This is a story of a man who was told that his chance of surviving a tragedy was close to zero. In fact, his odds of survival were no better than being hit by lightning. He survived not one health crisis, but two. And he’s here to tell you about it.
What’s more, he learned critical lessons along the way that you can apply to your situation if you find yourself up against impossible odds. It’s a story of hope, hard work, and incredible determination.
This post was adapted, with permission, from Blue Sky Lightning by Jeff Kuhn. I read his book and found it to be powerful and riveting. Jeff demonstrates that you can fight the big fight and come out a winner. More importantly, he shows you how! Jeff is an inspiration to all of us. He shows us that if he can beat the odds, so can you! I strongly recommend his book.
It is important to mention that I do not accept, nor did I receive, any benefit for my endorsement. My sole purpose for publishing this piece is to share a valuable resource with you.
–– Frank Sonnenberg
Blue Sky Lightning
by Jeff Kuhn
When I was thirty-one, I woke up one day with 80 percent of my body covered in severe burns. Doctors told me I’d been in a medically induced coma for a month, ever since there was a fire at my home in Dallas. My condition was so bad that a priest had already given me my last rites.
After my long, painful, but ultimately successful recovery, I developed a neuromuscular disease that doctors could not accurately diagnose. All they could say for certain was that I was going to die, and that it would be slow and painful. Again, somehow, I survived — and learned to thrive.
My story may be extreme, but it’s also something everyone can relate to. Life throws us these lightning bolts when we least expect them — whether they’re something physical, mental, or emotional — and making it through often feels impossible. Here are twelve lessons I learned during my harrowing journey.
Take charge. Over 90 percent of your recovery is up to you. It’s hardwired into all of us that when your life is on the line, you’re going to fight to the finish, even if it’s up until your last breath.
Be positive. If bad things happen, don’t feel like you’ve been singled out by the cosmos and say, “Why me?” It won’t result in anything productive.
Rise to the occasion. We don’t need comic books to show us that we’re all super-heroes. If you ever face a situation where you have to fight and even endure pain to survive, you will rise to the occasion. No matter how hard the battle seems, you’ll find the mental and physical strength that you didn’t even know existed.
Take control. Some things will be beyond your control, but you’ll always have control over your attitude. Make that count.
Have faith. I prayed to survive my injuries, and God answered my prayer. But he didn’t come into my hospital room, wave a magic wand, and let me walk right out of bed. God will give you the power to get through what you’re facing. One thing I definitely believe: God will send the right people to assist you at just the right time.
Hang on to hope. Nobody can take hope away from you. That belongs to you and you alone. As long as there’s a small ray of hope, it will help you fight. No matter how beaten up or down and out you are, there’s always hope that the next hour, the next day, or the next week is going to be better. Hang on to that hope. It can be astonishingly helpful, if you let it.
Be a fighter. When you face a tragedy, you have two choices. You can either curl up into a ball and be defeated, or declare “This is unacceptable” and fight. I listened to my odds of survival. “That is unacceptable,” I told them. And then I gave them my own numbers. “Look,” I said, “as long as you’re telling me it’s not zero, I’m hearing 100 percent.”
Never give up. Giving up seems like a great idea in the short term. In the long term, it’s not. Fight the daily battle and play “the long game.” Victory will eventually be achieved.
Pain equals progress. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. My motto for recovery was “relentless attack.” I literally became “addicted to the grind,” and expected tough days to be the norm. Pain isn’t a bad thing — pain equals progress. In the end, all of those small victories added up to winning the war.
Simplify the process. Human beings thrive on manageable tasks and on rewards. Through trial and error, I realized it was best to break my recovery down into manageable parts — not month to month or week to week, but day by day. Even hour by hour. In addition to daily goals, that kept me grounded, I also gave myself rewards for accomplishing those goals.
Accept help. No matter how lonely you feel, you are not alone. There’s a whole world out there pulling for you. In fact, people you might consider secondary or tertiary friends will step forward to support your efforts.
Be optimistic. The doctors had laid out a terrible scenario, but also said that there was a small chance of success. I clawed onto that and never let go. If there is some hope, even a very small amount, give it all you’ve got. Know that you are going to pull through, because there is always that possibility.
This post was adapted from Blue Sky Lightning by Jeff Kuhn
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