#51: Marcus Aurelius Anderson


There’s not many guys we know that sign up for the military at the ripe age of 38, but Marcus Anderson is one of those rarities. After going through a heart-crushing divorce, and the death of his uncle, Marcus decided to fulfill a life-long desire to represent his country in special forces. Inevitably this career choice changed his life forever.

While preparing to deploy, he suffered a severe spinal injury which left him paralyzed from the neck down. He had to come to terms with the fact that he would never be able to walk again. Luckily, Marcus was one of those miracle stories, where he defied doctors and pushed past the unthinkable by regaining full movement in his body.

Through the gift of his adversity (and plenty of time soul-searching from his hospital bed), Marcus found his true purpose for being put here on earth, and was clearly able to sort the important from the not-so-important.

Marcus is a teacher at heart, an incredibly talented and inspirational speaker, mind-set coach and author of “The Gift of Adversity”. We get into the nitty gritty of his harrowing injury, and why he believes adversity is a true gift for achieving all that you set out to do- especially when life gives you lemons!

The magic lives right at the end of your negative thought patterns

It was from the hospital bed, that Marcus realized how important it was to be aware and in control of his thoughts. Faced with the reality of never being able to walk again, he was struck with anger, self-pity and regrets about what he hadn’t done in his life.

It was through this gruelling process, that he saw how these thoughts were damaging him piece by piece, and how his mental and emotional energy were being taken from him. Miraculously, the moment Marcus made this conscious decision to no longer play victim, he regained movement in his hand. Now that’s some powerful stuff right there!

Use adversity to fuel your inner fire

While Marcus was able to regain full-movement in his body, there’s still that constant reminder that life won’t ever be what it once was. Taking on a mind-set of gratitude is not always easy, but in these situations there’s always that difference from those that ask “Why me?” and those that speak “Try me”. It’s clear to see which path Marcus has taken!

Backed by a lifetime of martial arts and years of intense training with the military, it was his eventual return to martial arts where he was able to re-build his motor skills, truly strengthen his mind, and value just how far he’s come from injury. Pre-injury, these are all talents he would have taken for granted.

Is your adversity as big as you put words to?

At some point or another, we will each encounter adversity, whether unemployment, death of a loved one or depression. If you were to put all of your past adversities on a scale of 0 to 10 (ten being the worst), it helps to ask yourself honestly, where your current challenge sits on that scale.

Often we feed so much negativity into an adversity, that we blow it entirely out of proportion. This is looking at the big picture, which keeps you honest and focused on the path ahead. Marcus truly believes that adversity is a gift, because it gives you that extra insight to reach those depths of strength that we all possess.

Better than yesterday quotes

I’m actually grateful that I still have some of this neuropathy (tingling sensation in limbs) because it keeps me tethered to that adversity, along with keeping me grateful all the time for what I’ve accomplished.

You really don’t know what you believe in, until you’re truly tested in this manner.”

“As human beings we all want to be comfortable and complacent, and that’s the nature of the beast, adversity kicks us in the arse and makes us reach for more, even when we don’t feel like it.”

“Pain and discomfort are the best teachers.”

Show timeline  

2.44 The story behind Marcus’ spinal cord injury

6.22 Coping with the realization that life won’t be what it was before injury

9.50 Regrets and self-pity from the hospital bed

12.00 The relativity of adversity

16.02 Marcus on helping others embrace their adversities

Connect with Marcus

Get the book: The Gift of Adversity: Overcoming Paralysis and Pain to Find Purpose

Website: http://www.marcusaureliusanderson.com/

Facebook: @marcusaureliusanderson

Instagram: @marcusaureliusanderson