As a child my superhero was superman and in my view Christopher Reeve encapsulated superman. In 1995 he became a quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse during an equestrian competition. The tragic horse-riding accident that left him paralyzed also gave him wings to soar above his physical limitations. That’s not to say that it wasn’t difficult for him. He even contemplated suicide at one point. He went on to found the Christopher Reeve Foundation and co-founding the Reeve-Irvine Research Centre. So it made me think, what characteristics did he have that made him so strong?
Courage. Most of us shy away from a challenge. Maybe we don’t like confrontation, or maybe we just want to take the path of least resistance. But there comes a time when we, individually, must face our deepest fears. It could be accepting a job that moves you half way across the country. Or walking out on a relationship that should have ended ten years ago. Whatever is keeping you from enjoying your life needs to be examined, evaluated, and executed. No one’s going to do it for you. Be brave.
Optimism. Ever hear the old saying “glass half full/half empty”? Well, it’s true. You have a 50/50 chance of being positive or negative. Which side do you find yourself on most of the time? Negative thinking can be a very hard habit to break. But the good thing is, it is easily remedied. How? Speak positively. Act positively. Replace negative self-talk with uplifting messages that you tape to your mirror or on the fridge door. And before you know it, you will think positively. Action precedes attitude. A good attitude is contagious, so surround yourself with people who are upbeat and encouraging.
Self-determination. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? A person without a goal is like a bus without a driver. Don’t let limitations, either real or perceived, keep you from your objective. And don’t listen to negative people, even if at times you think they must be right. If something is important to you, stick with it. You will be amazed at what you can do.
There is a bit of a superhero in all of us. Sometimes, it takes an unexpected event to bring that hero out. And sometimes, we can help someone else see that hero in themselves.