Car got a new scratch? Been fired? Smart phone old and slow? Do you tend to complain gratuitously in such situations? If so please (and don’t give me any crap about this) meet my awesome colleague – Mike.
I met Mike at the University few years back. He is partially paralyzed after an accident in high school. Mike can’t control his legs due to a spinal cord injury. Mike is now 28, and he’s one of the most impressive folks I’ve ever met.
During our first conversation, Mike was smiling all the time. He seemed very enthusiastic about what he does, and believe me, the list is long. Mike finished Computer Science studies at Gdansk University of Technology. During his studies he started an internship at Intel as a software engineer and he was hired after graduation. He develops internal tools that help thousands of people inside corporations do their jobs more efficiently and faster. Mike participated in dozens of congresses for programmers, many of them international. Despite being in a wheelchair, Mike is not afraid of traveling by airplane or car. Oh yes, he drives his VW himself. He has a stick-less Golf with a tweaked throttle that can be controlled with his hands. Lastly, he can literally fly on his own too – he’s a fanatical paraglider!
When it comes to moving around, Mike doesn’t acknowledge or tolerate limitations. In addition to paragliding and driving a car, he is an accomplished skier! He has a modified mono-ski and uses hand sticks with little skis at the end. He showed me some movies and he seemed to be quite coordinated and agile! Despite being upbeat and optimistic, he can be reserved, keeping himself at a distance: he refers to himself as badger-legged Mike!
We chatted about his future plans. Boy, he can dream big: he told me that he wants to someday be a jet pilot! Hell yeah! He was relaxed and confident when he talked about his dreams, confident that eventually but certainly, he would realize them.
Mike’s accident wasn’t the only bad thing that has happened to him. He was recently diagnosed with failing kidney function; he needs to have 4-hour dialysis sessions three times a week. He just finished all the medical examinations required to qualify him for a place on a waiting list for a kidney transplant. Think he’s upset about it? No way! He even jokes that, with his luck, he will probably have cancer soon, giving him the opportunity to dream big and carpe diem. Last plans? Mike left Intel and Poland to join forces with one of coolest Swedish programming company.
Is your struggle worth complaining about, or should you aspire to follow Mike’s example and make the most of the gifts you already possess?