Don’t get him wrong, Ben Clark, a quadriplegic with limited hand function, states that if there was a deal where he woke up one morning and was not disabled he would take it. However, he says he would not change the experiences he has had because of his spinal cord injury.
"It’s only through life experiences that I realized what true happiness actually is.”
Ben states that before his injury he was all about chasing one goal - to become an Olympic swimmer. His full concentration was on this one goal and he states “I never stopped and appreciated life for what it was.” Although Ben loved parts of his life before his injury he says he doesn’t believe he was ever truly happy. “It’s only through life experiences that I realized what true happiness actually is,” he explains.
Ben recalls that his accident forced him to restart from every aspect of his life, both physically and emotionally. He initially pushed himself to continue swimming and set a goal to go to the Paralympics. But, while pursuing this goal Ben realized he only loved the small things about swimming and didn’t want to pursue it as a career.
“Everything I thought I had known about my life had changed and it was different now. That was a really profound moment.”
However, Ben says he did become depressed when he quit swimming because he felt his life lacked purpose. He found a purpose when he made the decision to become a swim coach. “It wasn’t this dream, this big chasing that made me happy,” says Ben. “It was giving to other people and being a part of their experience, their lives, and giving myself to something bigger.”
Ben feels that if he had not sustained an injury, he would not have acquired a mindset of focusing more on the little things in life. He states, “it doesn’t matter that I’ve become disabled. It doesn’t matter that my life has been hard on me since that disability. It matters what I do because of it.”
Be sure to watch more of Ben’s video above for even more motivation on how to get through trying times.
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