Last night I saw an inspirational story of four men who rode quad bikes across outback Australia. That alone is a feat in its self. But what was more amazing was not one of these men could walk. Each of them had sustained a spinal injury as a result of a motorbike or car accident many years earlier as teenagers or young adults. So, each of them were either a paraplegic or quadriplegic.
Each of the men shared their story of that moment that changed their life forever. They shared how they each responded to receiving the news of the injuries they had sustained. How they responded to being told they would never walk again.
And that got me thinking. Each of these men was given a life altering label, one that would change their entire life. It was now in their hands on how they responded… would they just bury their heads and let it control their life or would they see it as a just a change in course, a change in the way they did things, as new challenges to overcome.
Over the past few years I have heard many stories about people who have let labels determine their life. They were given labels about their personality, about what they would achieve (or not achieve) in life, about disabilities or medical conditions. They then let their life revolve around this label. They let the label define who they are and what they would achieve.
I have also had many parents of children I have worked with whilst treating as an occupational therapist who desperately did not want their child to be labelled in anyway. They do this out of fear that once the label was attached it would define who their child would become or what they would achieve. That it will direct their path in life.
But as these men demonstrated that is not true. A label does not have to define who you will become. It is purely there as a way to help them become the best person they could. In their case the label identified some possible hurdles they may face as they travel life’s journey. But they certainly didn’t let it stop them. Travelling 5000km on the back of quad bikes through outback Australia whilst not being able to walk is certainly not something they could have done if they have let they label define who they would become.
So if you or your child has been labelled in anyway, especially if it was negative, make a decision today to no let it define who you or they will become. Instead use it as an instruction card on how you can become a better person.
Remember. Label can always be removed or covered. So labels can always change.