because of adversity, not in spite of it

4 03 2010

There’s so much to say about this video.

Aimee Mullins was born with fibular hemimilia (missing fibula bones) and, as a result, had both of her legs amputated below the knee when she was a year old.  While attending Georgetown University she competed against non-disabled athletes in NCAA Division I track and field events. She competed in the Paralympics in 1996, where she ran the 100-meter dash in 17.01 seconds and jumped 3.14 meters in the long-jump.

There’s two points Aimee makes that I really like:

1. The words we use in describing people, in labeling them have a profound affect on them.  And it’s more than just the words, but the values behind the words and how we construct those values.  Our languages affects our thinking and how we view other people.  She uses the thesaurus entry for “Disabled” as a brilliant illustration.

2. We don’t overcome adversity.  The idea of overcoming adversity would suggest that we come out of “the other side of adveristy” unscathed, untouched by the experience.  Quite the contrary, adversity changes us, marks us, and, as Aimee suggests, makes us who we are.

So enjoy the video, think about your adversity, and today, instead of asking for less of it, relish it, jump in there and get it all over you.  It’ll make you better, make you stronger, and make you who more of who you are.