by Jake Thompson

Circumstances Can’t Define Me

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they ...

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” – Nido Qubein

How often is the excuse, “If I was only born with ‘x'” or “If I came from ‘x’ like this person“, used in the place of action toward success? Too many of us, myself included, have found ourselves wishing we had different circumstances instead of using that energy to change our current circumstances. We let the present circumstance define us rather than defining ourselves by what we do in that circumstance.

Thank God for inspirations like Ben Jackson.

Ben is a 21-year-old full-time college student. What sets Ben apart is his daily struggle with cerebral palsy. Doctors prepared his parents from birth for his life to be one confined to a wheelchair. School, walking, & sports would not be an option for this young man as he grew older. Ben had other plans for his life. Cerebral palsy would not define him.

In eighth grade, Ben went out for the school wrestling team. He figured that if he outworked everyone, he could succeed at the sport. “Ben lost all 24 matches his very first year.” But instead of quitting as most would do in his place, Ben trained even harder. He was in the gym six days a week strengthening his body and mind. He opened ninth grade by winning his first match. Now, Ben is training relentlessly for the 2016 Paralympic Games. His focus is unshakeable. He is fueled by the believe that he is “capable of changing lives.”

“I just want to be one of those people who is always remembered for leaving the world a better place than when I entered it.”

He doesn’t want to be known for having cerebral palsy or his current circumstances. He doesn’t even want to be known as a wrestler. He wants to leave a legacy of changing lives and reminding others than their circumstances do not define them – their responses to those circumstances do.

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