courageous and began surfing fairly soon after her injury, but one of her limitations was she wasn’t able to “duck” under the waves until her Dad made an adjustment to her surfboard by adding a handle for her to hang on to. She acknowledged that she wasn’t able to get through the waves and they solved this problem together. The movie is full of limitations Bethany has successful adapted to and prevailed over.

The more severe the limitation the greater the perseverance required to adapt. One of the most challenging yet impacting statements I’ve read is “Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character hope.” (Rom 5:3 NIV) Of course there are some neatly package cliché’s like “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” and “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, but if you find yourself in a tough spot I’d encourage you not to give up hope … don’t tap out … you will be amazed at what you can endure … dare to persevere and adapt!

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