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Overcoming Adversity and Beating the Odds - Dr. James Perdue

Author: Larry Elliott

Published: 2011-07-30

Synopsis and Key Points:

Results of a new national study found that what does not kill us can make us mentally stronger.

Main Digest

The result of a new national, multi-year study of nearly 2,400 people that found that, basically, what doesn't kill us can make us mentally stronger.

The study, by researchers at the University at Buffalo and the University of California, Irvine, found that people who encountered some misfortune in their life emerged more resilient and adaptable than either those who had nothing bad happen to them.

This is exactly what happened to Dr James Perdue of Gallatin, Tennessee. At age 19 Dr Perdue was badly injured during a pick-up game of football that resulted with a broken neck and he became a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair for life.

According to Dr Perdue, "I haven't let my disability stop me in achieving life. I have been a successful teacher, Fox 17 Top Teacher of the Week 2005, Teacher of the Year 2002, as well as a coach, Coach of the Year 2006 and 2000." Dr Perdue also received the Jo Andrews Award 1995 and the Dr. Ramer Award 1991 both for overcoming adversity.

Escorted by his service dog Ricardo, Dr Perdue came to Hendersonville Heart to Heart Storytellers (HHS)' a non-profit affiliate of NSN, to develop his storytelling skills. Dr Perdue participated in the Hendersonville Toastmaster International contest alone with other contestants, however, Perdue, with his skillful approach won the contest and allowed him to advance in competition.

Not only did he perfect his storytelling skills, Perdue, acting upon the advice of a friend, enrolled in Tennessee State University and earned his Doctorate degree in Education. Uncertain how people would accept his disability and his service dog Ricardo, Perdue admits that "I know most people would be surprised to see a dog on campus and even at graduation but having him around breaks the stigma that people sometimes have about someone with a disability, not to mention he provides so much help for me."

Dr Perdue understands that adversity often awakens us to the treasures that are far more important than money and material possession: our health, our family and our friends. Sudden financial losses teach us that we shouldn't base our happiness on money.

An illness teaches us to be humble and lead a healthy life. A sudden loss in the family makes us appreciate the cycle of birth, life and death. Such things may seem superficial, but we should learn from adversities if we don't want them to control our life. The goal is within sight for Dr James Perdue and he understands that there a beginning of hope for himself and for the world.

Perdue believes rather than "getting bogged down with our own problems we should pay attention to people who happily survive, and even prosper, despite all odds. When we open our eyes and have a look at the larger world, we'll be happy to know how well life has treated us."

Perdue is an inspiring motivational speaker that intends to share his story of overcoming obstacles and persevering through tragedy to pursue lifelong goals. According to Perdue "I have a story to tell and I think people will be inspired by knowing my journey."

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