Upon hearing the sad news of Stephen Sutton‘s passing (the amazing guy behind Stephen’s Story, who raised £3.2 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust) I started thinking about how it is that people who face the biggest challenges often are the ones who are the most determined to do amazing things. I can think of so many examples of people who have shone so brightly, creating beautiful music, amazing art, and having a massive impact, despite facing incredible difficulties, hardships and illness.
When you consider that these people may be experiencing a great deal of pain, their determination and motivation to make the best of what they have is so incredibly inspirational. I was blown away by the music of Zach Sobiech, who passed away last year of cancer. Along with his friends, he composed and wrote several songs that made me cry the first few times I heard them. I have no doubt that the lives of his friends and family, and all who have heard his music, will be better for his presence.[youtube http://youtu.be/sDC97j6lfyc]
Another inspiring man, is an American called Art Berg. He was in a car accident in his 20s, and was left quadriplegic. He was told he would never do anything for himself again, and yet he went on to get married, have kids, build several successful businesses and become a motivational speaker. His book – The Impossible Just Takes a Little Longer is an amazing read.
I had the honour, a couple of years ago, to work for an amazing guy called Jason, who is just a little younger than me, but relies on carers for all his physical care. Despite this, he has more enthusiasm and passion for life, and for experiencing everything he can, than anyone I know. He loves creating things, he loves going to the cinema and theatre, taking fantastic photographs and his latest love is going on cruises! He is also able to use the internet through a single button, which helps him to connect with others. He taught me a lot about determination and perseverance, and also gratitude.
I also wrote about two other inspiring men, back in 2012.
All of these incredible stories, these incredible people, lived or are still living extraordinary lives. And though I believe that everyone has within them the power to be extraordinary, it would seem that it often needs to be triggered by something life-changing. But what if we could just choose to be extraordinary? Right now? For no reason other than it’s amazing to be alive right now, and we want to create beautiful music, beautiful art or make a massive impact and help people? (Or all three!)
I would like to think that it is possible. I know there are many people already doing so, living to the fullest, making the most of all the gifts and talents they possess, and putting 150% effort into everything they do. But there are too many of us who are living as though life is something that will continue forever, and as though we have plenty of time to do what we really want, there’s no need to do it now. But what if we lived as though every day were our last? What if we gave our all to every moment? How extraordinary would our lives be then?
We all have the power to be extraordinary. Now is the time to unleash that power. Because really, now is all we have.