What a privilege to hear Paul Pritchard speak this week.
I have been forced to comment on a number of disappointing issues recently and while I try to break it up with positive stories, the calibre of those supposedly ‘governing’ has necessitated covering a number of unsavoury policies and statements. (So much for the adults being in charge, Tony).
So it is really nice to have a positive story to tell.
If you haven’t heard of Paul Pritchard, he is the mountain climber who nearly died when a large rock dislodged and fell on him whilst climbing the Totem Pole. Somehow he survived, but doctors thought he may never walk again.
He did. Despite the shocking injuries leaving him hemiplegic he did far more than just walk again, going on to achieve more than most of us ever will without the use of half his body. I can’t do justice to Paul’s full story in a short piece like this, but you can learn a lot more about his amazing recovery by viewing the Australian Story episode about him here.
I was lucky enough to hear him give a talk about resilience this week and also had the chance to speak with him in person afterwards. A couple of things he said resonated so powerfully I had to share them, because I want others to benefit from his incredible perspective as well.
One important point he made, and I am paraphrasing a little as I couldn’t write it down at the time, was that hardship isn’t meant to be endured with the British stiff upper lip. It needs to be fought through hard work, to gradually make circumstances better for ourselves. And then by extension we make life better for those around us. Boom! While nowhere near the ordeal Paul survived, I went through my own period of injury and recovery last year and remember how much easier it became when I relaxed a little with my pride and began accepting help.
He was later asked what he thought the key to his resilience was and his reply was nothing about toughness or determination or perseverance, as one might have expected. It was acceptance- you had to accept your fate and let go of regrets of what could have been. These were simple words but incredibly powerful. We waste so much time and energy worrying about what has gone before, when all we can do is make the best of our present.
I found Paul truly inspiring and would strongly recommend that if you ever get the chance to hear him speak, you take it. You will not regret it.