August 12, 2016
Sam Cawthorn was gifted with a new life, one of the most advanced bionic arms and the potential to inspire thousands after an accident that put him at the threshold of death.
“Crisis can create some of the greatest growth opportunities of your life,” said the Australian motivational speaker who reinvented himself after the accident in 2006, which left him with an amputated right arm, unusable right leg, six broken ribs, a lacerated liver, punctured kidney and collapsing lungs.
Standing tall on the stage at GRD School of Commerce and International Business of Dr GRD College of Science in Coimbatore, the 36-year-old success coach commended his multi-faceted bionic arm that can help him swim, play golf and can be even run on an App through his iPhone, in an illustrious instance where crisis was converted to success in his life.
One of the few people in the world who can play a guitar with an above-elbow amputation, he told the students to make their decisions the master of their destiny, and not their condition.
Speaking at the Face to Face programme, he said disability is not just physical, it’s also about the unnoticeable impairments such as depression, loneliness, anxiety and relationship problems.
“At times, you want to simply give up and feel no one cares, but life is all about freedom of choice,” said Cawthorn, who thought it was all over when he lay shattered on the hospital bed with the doctors declaring that he will never walk again.
That’s the time to “bounce forward”, he said, pacing the stage, and dissociating himself from ‘bounce back’.
Here, we are talking about leaping several steps forward after a crisis, not just starting from where we stopped, said Cawthorn who echoes his views in his new book, Bounce Forward, the earnings of which will be donated to the welfare of physically challenged children.
Besides the thought crisis creates opportunity, what leads us to bounce forward?
Cawthorn explained. Proximity is power. “We are the average of our five closest friends. The company we keep determines who we are. Also with our bank balance, our weight, our energy levels, focus, a lot of different things in life; so make sure you hang out with people that influence you in a positive way and not a negative one.”
Leverage happiness. “It’s about consciously deciding to be happy and optimistic through a crisis and not getting bogged down and depressed and sad through those difficult times. That’s a mindset that starts in our own physiology.”
Then we are prepared to bounce forward.
With his newly trained left hand, he wrote in bold capital letters, ‘to look good’, ‘to avoid looking bad’ and ‘to make a difference’, and said not to be self consumed with looking good.
“Your greatest success is your authenticity, and to make a difference we must let go trying to look good or to avoid looking bad.”
“Find a coach or a mentor and transform yourself.
“Banish excuses from your lives if you wish to succeed.”
Asking the audience to loosen up, Cawthorn said, “If you get out of your comfort zone, you will outperform your success by 30 per cent.”
Speaking to The Covai Post, Cawthorn said, “Success is not about a fat bank balance, education or how well one is travelled. It’s about fulfilment, it’s a profound feeling of abundance.”
He also said Indian students are stopped from thinking curiously, even if not confidently.
“Parents and teachers have drummed conformity into their heads.”
After the accident, an opportunity in disguise, Cawthorn said something changed in him and he started looking at people differently.