Some of you have seen this photo before (some of you have it hanging on your refrigerator.) So as a warning to some of us and as a reminder to some, I encourage you to let this photo sink in. Allow it to reside in your mind. Consider repeating a power phrase like “all things are possible” a few times as you stare at the picture so the image can really become a source of encouragement for you.
Here’s a little back story to go with the photo…
Because of his condition at birth – missing two legs, part of an arm, with severe hydrocephalus (fluid build-up on the brain.) The pressure on the brain from the fluid – left untreated – would cause serious brain damage and death. At that moment, the baby’s life expectancy was mere minutes. A (relatively) simple surgical procedure may have allowed the fluid to be drained. However, rather than installing a shunt that would allow the fluid to drain (and thereby relieve the pressure on the brain) the doctor gave very simple instructions to the nurse. “Somebody feed it to keep it quiet while it dies.”
Those were the expectations. He’s going to die. He’s going to cry unless we feed him.
Apparently – at least in that country – a child without all of its limbs wasn’t expected to have a meaningful life. Therefore – because of other people’s expectations, his very short future seemed clearly determined.
The nurse dutifully prepared a bottle of formula for the baby, held him, fed him, and quietly prayed. Years later she explained, grinning tearfully, “I asked for a second opinion,” her eyes darting quickly skyward. She had different expectations.
This remarkable man understands that expectations (especially our own) shape our future. He tries to never uses words like “impossible.” He doesn’t acknowledge it as a word. He believes that “impossible” is a myth, a lie, an excuse that he just won’t ever make.
In high school, he played varsity baseball, varsity basketball, and even played point guard for the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team in an exhibition basketball game (with Dave Cowens and other Hall of Famers.) They flew him to Atlanta to play that exhibition game during the NCAA Basketball tournament. At the end of the game WWAST won, but only because of the points that young man scored – (half of the team’s total!)
He did all of that and much more because he chooses his goals, expectations, and his words carefully!
Choose your words with care because they have great power.
Change your expectations and you’ll change your future!