Sam had a wish to play drums with the marching band of his school, Foxborough High School in the United States.
Playing drums; doesn’t really seem something big or difficult to achieve. But to Sam it was. He suffered from a genetic disorder, Progeria, a disease of rapid premature aging affecting one in every 4 million to 8 million infants. Now the drum and its harness weighed 40 pounds while Sam weighed only 50 pounds (despite being 17 years old). Determined to fulfill this dream, Sam and his parents engaged an engineer to develop an apparatus weighing only 6 pounds. And finally, Sam marched with the band.
Sam’s life of seventeen years, though short in years was huge in hope and inspiration for everyone. Despite suffering from the effects of progeria including stunted growth, joint deterioration, hair loss and cardiac problems, he never let any of it affect his happiness. Regardless of the fact that the average life span of Progeria sufferers is merely 13 years, he lived his life to the fullest.
In a TEDX talk, Sam told that there are so many things that he is unable to do, owing to his disease. But instead of focusing on what he CAN’T DO, he directs all his attention to the very many things he CAN DO like music, scouting, reading comic books and of course, marching with the school band!
This is an invaluable lesson and the key to staying happy. The thing is that there are certain things that you have no control over; so many times in life you don’t get to choose the situation that you are faced with. Be it the little disasters like losing your keys, spilling coffee on your favourite shirt, having people criticize you or pass you a rude comment, failing a test, losing your saved work on the computer or even the bigger mishaps like having a car accident, not being accepted to the university of your choice, getting diagnosed with a serious disease, losing a loved one, or losing your job. Yes, these are situations that are not in your control, but what you certainly can control is your reaction to these.
You can either beat yourself up for not saving the work on your laptop, spend the whole day feeling bad about it, or you can take it as a lesson that shall serve as a reminder to get you to save the work every next time. On losing your job, you can either blame yourself, get into depression thinking that life is out to get you, or you can take it as a chance to explore new possibilities, discover fresh opportunities and begin new endeavors.
In each of these circumstances, you can either victimize yourself, constantly complaining and whining over why it happened to you. Or you can make a choice to not let yourself be negatively affected by these but instead take these as a lesson that helped you learn and grow.
You are the driver of your car on way to happiness. And the road out there is bumpy but it’s up to you how much you let those bumps effect you!