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The 3 Biggest Lessons I learned From Being Blind As a Child

The 3 Biggest Lessons I learned From Being Blind As a Child

The 3 Biggest Lessons I learned From Being Blind As a Child

By Michael J. Herman

It's funny how as we grow up and mature, we find deeper meaning in the things that happened to us early in our lives. Things like a family vacation can burn memories that last a lifetime and impart subtleties for your own childrearing experiences. Or how crossing a river with your best friend can teach you trust and teamwork.

The following By are the 3 most valuable lessons that have stayed with me these past five decades from the year I spent blind as a child.

ONE: The Wall Is Hard But I Am Harder

As a young boy I suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting in blindness, paralysis, and aphasia. I couldn't see, walk, or speak. Like was a constant state of crisis for months on end. But with each incremental and yet microscopic improvement I could sense that I possessed powers greater than I ever imagined.

Learning to walk again was a transformation which required weeks and months of falling down on my face, (both literally and figuratively), which required consistent and persistent if not constant failure. For days on end there would be no improvement. Then, P-O-W!, a flash of balance, followed by crashing breakdowns. It required a commitment to an end that as a five year old I did not know I had. I had to find it deep inside.

It's a common lesson of resilience which is probably little different than anyone else's learning that try-try-try again. However, the lesson that "I'm Harder Than You" to the perils that greeted me each day at the age of 5 sounded like this: "Ouch, that hurt. Deal with it. You have to get through this barrier or     die trying."

Every time I failed it felt like I hit a brick wall. I'd find myself on my knees bruised and disoriented at its base wondering: "How hard can this thing really be?" It was hard. I was harder.

Balance was a cruel teacher. You get the answer and she gives you the lesson later. The walking kept tumbling. I'd get it it and then take a fall until mastery was achieved. As an adult, walking seems so well, pedestrian, but I still don't take it for granted. What I learned was that learning to walk, or better        put really, re-learning to walk was hard, but I was harder.

TWO: There's More to See Than What You See.

When my vision returned and sight was sort of restored, I was left with tunnel vision in which massive blind spots floated to new places in my visual field on a fairly regular basis. I could only see what was right in front of me. Even though something might have been only an inch to the side, it might as well have been a mile.

For all intensive purposes, it didn't exist if I couldn't see it. And so down a staircase I'd tumble, off a street curb I'd crash, or into a light poll I'd walk.

The problem I would learn the hard way wasn't that the Things were too far out of my periphery, but rather that I had to learn to move my eyes further than they were naturally inclined to move.

I literally had to train myself to physically move my eyes over more to see what was there.

This lesson was not learned in a past tense. I am still today after almost 50 years of being visually impaired learning, re-learning, and re-re-learning to look beyond where my eyes see.

One would think that a few hundred thousand times of bumping, falling, smashing, hitting, kicking, and bashing into things would teach you to be better it, but I'm still learning that here's more to see than what I see.


THREE: You Can Do It!

It's my clarion call. I sound it from the highest mountain tops and I echo it through the lowest of valleys. It's the belief I have had since before my memory even reaches, and it's the motto by which I live by. It's what being visually and neurologically impaired nearly my entire life has taught me. And it's a dictum my father inculcated into my consciousness from my earliest days.

You Can Do It!

No matter what it is; no matter the complexity, duration, demand, difficulty, stress level, or weight, you can do it!

You Can Do It doesn't come easily and it wasn't quickly realized. It's been a process. A process that I have had to remind myself and at times even convince myself was true.

One might think that conquering childhood blindness, paralysis and aphasia, neurologic and cognitive deficits was the hardest thing I've ever had to conquer? No, it was just the hardest training for the hardest challenges I've encountered on my journey.

So when I start to think as an adult of how hard life can get, I simply remind myself of what it took to make it out of childhood.

Michael J. Herman is a Professional Writer and the author of the forthcoming Side Hustle With Muscle: Stop Putting Your Talents to The Side and Start Your Small Business.

Reach Michael @ LinkedIn.com\michaeljherman

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Michael J. Herman, Speaker-Writer-Author-Entrepreneur
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