Wednesday, September 7, 2011


They say "you can't choose your parents." All of us have circumstances that cannot be changed, whether it's the home we're born into or a physical condition we're struggling with.

In that case, our choice isn't to change our circumstances, but to change our ATTITUDE.

Take for example, the story of Roger Crawford as told in the book, The Choice is Yours by John C. Maxwell: 


By John Maxwell

Roger Crawford makes his living as a consultant and public speaker. He's written two books and travels all across the country working with Fortune 500 companies, national and state associations, and school districts.

Those aren't bad credentials. But if that doesn't impress you, how about this: before becoming a consultant, he was a varsity tennis player for Loyola Marymount University and later became a professional tennis player certified by the United States Professional Tennis Association. Still not impressed? Would you change your opinion if I told you Roger had no hands and only one foot?

Roger Crawford was born with a condition called ectrodactylism. When he emerged from his mother's womb, the doctors saw that he had a thumb-like projection extending out of his right forearm. He had no palms. His legs and arms were shortened. And his left leg possessed a shrunken foot with only three toes. (The foot was amputated when he was five.)

Roger's parents were told by various medical professionals that he would never be able to walk, probably would not be able to take care of himself, and would never lead a normal life.

After recovering from the shock, Roger's parents were determined to give him the best chance possible for living a normal life. They raised him to feel loved, to be strong, and to develop independence. "You're only as handicapped as you want to be," his father used to tell him. They encouraged him to do everything his heart desired. And they taught him to think positively.

Roger appreciated the encouragement and training he received from his parents, but I don't think he really understood the significance of it or his achievements until he went to college and he interacted with someone who wanted to meet him. After he received a phone call from a man who had read about his tennis victories, Crawford agreed to meet him at a nearby restaurant. When Roger stood up to shake hands with the man, he discovered that the other guy had hands that were almost identical to his. That got Crawford excited, because he thought he had found someone similar to him but older who could act as his mentor. But after talking with the stranger for a few minutes, he realized he was wrong.

Roger says: "Instead, what I found was someone with a bitter, pessimistic attitude who blamed all of life's disappointments and failures on his anatomy."

"I soon recognized that our lives and attitudes couldn't have been more different...He had never held a job for long, and he said this was because of 'discrimination' — certainly not because (as he admitted) he was constantly late, frequently absent and failed to take any responsibility for his work. His attitude was, 'The world owes me,' and his problem was that the world disagreed. I didn't share his despair."

"We kept in touch for several years, until it dawned on me that even if some miracle were suddenly to give him a perfect body, his unhappiness and lack of success wouldn't change. He would still be at the same place in his life."

What about you? Is your attitude holding you back? Choose to change it...and experience the fullness life has to offer.

Roger Crawford had everything he needed to play tennis - except two hands and a leg.

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