Dr. DARREN CHUA

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For Living An Empowered Life

6December

2016

The Three Choices That Helps Shape My Destiny After Stroke

As stroke survivors, life may seem painfully unfair. For some of us, we may be at the height of our career when the brain attack occurred. For others, we may be celebrating some of life’s treasured blessings like the birth of a new-born or having the keys to a new house. Or perhaps, we are just looking forward to enjoy the fruits of our labour with our partner after retirement.

Regardless the backdrop, stroke is a life-defining moment. For most of us, it will have affected our lives significantly.

But while our life story may define us as stroke survivors, our life destiny can only be determined by the choices that we make. And much of these choices deal primarily with the belief and mind-set we have as stroke survivors. It was the leader of the Indian independence movement during British-rule, Ghandi, who uttered these words:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
 – Mahatma Ghandi (1869 – 1948)

There are three decisions I choose to make daily which reminds me that as stroke survivors, our lives can still be meaningful and impactful.

#DisabilityIsOnlyInTheMind

I choose today to believe that disability is ONLY in the mind.

Our state of ability is the degree of how empowered we are. Henry Ford (1863 – 1947), who founded Ford Motor Company, was absolutely spot-on when he said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right”.

We are as disabled as we think we are. In other words, we are also as abled as we think we are.

My stroke left me with a certain amount of dysphasia – an impairment of the ability to communication resulting from brain injury. I remembered during my acute stay in the hospital, I was unable to talk and I could only recognize the first 13 numbers. This was a huge blow to me as I was always a ferocious reader and I love communicating with the people around me. Hence, regaining my language ability was topmost in my priority.

As a doctor, I understand that our brain in plastic. Neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity, refers to the brain’s ability to change throughout life. The human brain has the amazing ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections between brain cells. And I know that despite the brain attack, I am still able to relearn back what I lost.

As a prisoner of hope, I started relearning English and since my stroke, I have under my belt a MSc degree, a few other certificates, run and manage a learning centre for youth (Potter’s Clay Education), and I am a professional inspiration speaker and a mindset transformation coach.

#WinningMindset

I choose today to focus on having a winning mindset and not on excuses.

Events occur in life that is not our choosing. After all, I believe none of us desired to have a brain attack. But after an event such as stroke, we are responsible for the thought which we choose to dwell upon.

While I am the first to admit that there are many things that I no longer am able to do. I can no longer swim as freely as I used to. Neither am I able to do a 2.4 km run under 10 minutes. But that has never limited me from aiming at goals and reaching them.

As survivors, our dreams can still be realized and we need only to focus on these four keys:
1. Vision that aspires
2. Inspiration that fuels our love for life
3. Passion that anchors devotion
4. Purpose drives meaningful exploits

#TheArtOfDetermination

I choose today to develop the art of determination.

Determination is our strength of pursuit. I have always termed determination as an “art”. Art is referred to as the expression or application of human exploits. Living a meaningful life is therefore an art form as we decide how to best express and apply ourselves in this world while we are in it.

As a stroke survivor, our art becomes even more delicate yet it can still be worthwhile. It all depends on what we are determined to will forth.

Therefore, today, I choose #DisabilityIsOnlyInTheMind. Today, I choose #WinningMindset. Today, I choose #TheArtOfDetermination.

What do you choose?

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