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Adversity: Here to Break Us or Make Us

  • Published: 2010-07-14 (Revised/Updated 2016-06-12) : Author: Steph Cutler
  • Synopsis: There are many success stories of disabled individuals overcoming adversity.

Many people don't pursue their goals or potential because they believe there are too many barriers that will prevent them from becoming successful.

Whether the barriers are real or perceived is actually irrelevant, as both prevent them moving forward.

Everyone faces barriers and it is important that we acknowledge them. Once we are aware of them and understand how we feel about them we are far more likely to overcome them successfully.

Our impairments often create additional barriers. These can be practical barriers, emotional barriers or those created by the people around us. Yet, disabled people, and people living with long term health conditions, often share common qualities of resilience, determination and adaptability.

The barriers you face may be personal to you, but it is important you develop ways to better understand and overcome them if you are serious about your goals.

Pain, suffering, stress and other related difficulties are things everyone faces at times. Indeed, many disabled people experience these frequently. At times of stress and difficulty we tend to think that life would be much simpler without these hassles. This is probably true, but they also provide us with the skills and character Adversity is unavoidable so let's not fight it. Let's accept it and develop ways to cope with it. Do yourself a favor: refuse to linger on past difficulties and don't go looking for future ones. The current barriers you face are enough to deal with!

There are many success stories of disabled individuals overcoming adversity which always serves to inspire me when I feel that I am up against it. Being 'up against it' is often linked to my personal disability and the story of the Brooklyn Bridge is, for me, a true tale of overcoming adversity with overwhelming success.

Over 100 years ago, Washington's father, John, had a dream to build the Brooklyn Bridge. Experts at the time believed it to be impossible, but John finally persuaded the city to support his project. He and his son, Washington, were the lead engineers and the only ones who knew how to build such a structure. After just a few months into the project, there was an accident that took the life of John and left his son with permanent brain damage. Although unable to speak, write, or walk, Washington's mind was alert and he could move one finger. Determined to realize his father's dream, he developed a code which made it possible to communicate with his wife by tapping on her arm with his finger. Washington tapped on his wife's arm for thirteen years, relaying all the instructions for the engineers. Today, the bridge stands as a testimony to how we can overcome any obstacle - if only we choose to do so.

Reading or hearing about successful disabled people who have overcome adversity to achieve personal success is inspiring to me. It drives me forward to prove to myself, and to the doubters, that having a clear vision and determination will see me through.

Steph Cutler had a successful career in the fashion industry when she experienced unexpected sight loss. Determined from the start, she began adapting with a view to becoming employable as soon as possible. Once employable she found it disproportionately difficult to gain employment as a disabled person and soon decided to turn her situation around by employing herself. Her business, Making Lemonade supports disabled people to achieve their goals and potential.

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