Sunday, October 5, 2008

Chris Dugan - AZ Syringo Chiari & ASAP member

"Your task is to build a better world," God said. I answered, How? The world is such a large place, so complicated and I am so small and you so sad. There is nothing I can do." But God in all His wisdom said, "Build a better you." God gave us two ends. One to sit on and one to think with. Head you win and tails you lose.

All of you have had several challenges, trials, and tribulations as a result of the struggles that go along with SM and Chiari. W. Mitchell, a famous motivational speaker who was burned over 65% of his body and 4 years later paralyzed, says "It's not what happens to you, it's what you do about it." The easy thing to do when faced with any adversity in your life is to give up. If you give up, which of the two ends God gave you will you be using? However, if you choose the end God gave you to think with, despite having SM and Chiari you will be able to overcome this adversity through the 4 four roads to success that relate to everyone's life.

The four roads to success are nothing you have not heard before. The goal is to bring these thoughts and ideas from your subconscious to your conscious state of mind. The four roads to success are 1) goals 2) attitude 3) limitations and 4) taking a risk.

Prior to having SM and/or Chiari, there were probably ten thousand things you were capable of doing. Now you may only be capable of doing nine thousand. By applying the success principles, you will benefit in that you will not focus on the one thousand you are not capable of doing, rather you will focus on the nine thousand things you can do.

I know of a Man who since he was a young boy had the dream of one day playing in the National Football League. All he can remember growing up was how everyone told him how hard it would be and that he probably would not make it in the NFL. During the summer before his freshman year in high school, he had a grand mal seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy. His neurologist at the time was against him playing football in case of a vicious hit to the head. However, this did not deter him, as he became a kicker and punter. He believed in himself and knew that although it was not going to be easy, he was going to make it happen. At 5'1 and 100 pounds he was the starting kicker for the varsity football team as a freshman. His philosophy was, "If it's going to be, it's up to me." He was a walk-on at Arizona State University in 1987 and was 3rd on the depth chart. He was discouraged but he never gave up. He ended up being #1 on the depth chart. In 1991, his hard work, persistence, perseverance, and dedication paid off as this Man reached the pinnacle of his career by signing an NFL contract with the Buffalo Bills and later the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. He had followed the paths to success.

The first road to success is goals. Goals tell you in what direction you are supposed to put all of your energy in. They show you where you are going in life. The Man had a very early goal of playing in the NFL. How many of you set goals in your life right now? How many of you write them down so you can look at them every day? I am a strong believer that when you do write them down you will have a better chance of achieving them.

Goal setting has two functions:
1) When you set goals you will not only improve yourself but you will feel better about yourself as well, and 2) It is a method of motivating you to work toward improvement of your lifestyle. How many of you want to have your symptoms go away or at least have the pain be bearable? How are you going to accomplish these tasks? To do so, you need to set short-term and long-term goals which must be obtainable and measurable. It takes hard work, sacrifice, and pain to achieve your goals but what matters most of all is when you look at yourself in the mirror what is the answer to the question, "Have I cheated the man in the glass?"

You must have the correct attitude, which is the second road to success. Our attitudes shape our future. There are two types of attitudes: Positive and Negative. A person with a positive attitude aims for high goals. A person with a negative attitude aims for nothing. There is very little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. You must have a positive mental attitude and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Limitations are obstacles in your way of achieving success. Remember, the Man who reached his goal had many people telling him what he couldn't do. He didn't listen. The only person that mattered was the person that looked at the man in the mirror. He overcame the limitations. It is your choice whether to accept or reject limitations. ONLY YOU CAN LIMIT YOU!

We must take a risk in life. Surgery is no guarantee to relieve an SM/Chiari patient of his or her symptoms. Surgery is taking a risk in order to lead a more productive life. If surgery is not the answer for your situation, your risk may be adapting your life by finding a pain management program to meet your needs.

Goals, Positive Attitude, Overcoming Limitations, and the willingness to Take A Risk can lead to a more productive life despite the cards you have been dealt.
Incidentally, the kicker of whom I previously wrote about achieving his goal of playing in the NFL has also had to deal with having ten Chiari related brain surgeries. How do I know all of this? I AM THAT MAN!

Anyone interested in a motivational speaker, please email Chris Dugan at

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