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I get asked all the time when I was in rehab, “what were some of the things that I did to stay positive?” Ironically at that point in my life, reading was not something that I ever really cared for or did at all, but given that I had so much time to just sit there and do nothing, a couple people started bringing me books. The next thing you know, I was reading regularly, every single week. That has since carried on in my life to this day.
I would like to share with you three books that I would recommend for anybody going through some challenging times, and things that have really significantly helped me in my own life.
1. ‘It's Not What Happens to You, It's What You Do About It’, by William Mitchell.
Number one is a book called, ‘It's Not What Happens to You, It's What You Do About It’, by William Mitchell. He has a story about when he was 20 years old as a car salesman, making a whole bunch of money. He was riding his motorcycle down the road and ended up having a large truck pull out in front of him. He had to, in an emergency, crash his motorcycle. The bike went down, the gas cap came off, engulfed him in flames, and he ended up waking up a burn victim in a hospital, and lost the tips of nearly all of his fingers.
How devastating would that be for anybody to go through in this world? He ends up rebuilding his life. One of his hobbies is flying airplanes, so he ends up with some friends, just on a normal day, taking off, and then something happens in the airplane that requires them to make an emergency crash landing. From the crash landing William ends up becoming a paraplegic. So now, he's a burn victim on his face, his whole body, missing his fingertips, and then he becomes a paraplegic, living in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
It's absolutely insane, but not only the resilience and courage he has to keep ongoing, and pick himself back up after that, he then becomes “ the face of a small town” - the mayor of Crested Butte, Colorado, and becomes the man who lobbies against a mining company coming to their town wanting to dig into the mountains. He ends up successfully preventing that from happening. He then becomes not only this incredibly resilient person in life and becomes a mayor of a small town, he's since gone on to even do public speaking engagements for President Clinton. This book has been one of the most profound books that I've ever read in my entire life.
2. ‘Nothing Is Impossible’, by Christopher Reeves.
The second book is called, ‘Nothing Is Impossible’, by Christopher Reeves. Most everybody would know Christopher Reeves. It's a light read, you can read it within a couple of days. I remember reading it in the hospital bed when I was learning how to walk again. Just giving perception to the advancements that he was still making later on in his own life, and the mentality about staying strong and resilient in very difficult times.
3. ‘Resilience’ by Eric Greitens.
The third book that I would like to recommend to you is titled, ‘Resilience’ by Eric Greitens, who's a former Navy Seal and a political figure. This book has been insanely insightful to paralleling the challenges that these soldiers will go through on the battlefield, and how they parallel to life. Basically, Eric's writing a book to his friend, Walker. They served together in the U.S Navy Seals for several years. After their return home, they moved on with their lives and lost touch. In the process, Eric does really well for himself, and Walker goes off the deep end becoming an alcoholic. He gets into several bar fights, ends up in jail, has a divorced, and then he becomes suicidal.
During that seriously dark time, he ends up reaching back out to Eric for help. This book chronicles letters that they have written back and forth to each other, that Eric would write to Walker, paralleling those experiences of when they were on the battlefield. One of the best examples is in speaking to Walker, he says, “remember when we were at war, our enemy was whoever we were facing on the other side of the field. We were going to war to fight the enemy every single day. We knew when we woke up, we had a mission. We knew what we had to do and we were all there determined to go after that exact same common goal. We were resilient and we were going to do whatever it took to get that job done. Well, now in our lives, the enemy is not that enemy on the other side of the battlefield, but the enemy is us in our selves, fighting against whatever that next challenge is. Whether it's the enemy is addiction, or drugs. The enemy is getting over bankruptcy. The enemy is dealing with divorce. The enemy is yourself, every single day that you wake up and you have to face yourself in the mirror.”
This was not a fast read, because it's so insightful, that it really makes you pause and think about what the challenges are that we're going through in our life. The training that they have to go through, the grueling training and the mentality behind choosing to show up every single day with the courage and confidence that you're going to get through whatever challenge faces you. This is what makes this book one of the most remarkable books that I've ever read in my entire life.
Three of the most significantly impactful books that I've ever read in my entire life. I want to share that with you. Those are some of the areas that I get my inspiration from, and I hope that they can help you too.
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About Kevin Rempel:
Paralympian, keynote speaker, and founder of the corporate team building program, The Sledge Hockey Experience, I help people change their perspective about life and people with disabilities. Visit www.kevinrempel.com for more information.